Pill potential cure for canine cancer

A little after Noon only means one thing to dogs at the Sylvania Veterinary Hospital TMs doggy daycare.

It's snack time.

While the playful pups are chasing chew toys and staying hydrated, Dr. Bob Esplin is in the other room giving Yogi the dog a quick checkup, looking for what are called mass cell tumors.

The tumors come in three stages from stage 1 being relatively benign, to the worst case stage three.

When they do occur they are devastating, said Esplin.

Prior to June of this year, surgery and radiation therapy were about all the options dogs had to treat these cancerous cells.

In June, the FDA approved a Pfizer created drug called Palladia to help in the fight against canine cancer.

It literally will shrink the tumors and in some cases it actually cures the pet, said Esplin.

It's a simple pill taken orally that gives veterinarians the option of prescribing an at home therapy, that if it works, Dr. Esplin says will probably be more effective than any other treatment option.

This is something to strongly think about alright, and right now we would make a referral to an oncologist, said Esplin.

The Sylvania veterinarian refers patients now to a Detroit oncology clinic because the drug's maker, Pfizer, isn't making it available to general practitioners.

When we called the pharmaceutical company, they said they want the ~cancer experts TM to come up with the most appropriate uses for the drug.

They added the drug will be available to Dr. Esplin and his colleagues in the first quarter of next year.

So for now Dr. Esplin, like the dogs at the daycare, will sit and wait patiently for his treat that will hopefully mean a longer and happier life for his patients.