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JoAnna Lou
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FDA Approves the First Canine Cancer Drug
Palladia offers options for treating the second most common canine tumor.

Earlier this year, I attended an agility trial in New Jersey that was raising money for canine cancer research. Decorating the arena were pictures of dogs who had cancer at some point in their lives. There were more than 100 photo montages covering every inch of free space. 

During an intermission tribute, handlers were asked to raise their hand if they ever had a dog affected by cancer. I was shocked to see well more than half the audience with their hand up and soon learned that canine cancer effects one out of every three dogs.

Since then, two of my friends found tumors on their dogs, one benign and one malignant. Thankfully, both were successfully removed, but the topic has stayed on my mind. So I was excited to hear that this month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of canine cancer. Palladia, an oral drug, works by cutting off the blood supply to mast cell tumors, the second most common tumor in dogs.

Palladia will be available next year through veterinary oncologists and internists. There are a number of side effects and, like any drug, will have its limitations. But Palladia is a huge step in the right direction for curing this horrible disease.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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Submitted by Carolyn | June 18 2009 |

I saw this exciting news and emailed my vet. Her comments were: "...there has been a bunch of speculation about this drug...but it only seems to be somewhat effective in about 50 % of the cases. Not an overwhelming winner... The best thing to come along in quite a while is a vaccine for melanin, which can be used to fight melanomas. They are developing it for people too, and it seems to be pretty good."'

I assume she can cite a study or clinical trials to support her comment... If she's right, 50% is still better than 0%. Any progress against cancer is welcome!

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