Tumours targeted by new treatment
Mast cell tumours, the second most common tumours in dogs, primarily affect the skin but may spread to other areas and systems of the body if untreated. Surgical removal is the usual first line of defence, but when tumours recur or spread to the lymph nodes, vets will soon have an alternative to further surgery. Earlier this year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug that specifically targets mast cell tumours. Palladia (toceranib phosphate), developed by Pfizer Animal Health, attacks tumours by killing malignant cells and cutting off the tumour’s blood supply. Potential side effects include diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, and lethargy, so dogs on the drug must be closely monitored by owners and vets. Palladia will be available in 2010.