Canine Lymphoma is a devastating disease that is relatively common. The disease causes tumors to form in the lymphoid tissues, such as the lymph nodes, bone marrow and spleen. Although lymphoma generally affects older dogs, it can arise at any state of life and affect any breed.
In the past, this disease has had a high fatality rate and little hope of treatment outside of chemotherapy. Fortunately, bone marrow transplants represent a significant advance in the treatment of this disease and early results have been very encouraging.
What is a Canine Bone Marrow Transplant?
Canine bone marrow transplants are executed almost exactly like human bone marrow transplants with the exception of the fact that canine bone marrow transplants almost exclusively use the dog’s own marrow. During the multi-step process, the patient must first be put into remission via chemotherapy. Next, some of the affected dog’s hematopoietic cells are harvested and screened for cancer cells. The patient then undergoes full body radiation therapy before the hematopoietic cells are re-introduced (transplanted) via the blood stream.
How effective are Canine Bone Marrow Transplants?
As it stands now, canine bone marrow transplants are reported to have around a 30% success (cure) rate in affected dogs when receiving their own bone marrow and around 60% success with dogs receiving bone marrow from a related dog (based on comments by Dr. Edmund Sullivan at Bellingham Veterinary).
Is a Canine Bone Marrow Transplant Expensive?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes ($10,000+). While treatment may be covered by certain pet insurance plans, often it is not and so out-of-pocket costs can be huge. This is a limiting factor for treatment and often results in canine bone marrow transplants being inaccessible to many dogs.
Currently only a few veterinary hospitals offer bone marrow transplants, those being;
- Bellingham Veterinary in Bellingham, WA
- North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh, NC
- Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego, CA
Do you have any experience with lymphoma or bone marrow transplants in your pet? Let us know in the comments below.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian