VRCC, the Essex based Veterinary Referral Specialists, is the first centrein the UK able to offer a canine melanoma vaccine.

The Vaccine, previously only available in the U.S. where it has been granted a conditional license by the USDA, has been made available to VRCC’s Head of Oncology Dr Susan North who fulfils the US Academic Credentials required.

According to VRCC, Dr North is the most experienced and highly qualified Veterinary Oncologist in the UK and the UK’s only qualified Radiation Oncologist.

Most oral tumours are not noticed early by owners so many go undiagnosed and untreated until they are advanced and the dog has a poor chance of recovery. However, Veterinary Surgeons can detect tumours of the mouth during routine oral examination.

Canine melanoma is an aggressive neoplasm treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy, which readily metastasises to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys but is chemo-resistant and with little evidence that chemotherapy improves survival time.

The Canine Melanoma Vaccine develops effective immunotherapy in dogs that recognises and targets specific antigens on melanoma cells and may account for long-term tumour control and survival.

The vaccine is indicated for dogs with stage II or stage III oral melanoma and for which local disease control has been achieved, negative local lymph nodes or positive lymph nodes that were surgically removed or irradiated.

The conditional license was granted based on the reasonable expectation that when used along with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat the initial tumour the vaccine may help extend survival time and improve quality of life in dogs with canine oral melanoma.

Prolonged survival time
US research concluded that canine patients with advanced disease have a median survival time of less than five months with standard therapies. In initial trials, dogs receiving the vaccination sequence had a median survival time of 389 days.

A canine Transdermal Device is especially matched to the Vaccine for needle –free delivery and optimal distribution. Veterinary Surgeons with a patient with oral melanoma should contact Dr North at VRCC to discuss the case at an early stage, as initial treatment is important to ensure suitability for the Vaccine.

VRCC are very pleased to be the first in the UK to be able to offer this new treatment option for the benefit of their clients.

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