Archive for July, 2012

Connecting with animals is possible, even without pets at home

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Some families cannot accommodate pets, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the benefits of connecting with animals, writes veterinarian Ann Hohenhaus. In this article, Dr. Hohenhaus outlines numerous ways children can get hands-on, repeated interaction with animals. Some of the activities such as helping out at animal shelters will benefit the community as well. WebMD/Tales from the Pet Clinic blog

Recently, the news has featured many stories about TomKat. No, not a story about a feline, but the ongoing saga of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. One story that caught my eye involved their daughter Suri having a tantrum in a pet store because her mother would not buy her a Morkie, a dog she wanted.

In every family without a pet, there is at least one child begging for one. But for health reasons, travel, or time in the daily schedule, a pet does not always fit into the family’s lifestyle. There are, however, other ways, even without owning a pet of your own, that you can bring animals into your family’s life. Here are my top ten tips to add the fun and adventure of animals to your family without actually owning a pet:

1. Attend the local animal show. The owners of dogs, cats, birds and reptiles love to show off their pets and talk to children about responsible pet ownership. In New York City we have the annual Meet the Breeds dog and cat show, but there are smaller local shows as well.

2. Volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter or to help socialize the cats residing there.

3. Be a foster pet family. My local rescue group is always looking for host families for cats in need. I wrote about my experiences with my foster cat family last spring.

4. Head to your local library and check out some books on pet care. For the toddler set, try the series about “Sally,” a black Labrador retriever who visits the veterinarian, or for a comprehensive pet care overview, try the Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health.

5. Participate in your library’s reading program featuring certified therapy dogs to promote reading skills in children. Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) has local programs nationwide. Therapy Dogs International sponsors “Tail Wagging Tutors.” What could be better than helping your dog-loving child read better?

6. Volunteer to pet sit for a neighbor while they      are on vacation.

7. Become a member of your local zoo. Many zoos have      an area where children can pet the animals. In the New York metropolitan      area the Wildlife Conservation Society,      which includes the Bronx Zoo, the Queens Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, Prospect      Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium, has hands-on programs for various age      groups, as well as educational exhibits and free demonstrations daily.      Some zoos even have sleepovers!

8. If your child is an electronic wizard, there are      a variety of electronic games related to pet care. Games are available for      multiple game platforms and on the Internet. Try Hamsterz, Dr. Daisy Pet      Vet, Paws & Claws, Pet Vet, or Webkinz.

9. Research      the high schools in your district to see if they have a specialized      program related to animals, such as the Chicago      High School for Agricultural Sciences, or the Kansas State University co-sponsored high school      program in Olathe, KS.

10. Volunteer at a pet outreach program at your local      hospital, Ronald McDonald House, or senior citizens home. The program      coordinator will know of a pet volunteer that you can “borrow” for the      visits.

If your child is like Suri Cruise and wants an animal, but your inner Katie Holmes tells you a full-time pet is not right for your family, offer your pet-loving child one of these opportunities until the time is right for your family to love a pet of its very own.

Photo: Creatas

Posted by: Ann Hohenhaus, DVM at 6:17 am

Itchy guinea pig likely has 1 of 3 ailments

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Guinea pigs suffering from itchy skin may have species-specific lice, a mite infection called sarcoptic mange or the fungal infection known as ringworm, writes veterinarian Jeff Kahler, who notes that ringworm can be transmitted to people from their guinea pig. A veterinarian can distinguish between the three using microscopic evaluations of skin and hair from the guinea pig as well as a fungal culture. The Miami Herald/McClatchy Newspapers



McClatchy Newspapers


            When Allison told her mom that her guinea pig seemed to be scratching herself a lot, Allison was told to clean out Poppy’s cage. Young Allison put in a fresh bedding of cedar chips mixed with pine shavings. Poppy seemed to scratch less, but the improvement was short-lived. The scratching is now to the point of waking Allison up at night, and when Allison pets Poppy, she can feel scabbing along the cava’s back.

I do not recommend cedar shavings for any rodent or rabbit. It can be very irritating to the respiratory tract in these animals. The list of possible causes for pruritus, or itchiness, in guinea pigs is long, however three causes make up the lion’s share of these cases. While either of these three could be placed at the top of the list, I will start by focusing on sucking and/or chewing lice. In my clinical experience, I see this as the most common cause of pruritus in my guinea pig patients.

Lice are parasites. They can be found in many different species of animals from fish to birds to mammals, including humans. Most often, the type of lice involved with one type of animal is specific to that type of animal. In other words, lice from guinea pigs will not infest a human. In guinea pigs, these unattractive little creatures gain access from one guinea pig to another most commonly through direct contact, though lice can be transmitted through substrate such as bedding materials and also through food, especially bulk food.

Once these lice set up “house” on their hosts, they begin feeding by biting or sucking on the skin surface. As one might imagine, this is quite pruritic and irritating. Poppy’s scenario certainly fits with the possibility of an infection with lice.

Some people can see lice with their naked eye; I can not. I use clear plastic tape, placing it sticky side down in an itchy area of the pig’s skin. I then take the tape and stick it to a microscope slide and look at it under magnification for the presence of lice and/or their eggs.

Treatment for lice in guinea pigs involves using an oral or injectable medication two to four times, with two weeks between each treatment depending on the severity. The two-week interval allows the eggs to hatch and the lice killed before they lay new eggs. I also recommend treating the environment every four days by removing and replacing the substrate and spraying with a spray containing the same ingredient as the medication used to treat the guinea pig. This therapy should rid the guinea pig of lice.

Mange is another cause of pruritus. It is caused by mites. These are specifically sarcoptic mange mites that burrow into the guinea pig’s skin and cause irritation and pruritus. The pruritus can be quite intense, to the point where some patients go into seizures. Diagnosis for mange involves scrapping the skin and putting the scraped contents on a microscope slide and observing the mites and/or their eggs under magnification. These mites can not be seen with the naked eye.

Treatment for mange in guinea pigs is virtually identical to the treatment for lice.

The last of the “big three” possible causes for Poppy’s itchy skin in fungal infection of the skin. This is commonly referred to as ringworm, though it involves no worms. This skin disease is caused by a fungal organism that colonizes the skin and causes an inflammatory response that is intensely pruritic. We diagnose this disease by growing the fungus on a special growth medium specifically designed for this purpose. Treatment usually involves oral and topical therapy, including bathing with specific anti-fungal shampoo. Prognosis for recovery is good. An important point to note here is that guinea pigs can transfer ringworm fungus to people.

Poppy likely has one of these three. A visit to her veterinarian for diagnostic tests will lead to a diagnosis and a cure.

(Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto, Calif. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.)

Read more here:

Cats more likely to trigger allergies than dogs

Monday, July 30th, 2012

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, about 10% of people have pet-induced allergies, and cats are twice as likely to cause symptoms as dogs. Experts say intact, male cats register the highest itch-inducing protein, called Fel d 1, a protein so small and light that it remains airborne for hours and has been found in the absence of cats, even in the Arctic.

If you have pet allergies, chances are it is Fluffy rather than Fido that’s making you sneeze. While an estimated 10 percent of people are allergic to household pets, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Among children, about one in seven between ages 6 and 19 prove to be allergic to cats.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cat fur that causes those itchy, watery eyes. Most people with cat allergies react to a protein found on cat skin called Fel d 1.

The reason that cat allergies are more common has to do with the size and shape of the protein molecule, rather than how much dander the animal sheds, according to Mark Larché, an immunology professor at McMaster University in Ontario.

The protein enters the air on bits of cat hair and skin, and it is so small and light — it’s about one-tenth the size of a dust allergen — that it can stay airborne for hours. “Dog allergens don’t stay airborne the same way cat allergens do. The particle size is just right to breathe deep into your lungs,” Larché said.

The Fel d 1 protein is also incredibly sticky, readily glomming onto human skin and clothes and remaining there, making it ubiquitous in the environment. It has been found in places where there are no cats — classrooms, doctors’ offices, even the Arctic, Larché said.

While there are no truly hypoallergenic cat breeds — all cats produce the protein, which experts surmise may have something do with pheromone signaling — some cats make more of it than others.

“Male cats, especially unneutered males, produce more Fel d 1 than female cats. Testosterone increases glandular secretions,” said Dr. Andrew Kim, an allergist at the Allergy and Asthma Centers of Fredricksburg and Fairfax, in Virginia.

