The last thing anyone wants to hear about is cancer in dogs. This is something that is very disheartening and hearing our beloved dog has cancer is very distressful. With many types of treatments available today, we need to check out our resources and see what type could work with our pet.
The College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, North Carolina’s State University, has opened up a dog bone marrow transplant unit. The transplant unit performs these operations on canines with lymphoma. They have performed 30 of these procedures over the last two years.
Lymphomas in dogs are one of the most common cancers . It is not just the older dog that is becoming inflicted with these lymphomas, the younger dogs are getting them too. Lymphomas in dogs affect the lymph system, this runs throughout the body and so surgery is not an option correct this. Unfortunately the dogs usually die within two months of diagnosis, and less than 2% of dogs are ever cured.
70 percent of the dogs who have received transplants in the last two years, are still alive today. The true results with canine lymphoma will not be known until a few years down the road. Even the dogs who never got completely cured will be in remission much longer had they not have gotten the transplant and that we do know for sure.
Dogs can only receive a bone marrow transplant if they are in either complete remission or very close. They can receive a bone marrow transplant pretty much anytime after that has been determined.The procedure involved requires several days of preparation. To drive healthy cells from the marrow into the bloodstream where they will be harvested, twice daily injections of Neupogen will be given. To ease this transition a very low fat diet is fed.
A leukaphoresis machine that harvests stem cells from the blood, is placed on the dog one week later. The following day the dog gets full body radiation. Afterwards, the dog gets the stem cells that were harvested the day before, infused back into their bloodstream. This is painless for the dog as the entire process is under sedation or anesthesia.
To ensure the immune system recovers after the procedure, the dog is kept at the facility for about two weeks. They may experience some hair loss and tiredness and are given antibiotics before and after to reduce any possible infection.
Most dogs that have had relapses all occurred within the first four months. Most other dogs remain cancer free or in remission for another two years. While the procedure has additional monitoring costs when you take them home, the average BMT runs about $ 14500.00 USD. Some pet insurance plans will cover certain costs related to this.
Serious health problems like kidney disease or heart disease in dogs will prevent them from receiving a transplant. Dogs who run a high risk of infection as with Cushing’s disease or diabetes, are not candidates. Clinics offering this procedure for dog’s with cancer in the United States are becoming more and more prevalent. Surely this procedure will become commonplace like many others, and in time will be available elsewhere.