Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Canine Melanoma Vaccine Follow Up

Last week I told you about the canine melanoma vaccine. I now have a bit more information about it for those of you who may have dogs who are battling melanoma.

The study through the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine is open to dogs via a vet in your area. In order to participate, it must be proven that the dog is inflicted with melanoma. The dog's guardians are then required to make an $1800 donation to the UW Vet School. My vet said that he would want to have current blood work and x-rays just before beginning treatment, as well. The treatment consists of nine trips to the vet over a 20 week period to administer the vaccine, which is said to not have any major side effects, and radiographs and/or ultrsounds every three months for an unspecified amount of time.

It is possible that the vaccine may have no effect at all but it is also possible that it will give dogs up to a year or two more of life. The numbers available through my vet, however, were only for oral melanoma so if your dog has a melanoma tumor elsewhere, I suggest you contact the UW Vet School for further information.

My vet, in particular, seems to think that this vaccine, once available to all, will be the answer to canine melanoma. For those of you whose furry friends suffer from it, I certainly hope he is correct and wish you all the best. And, please, if you do participate in the study, report your outcomes to your vet and make sure that he or she reports them to the UW Vet School. We will never know how successful this vaccine is without your input.

17 comments:

Megan said...

Hello, my name is Megan and my dog was also recently diagnosed with melanoma. My vet is certified to distribute the canine vaccine and has recommended it. I'm wondering if you have heard anything besides what the press release says.
Thanks,
Megan

Animal Welfare League of Arlington said...

Megan, I have not heard anything further about the vaccine but it seemed like a viable option for dogs with melanoma of the mouth, eyes, paws (as I recall) last year when I was looking into it. Maybe a Google News search might help gather that latest info.

I am very sorry for your dog's news and hope that the vaccine proves effective.

Megan said...

Thanks. I found the press release, I just wondered if you had heard anything from the trenches.
Megan

Megan said...

Actually, my vet discovered that my dog's whole nasal cavity was lined with melanoma two weeks ago, so I decided to go through with the vaccine. The vet said that if I didn't see positive results in 3-4 days that she wasn't going to get better. I did, and she is. We go for the second booster tomorrow.
Megan

Animal Welfare League of Arlington said...

Megan, I am very sorry about your dog but so glad to hear the good news. I did try to find out more (see most recent post) but it seems that the info available over a year ago is the same that is available now. Hopefully, with more success stories like yours, there will be more info available in the future. Best of luck!

Jeff said...

Hello, i realize this page might be old news, but i wanted to throw out our little story just in case anybody's listening. We just finished getting the 4th (and last) vaccine for our black lab, but we decided to not do the shots in conjunction with surgery (they said they would need to remove half of her jaw). Apparently, we are only the second case they've had that has chosen to do this, so there's nothing they can really tell us in terms of what to look for. Anyway, our dog's getting pretty bad, dripping even more copious amounts of blood, and i just wanted to see if there was anybody out there that might know of similar cases, so that we could have some advice/guidance. many thanks, jeff

Megan said...

My dog has just had her third booster for the vaccine. Unfortunately, the tumor has started to grow back on the roof of her mouth, but our Vet is optimistic and didn't want me to give up just yet. Besides the
tumor, she is doing better. She is gaining weight, eating, breathing better, sleeping well, draining from her nose, and energetic. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that her immune system is still building its defense against the disease. We'll see what happens at our next appointment in two weeks. If the tumor is bigger, we will not go through the expense of a final booster; if it is the same or smaller, we will.

She did have the surgery originally, so I can't give Jeff any advise. (I'm not even sure my vet would give the boosters without the surgery, then again, I'm not sure I would have gone through with it if the surgery was that extensive.) I am sorry you and your dog also have to go through this suffering. Cancer sucks!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all the dogs out there suffering from this terrible disease. My Boo (chow chow) was diagnosed w/Melanoma in 12.07; she had surgery to remove the tumor of her mouth and went thru the full vaccine course. I was so hopeful, but upon her two-month checkup post vaccine (5.08), another polyp in her mouth was found and it is growing so rapidly and spread to a lymph node. I guess there's no stopping this horrible disease now & more surgeries to remove this tumor & lymph node. Unfortunately, all I can do now is treat her with palliative care to improve the quality of the short life she has left and pray that she will not suffer. Would I put your newly diagnosed dog thru the vaccine? Absolutely. It might not have worked for my Boo, but it has been proven to work for other dogs stricken w/the deadly disease. The vaccine treatments are painless for the dogs w/no side affects & there is no price too high for hope... Thanks for listening, Broken Hearted.

Pam said...