If you have cat allergies, there are steps you can take to reduce them. Avoiding contact with cats is one option, though not always a popular choice. Even after a cat is taken out of a house, allergen levels may remain high for up to six months, Kim said.

Limiting a cat’s access to the bedrooms of allergic people, using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, bathing the cat and removing allergen-trapping carpeting may also help.

For those who can’t avoid cat dander, allergy shots may be an option. Small injections of the allergen can help build immune system tolerance over time. “It takes about six months of weekly injections of increasing potency to reach a maintenance level, followed by three to five years of monthly injections, for the therapy to reach full effectiveness,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, an allergist and founder of Family Allergy and Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md.

A less burdensome fix for cat allergies may be on the horizon. Phase 3 clinical trials are set to begin this fall for a cat allergy vaccine that Larché helped develop. Early tests have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective without some of the side effects of allergy shots, such as skin reactions and difficulty breathing. Larché receives research funding from pharmaceutical companies Adiga Life Sciences and Circassia.

Feline hyperthyroidism: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Hyperthyroidism, the overproduction of thyroid hormone, is relatively common in aging cats and may explain changes in behavior, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea, among other signs, writes veterinarian Andrew Riebe. Findings from a physical exam including a heart murmur and palpably enlarged thyroid gland along with a blood test measuring hormone levels provide veterinarians with a diagnosis. Dr. Riebe explains the advantages and drawbacks of available treatment protocols for feline hyperthyroidism, including a new food that alleviates the condition if fed exclusively. WANE-TV (Fort Wayne, Ind.)


Clinical Signs:

There are various clinical signs or “symptoms” that a cat with hyperthyroidism may display.  Some of the most common signs include weight loss, changes in appetite, gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g., vomiting and/or diarrhea), and changes in urination.  Affected cats may also show changes in activity level and attitude.  If you ever notice any of these signs in your cat, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately.  These clinical signs are caused by the over-production of thyroid hormone by the cat’s thyroid glands, which are small endocrine glands located on the cat’s ventral neck, just adjacent to the windpipe (trachea).


In many cases, a veterinarian will become suspicious of hyperthyroidism based on a history of common clinical signs and findings from a complete physical examination.  Some of the most common findings on physical examination include evidence of weight loss, dehydration, and the presence of a heart murmur.  In some cases, the veterinarian will be able to feel a lump or enlargement on the thyroid gland itself.  To confirm a diagnosis of feline hyperthyroidism, blood tests are used to measure the levels of thyroid hormone circulating in the cat’s blood, which will be elevated in affected cats.  Remember that all cats need to have a veterinary examination performed at least once each year so that diseases like hyperthyroidism can be identified as early as possible.


There are a few different treatment options available for cats with hyperthyroidism, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages.  Traditionally, the most common method for controlling hyperthyroidism is the administration of anti-thyroid medications that help to suppress the production of excessive thyroid hormone.  These medications are often effective and are relatively inexpensive, however life-long treatment is required and some cats will develop significant side effects.  A more definitive treatment option is also available, which involves the administration of a radioactive iodine injection to the cat. The radioactive iodine is only absorbed by the overactive thyroid tissue, which results in the destruction of this abnormal tissue.  This procedure is very safe and typically very effective, however it is associated with higher initial costs and requires the cat to be hospitalized in a specialized facility for several days.  More recently, a new therapeutic diet was developed for cats with hyperthyroidism.  The therapeutic food has restricted levels of iodine, which is an essential component for thyroid hormone production.  Therefore, by limiting the cat’s intake of iodine you are also able to limit the amount of thyroid hormone that the cat can produce.  This option offers the ease of providing treatment by simply feeding the cat, however, the cat’s diet must be strictly limited to the prescription food, which can sometimes present a challenge in multi-cat households or in cats with picky appetites.  Finally, surgical removal of the thyroid gland itself is also a method for treating hyperthyroid cats.

No matter which treatment option is selected, many hyperthyroid cats can be effectively managed and will often show improvement, if not resolution, of their clinical disease.  Nevertheless, long-term monitoring and regular veterinary checks are important for affected cats.  If you have any questions about this disease or if you think your cat may be showing signs consistent with hyperthyroidism, contact your veterinarian immediately.



