Washington clinics conducting nationwide trial for vaccine to treat canine cancer

Learning that your dog has cancer is devastating, but a vaccine being tested in Washington could give you more time with your pet. 

The treatment was developed by a research team at Yale University. The trial is open to pets nationwide, but it's only being administered at Bridge Animal Referral Center (BARC) in Edmonds and the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman

The treatment involves your dog receiving two vaccinations over a three-week period. Veterinarians track your dog's progress during that time, using blood work, MRI and CAT scans, and ultrasounds. 

"90% of patients have it in their bones and in their lungs, we just can't see it," said Dr. Chelsea Tripp, an oncologist at BARC. "So what we're trying to do is give them therapy to prevent that lung metastasis from being the limit for these patients."

One dog dad, who came all the way from Ohio, said the vaccine gave him a few more years with his dog, Ranger. 

"I take him [Ranger] back in February of 2020 and do an x-ray again. And that report back from that veterinarian at Ohio State said we can't see the tumor anymore. The tumor's gone. It's been resolved," said Rick Kneisel, Ranger's owner.

Kneisel was able to get three and a half more years with Ranger. 

"And that for three and a half years, Ranger did great even on those three legs. He was swimming as he always did, throwing tennis balls as far as out in the lakes. He would run in the snow. He chased balls every time," he said. 

Ranger had osteosarcoma. He was treated for that at BARC, but he developed another type of cancer. Kneisel had to make the difficult decision to put him down. 

Photo from Rick Kniesel

Have your veterinarian inquire whether your pet’s tumor may be a candidate for this therapy.

Contact BARC at 425-697-2272 about enrollment and to see if your dog qualifies.

You can learn more about the clinical vaccine program from Yale University here.

Wag Love Fest, a fundraiser for the Canine Cancer Alliance, is happening on May 7 at Marymoor Park in Redmond. You can register for the 6th annual Wag Love Fest 5K fundraiser here