COLUMBUS (OCTOBER 26, 2016) Lymphoma is one of the most common malignant tumors in dogs representing 7-24% of all canine tumors. These tumors most commonly arise from lymph nodes, spleen, or bone marrow and are estimated to affect 13 to 24 out of every 100,000 dogs at risk annually.

Although usually seen in middle age to older dogs, lymphoma has been diagnosed in dogs less than 1-year-old. All breeds are susceptible to developing the disease but Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Bassett Hounds, and Scottish Terriers are associated with greater risk.  Symptoms associated with Lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes, decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy and vomiting/diarrhea.

The treatment of choice for dogs with lymphoma is systemic chemotherapy. Despite the development of aggressive, multi-agent chemotherapy protocols, the median survival time remains only 10-14 months with a 2-year survival rate of 25% and a cure rate of less than 5%.

“Remission failure and tumor progression is usually caused by the development of drug resistance in residual tumor cells,” says Dr. Lisa Fulton, a veterinary oncologist and leader of the bone marrow transplant team at MedVet Columbus. “With bone marrow transplantation, it is possible to cure dogs with lymphoma. In humans, the cure rate for patients treated with systemic chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation is 40 – 60%.”

In the 1960s-70s, Bone Marrow Transplants were performed on dogs in a research setting prior to utilizing the techniques in human patients. The information from these studies, combined with advancements in technology, has allowed canine bone marrow transplantation procedures to move from the laboratory to clinical practice.

Bone marrow transplantation involves the collection of hematopoietic stem cells from either the patient, after the cancer has been controlled with chemotherapy, or from a healthy, related donor dog. After total body irradiation to destroy residual microscopic tumor cells, the patient receives an intravenous infusion of stem cells to replace destroyed or diseased bone marrow cells.

“We have shown that we can successfully mobilize and collect the required hematopoietic stem cells, administer total body irradiation, re-infuse the stem cells, and successfully support the patient until stem cell engraftment occurs. We anticipate that the introduction of bone marrow transplantation will increase the cure rate of our dogs with lymphoma.”

MedVet is one of the few centers in the world offering this cutting edge therapy to clients and their dogs battling lymphoma. To date, MedVet has performed 7 bone marrow transplants with all patients tolerating the procedure well. For more detailed information about MedVet’s bone marrow transplantation program, please contact Dr. Fulton and her team at the Cancer Center in Columbus at 614-431-4401.

The MedVet Bone Marrow Transplant Team 

Lisa M. Fulton, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), is an innovator in the field of veterinary oncology. Dr. Fulton established the first veterinary medical oncology practice in the Washington D.C. area and was a charter member of the Animal Clinical Investigations, a group of oncologists in private practice dedicated to the advancement of veterinary medicine. During the past 30 years, Dr. Fulton has pioneered the use of advanced medical therapies to treat cancer in animals. Her research interests include lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas, and mast cell tumor and her clinical research has been widely published.

Deborah McLeod Prescott, DVM, PhD, DACVR (Radiation Oncology), has successfully treated thousands of veterinary cancer patients over the past 30 years. Prior to joining MedVet, she developed one of the most successful radiation oncology practices in the Washington D.C. area. Dr. Prescott has a strong national reputation as a leading veterinary Radiation Oncologist, and currently receives referrals from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana.

About MedVet

MedVet Medical and Cancer Centers for Pets is a 24-hour emergency, critical care and specialty animal hospital. MedVet is employee owned & veterinary led and is leading specialty healthcare for pets. MedVet provides specialty referral services, as well as emergency services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 100,000 dogs and cats are treated annually at MedVet’s expanding network of medical centers across the country.

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