Feline purring, explained

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Veterinarian Barbara Sherman, director of the N.C. State Veterinary Health Complex’s Behavioral Medicine Service, says cats purr during moments of positive interaction, including owner-cat and cat-cat interactions. A purr is a vibration of the vocal folds, composed of sound bursts that occur some 25 times per second, Dr. Sherman explains. Most but not all felids purr, Dr. Sherman notes, but she says lions, jaguars, and leopards roar instead. The Charlotte Observer (N.C.)/Ask a Scientist blog

What a pleasure to have a cat sitting in one’s lap, purring loudly! Cats are thought to purr in order to maintain contact with other cats or humans. This may be when the cat appears to be expressing contentment, as sitting on the lap of a familiar person.

One investigator put throat microphones on free-ranging cats and recorded their purring. She found that purring occurred in a wide range of circumstances, including the presence of the cat’s caretaker, when greeting another familiar cat, during tactile stimulation such as rolling or rubbing, and during drowsy sleep, particularly in warm, familiar environments. Female cats purr when nursing their young; kittens purr while nursing. Some situations appear to “turn off” purring, including aggressive or sexual interactions; while hunting, in the presence of prey, and upon first exposure to catnip.

In general, purring is associated with positive cat-human interactions or positive cat-cat interactions. In addition, purring may occur just prior to sleep or, surprisingly, when in pain. When veterinarians examine a cat presented for emergency treatment after having been hit by a car, they may note that it is purring.

Q: How do they make that characteristic sound?

Purring is triggered by a signal from the central nervous system. As the cat inhales and exhales, the vocal fold muscles in the larynx vibrate to produce sound bursts. These sound bursts occur every 30 to 40 milliseconds (or approximately 25 times a second) and result in the familiar purring sound. Purr frequency is independent of cat age, size, weight, or sex, and is easily audible to a nearby person or cat.

While purring, cats can simultaneously produce other vocalizations, including cries. An example is well-known to cat owners: the plaintive “demand” cry of cats, which can be heard when opening a can of cat food at feeding time.

Q: Do any other animals (domestic and other) exhibit similar behaviors?

The purr is highly characteristic of felids. The famed naturalist Charles Darwin noted that, in addition to the house cat, the puma, cheetah, and ocelot purr. The large roaring cats, such as the lion, jaguar, and leopard (in the genus Panthera), do not purr.

Read more here:


49 people were sickened from dog food salmonella contamination

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Salmonella-contaminated dry dog food from Diamond Pet Food Processors’ plant in Gaston, S.C., sickened a total of 47 people in the U.S. and two in Canada, the CDC said Wednesday. Diamond launched its recall of the food in April. People can become ill by direct exposure to the food or by contact with animals that consumed it.

An outbreak of salmonella poisoning linked to contaminated dry dog food has sickened 47 people in 20 U.S. states and two people in Canada, government health officials said late Wednesday.

The outbreak of rare salmonella Infantis that began in early April appears to be over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among 24 patients with available information, 10 were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

The illnesses were linked to dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Food Processors at a single production plant in Gaston, S.C. The contamination was detected during routine surveillance by Michigan health officials.

CDC investigators later took evidence of the rare salmonella Infantis strain — which is typically reported three or fewer times per month — and then checked for human cases that matched the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria.

Diamond Pet Foods issued the first of several recalls of pet food on April 6. The recall included Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Kirkland Signature brands of dog and cat food. The pet food was distributed in dozens of U.S. states, mostly in the east and south, several Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico. For details, click here.

Victims could have become ill after handling the contaminated dry food or after contact with animals that had eaten the food. Anyone who became sick after contact with brands produced by Diamond Pet Food should consult a health care provider. Pet owners should wash their hands with soap and warm water after contact with animals or their food.

Illnesses included one each in Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas; two each in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina and Virginia; three each in California, Missouri and Ohio and Pennsylvania; four in Illinois and five each in New York and North Carolina. Two people in Canada also became ill.

Consumers should check their homes for recalled pet food and discard them.

All lumps on pets should be checked out, veterinarian advises

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Most lumps that appear on our pets aren’t worrisome, but all of them should be checked out to rule out serious conditions such as lymphoma, writes veterinarian Jeff Kahler. Masses are typically tested using a needle that draws out some of the cells, which are then sent for examination by a cytologist, Dr. Kahler (Modesto, CA veterinarian) writes.

From the Miami Herald


McClatchy Newspapers

            Danny has a lump under his neck that Allison describes as almost tennis ball-sized and firm to the touch. She is positive it was not there the night before. The lump apparently does not bother the 6-year-old golden retriever, but it does bother Allison and her family.

Anytime a mass develops, it should be addressed. Most of these masses are not problems, but that is not always the case. Danny needs to see his veterinarian for diagnostics to determine the origin of the mass and its treatment.

A fine needle aspirate, in which cells from the mass are removed, would be my first recommendation. The aspirated material is placed on a slide and sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination by a cytologist. This test often will reveal what type of mass we are dealing with.

Without the benefit of diagnostic test results, I am guessing as to the origin of the mass. One possibility is lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system that involves the lymph nodes. There are lymph nodes in the neck area close to the angle of the lower jaw on each side. When cancer is involved, these nodes, one or both, can become extremely enlarged. I do not think Danny has lymphoma, primarily because Allison has convinced me that there was no mass one night and then a big mass the next morning. Though lymphoma can come on as enlarged lymph nodes quickly, it is usually not that quick. The fine needle aspirate I mentioned will give the answer.

Focusing on the rapid appearance of the mass, my strongest suspicion is that Danny has a salivary mucocele, or the accumulation of saliva under the skin. It most commonly occurs as the result of the tearing of a salivary duct. The gland connected to the torn duct keeps producing saliva, but rather than ending up in the mouth cavity it dumps under the skin in the area of the rupture. These mucoceles can feel very firm, as if they were solid. Aspiration will reveal a thick, clear fluid, sometimes with some blood.

I think Danny has a mucocele because of the sudden onset and because Allison mentioned in her letter that Danny likes to play tug of war with his rope toy. I suspect Danny was playing tug of war and ruptured a salivary duct. The saliva built up under the skin in the ventral neck area and by the next morning Danny had a mucocele. Tug of war is a common cause of salivary mucoceles.

Treatment for salivary mucoceles can be a bit frustrating. I begin with draining the mucocele as flat as possible. I then will introduce anti-inflammatory medication into the lesion and send the patient home. This procedure can be repeated several times with the hope of scarring of the duct and cessation of the mucocele. If this does not work, surgery becomes the next option.

Surgery is performed with the hope of finding the ruptured salivary duct and closing it off, but the ruptured duct can be difficult to locate. We sometimes introduce radio-opaque dye from the salivary duct opening in the mouth into the duct. This is followed by radiographs of the head, which highlight the dye and the origin of the leak.

In Danny’s case, the answer lies in performing a fine needle aspirate. I hope Danny will have a mucocele instead of lymphoma. Of course, there are other possibilities.

Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto, Calif. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.

Read more here:

Allergy drops are alternative to injections for dogs, study suggests

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Twice-daily allergy drops placed under a dog’s tongue may be a successful alternative to allergy injections for some dogs, according to a recent study. Veterinary dermatologist Douglas DeBoer, along with physician Mary Morris, recently tested the results of the drops in 217 dogs with skin allergies and observed positive results. The therapy, like the injections, is used to desensitize animals by administering a small dose of the allergen.

From University of Wisconsin, Madison

Photo by Douglas DeBoer

A study reported today at the World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Vancouver, British Columbia, shows that placing  allergy drops under a dog’s tongue can be as effective as allergy injections for controlling skin allergies.In dogs, allergies to house dust, pollen, and mold cause atopic dermatitis, an itchy skin inflammation. Dogs, like people, can be desensitized through “immunotherapy” using shots or drops that deliver small doses of the allergen to “train” the immune system to tolerate foreign proteins.Both technologies are now about a century old, but for humans and animals, allergy shots are more commonly used.Chief author of the new study, Douglas DeBoer, a professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, sees several benefits emerging from the new study, which treated skin allergies in 217 dogs using allergy drops.About 60 percent of the dogs improved significantly, DeBoer says. The drops were placed under the tongue twice a day, while allergy shots are injected every 14 days or so. Both drops and shots must be performed under a veterinarian’s supervision, and their cost is comparable.Because the drops apparently act through a different mechanism than allergy shots, they even helped dogs who had “failed” allergy shots, DeBoer says.

Dogs, like people, can rarely suffer a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to allergy shots, resulting in collapse and shock.  However, even those dogs treated in the study that had previously had such a dangerous reaction to an allergy shot did not have it with the under-the-tongue method. “Drops appear to be safer than shots in this respect,” says DeBoer.DeBoer was not always so enthusiastic about allergy drops for dogs, says Mary Morris, M.D., of Allergy Associates of La Crosse. In about 1967, her father, Dr. David Morris, started using allergy drops with increasing effect on his allergy patients. Some were farmers with severe mold allergies who suffered aching arms and swelling from allergy shots or could not find the time to visit the clinic for regular shots.In 2006, Morris says, a clinic employee asked her to try allergy drops on a “poor little golden retriever that was losing most of its coat, scratching uncontrollably. Based on the human protocol we use at the clinic, I made my best guess at the formula for treating a dog, and it worked really well.”Intrigued with the idea of a rigorous study for the treatment on dogs, she searched for an expert in canine skin allergies and DeBoer’s name was at the top of the list.  He seemed a natural fit — a world expert in the area who worked at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where both she and her father had gone to medical school.Unfortunately, DeBoer “was extremely skeptical, and he basically told me no,” she says. “I was very disappointed, and kept trying to persuade him this was a good research project.” The two agreed on a pilot study of 10 dogs. “If it failed, it wasn’t worth pursuing,” she says. “But I think much to his surprise, it actually worked.”The outcome, Morris says, “was the study he is going to present in Vancouver.”Morris has licensed the technology to Heska Corp., whose CEO, Robert Grieve, is a former professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine.With data in hand, DeBoer has overcome his skepticism. Although the drops must be given once or twice a day for at least several months, they have major advantages, he says. “A lot of owners are needle-shy, and would never  consider giving allergy shots, and may not even have the dog evaluated for that reason.  Now there is an option that is very user-friendly.”And what do the dogs think? “The drops have a slightly sweet flavor, so most dogs actually like them,” says DeBoer. “Owners say their dogs consider them a treat and run toward them when they hear the bottle being opened. With the needle, they learn to run away.”

New canine cancer drug on the horizon in U.S. and Canada

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Immunocidin, a new treatment for canine mammary tumors, received regulatory approval in the U.S. and Canada and will likely be launched this month. The drug reportedly helps kill cancer cells and also increases white blood cell counts after chemotherapy-induced cytopenia.

US and Canadian regulators have approved Immunocidin, the first of two canine cancer products developed by Bioniche (ASX:BNC).

Bioniche (ASX:BNC) has received regulatory approval in the US and Canada for one of two canine oncology products in the company’s pipeline.

The product, Immunocidin, is an immunotherapy for the intratumoural treatment of mixed mammary tumour and mammary adenocarcinoma in dogs.

It is based on the same mycobacterial cell wall technology from which Urocidin, a product for human bladder cancer currently at the phase III trial stage.

Canine cancer is one of the leading disease-related causes of death in dogs, accounting for approximately one in every four deaths.

Human chemotherapies are traditionally used where treatment is sought, but this can be prohibitively expensive, requires special handling and carries with it the same side effects encountered in humans.

“We are pleased to be nearing market launch for the first of two important canine oncology products in a market where there are few registered veterinary products,” Bioniche Animal Health Global President Andrew Grant said.

The second canine cancer product in development is an intravenous therapy also based on technology used for Urocidin. The treatment would likely be used in conjunction with chemotherapy.

The product has the potential to improve white blood cell count following cytopenia resulting from chemotherapy, as well as contributing to apoptosis of cancer cells.

Bioniche is a Canada-headquartered human and animal health biopharmaceutical company, which is dual-listed on the ASX. Its Australian operations are concentrated on the animal health side of the business.

The company first revealed it was commercialising the canine cancer products in May. At the time, the company stated it expects to launch Immunocidin this month.

Laurel and Paisley

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Paisley and I have been Pet Partners since 2007.  We like to read to children at the Upland Library and represent the Animal Health Foundation at community and county events.