Dear Anonymous,

I feel your pain. I have a beautiful standard poodle named Cleo. She is the love of my life. She is 11 years old and was diagnosed woth oral melanoma in March of 2008. She has had two surgeries and recently completed her series of vaccines. It's not working so the oncologist wants to do a safe type of chemo which has a history of not being very successful. I've been cleaning up blood all along and now she is yelping a little bit. It tears my heart out. Overall, she has done well. She has been wagging her tail, eating, drinking and sleeping well. The surgeries bought her time. The second surgery was a major one. She had a debulkment and they found the tumor had gone half way down her throat. I'm very fortunate to have a great vet and oncologist for her. Just take it one day at a time. This is the first time I have written about her. I have been in denial because she's acting OK. I have also been incredibly positive. I really thought the vaccines would work. I'm not going to give up.
Pam

Anonymous said...

My standard pooddle who will be 14 in February has oral melanoma and has had 2 vaccines so far, after surgery to remove a tumor in his mouth. But now he is loosing his appetite. I know ultimately I will have to put him down, but he is my first dog, and I am not sure I will know when to make that decision. How does one know? He spends all his day sleeping, but is very lively for his walks. But he seems to have no appetite since the vaccines started, so maybe the cancer is spreading. Any advice would be dearly welcome.Thank you

susan said...

Hello My name is Susan and my 14 year old Yorkie Pebbles was diagnosed with oral melanoma on Nov 27th 2007 she had the tumor removed and it came back so he removed it again plus he pulled the tooth which was all black most likely filled with the cancer and he also lasered the gum to make sure he got it all, I chose not to have the jaw bone removed or go thru radiation, I could not put her thru that. So we started her on the vaccine shot in Dec 07 and was finished in Jan 08 she went back for her six month check up and her booster in July and she is doing great, she will be back again in Jan 09 for her next 6 month booster. My dog never lost her appetite but I also cook for her, steam chicken and vegetables and rice or I put roastbeef in with her dog food she never had any clinical signs of the cancer. The only way I found it was she was being very finicky with her food. She does sleep alot but she is 14 years old, so that is expected. It will be a year next month since she was daganosed and so far so good. I highly recomend this vaccine shot and keep a positive attitude.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my miniature schnauzer's name is Schnapps and we discovered a small red cyst on his paw pad about three weeks ago. The margins of the biopsy were clean, chest x-ray was normal and blood work looks fine. We have also opted to start the vaccine today. The oncologist did not recommend doing a CT or MRI. All lymph nodes on physical exam appear to be ok, but one he could not feel possibly because of a lypoma that may be blocking it. Just wondering if we should do the scan to be sure??

Rosemarie said...

My 13 1/2 year old dog, Chip, had surgery 12/9 to remove oral melanoma from the roof of her mouth and also her tooth where the tumor had wrapped around it. She never has acted sick, just yelped once in a while. When I discovered the growth I immediately took her to the vet. Her blood work and chest xrays are good. She is great post surgery. Yesterday I took her to an oncologist to see about the vaccine. He recommended against it since the path reports showed the margins aren't clean-said it would not work. Does anyone have experience with the vaccine in a case like this? They said she'd only live about 3-5 months. She is so active and healthy- I can't sit by and do nothing. Any suggestions? - diets? He did talk about radiation but I'd have to leave her in another state for 3 weeks! Don't think she'd do well separated. Thanks for any advice.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with the Wisconsin vaccine for a melanoma that developed not on the mouth, but on haired skin? My Scottie had a tumor removed from his left shoulder that turned out to be melanoma. The margins were clean--i.e. the whole malignancy was removed--but they believe it is likely to metastasize because this tumor was extremely aggressive, based on mitotic index. The oncologist is strongly advising the vaccine. I am agonizing over what to do--this is the sweetest Scottie you'll ever meet--and just trying to get all the information I can. Thanks.

Mike said...

Hi, we just found out last week that our 11 year old German Shepherd (Taz) has oral melanoma. We went to an oncologist and she recommended surgery to remove it with a maxillectomy, and also the vaccine. Taz just had surgery yesterday and we are planning on following up with vaccine this week. I would greatly appreciate any further or updated advice/feedback from anyone. Thanks and gl to everyone fighting this horrific cancer.

Anonymous said...

My 10 yr old airedale had melanoma appear on a toe. The toe was amputated and my vet did an excellent job with the margins. Went to the oncologist for evaluation of eligibility for the vaccine. X-rays all clear, lymph nodes clear, and nothing in the mouth or anywhere else. biopsy of suspicious area on another toe was negative.
Dreyfuss had his first shot today 2/18/09. Vet is very encouraged by his healthiness, no arthritis etc.
Keeping our hopes up and fingers crossed for good outcomes and longer life. Will keep you posted.

Sharon said...

My Dalmatian, Senora, was diagnosed with oral melanoma in the back of her throat. She had surgery and within a month it has grown back very aggressively. She went to her first visit to an vet oncologist today and had her first shot of the vaccine. I am so glad that I am able to go to the internet and research things like this, because my vet didn't seem to know anything about the vaccine. When I told him he was surprised. At least now I have hope. She seems so healthy it was almost unbelieveable to think this was going on in her. Wish us luck and lets hope it works for her. She's the best!! Sharon