Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses certain parts of a pet’s immune system to fight various types of diseases, including cancer. The main types of immunotherapy that are available to treat cancer in dogs (and in some cases, cats and horses too) include monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines. Other non-specific immunotherapies may boost the immune system, helping to fight off cancer cells. These types of therapies are generally considered safe and well tolerated.
Below is a list of the immunotherapeutics that are currently available:
- Merial – Oncept Melanoma Vaccine for dogs, cats, and horses with malignant melanoma
For more information on immunotherapy as a potential treatment option for your pet, ask your oncologist.
Cancer knows no boundaries for the animals that it will affect and certainly horses are no exception. Gray horses are genetically at risk for developing melanomas, primarily of the skin. It is reported that over 70% of Gray horses over the age of 15 years will develop melanoma. In some patients, these tumors can become numerous and quite large. They can also be located in areas on the body that can lead to problems, such as difficulty urinating and defecating. Additionally, these tumors can become more invasive and can spread to other parts of the body. Effective treatment options are limited. Recently, immunotherapy has become a promising therapy option for horses with melanoma. The melanoma vaccine that is used in both dogs and cats may also be effective in some horses. The vaccine is generally well tolerated and side effects are uncommon. At Fetch, the oncologists can answer your questions regarding this type of treatment for horses.