Breakthrough cancer treatment for dogs with only three days of down time

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s being called a “breakthrough” in cancer that could be the best possible outcome for treating your dog, according to health experts.

The co-owners at Intracoastal West Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Katie Green and Dr. Kyra Marsigliano, used the new treatment option on their very own.


Six-year-old Hank was rescued by Green and Marsigliano in 2016.

“Hank is such a sweetie,” Green said. “He is really good at lounging on the couch. He likes to cuddle.”

A couple of months ago, they noticed swelling on Hank’s wrist. It ended up being a mast cell tumor.

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“It started to swell, and then it would go down. Then swell and go down,” Green said. “That’s kind of the hallmark signs of this type of cancer.”

One option was surgery. However, Hank would lose his entire leg. The other option was radiation, which comes with a $10,000 price tag.

“Luckily, this new drug came out,” Dr. Green said “It’s called Stelfonta. We’re able to use that to inject straight into the tumor to treat it.”

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Stelfonta was first approved by the FDA in 2020. It’s been out for less than a year for general practice use, according to Green. Stefonta had an 87% success in removing tumors, according to the company website. Green said the down time is just three days.

“He’s been his normal self,” Green said of Hank. “For his treatment, it was less than $1,000. Comparatively to like a big surgery, radiation -- much more affordable.”

This treatment option is not for every dog.

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“It has to be a mast cell tumor,” Green said. “It’s not approved yet by any other types of cancers. It has to be in a certain size range and certain location on the body.”

Green said if your pet has any lumps or bumps, get it checked out.

“We really can cure a lot of cancers, if we catch them in time,” Green said.

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