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Pfizer’s New Cancer Drug for Dogs Is Mixed News for Rover

Pfizer will launch a new cancer treatment for dogs. The oral drug, Palladia, will help fight mast cell tumors, often seen as skin lumps. This is a good news/bad news situation for dogs.

First, older dogs often get fat lumps on their skin that are harmless. With Pfizer’s publicity for Palladia, many owners will drag their dog to the vet to see if those lumps are cancer or not. Dogs are just going to love that.

Second, Palladia does not cure dog cancer. It merely treats it. Pfizer says:

… 60% of dogs had their tumors disappear, shrink or stop growing…

Meaning Palladia can shrink tumors, but only until they start growing again. In fact, dogs with systemic tumors were excluded from the study. Read the details in the PI. This may extend your dog’s life, but check out the side effects seen in dogs on Palladia:

  • Diarrhea 46.0%
  • Anorexia 39.1%
  • Lethargy 35.6%
  • Vomiting 32.2%
  • Lameness 17.2%
  • Weight loss 14.9%

All these effects were higher than in dogs on placebo (except for vomiting) — so they’re not a result of the cancer.

It raises a question that Americans frequently get wrong when it comes to their pets: When my dog gets sick, what is the best thing to do? Most people answer

a) “Everything humanly possible.” But the correct answer should frequently be

b) “Everything you can, but only until the dog becomes so unhappy that putting him to sleep is better.”

So this drug could, potentially, put a lot of dogs through some unnecessary pain.

I would advise trying some natural alternatives as well…

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment