For two years, Hospital Director Gerry Polton has been pioneering the use of Stelfonta, an injectable mast cell treatment for dogs. Gerry believes this treatment could be a “game changer” for pets suffering from cancer.
Gerry, a European and RCVS oncology specialist, said the recent case of a black labrador called Bo was a perfect example of how Stelfonta could make a dramatic difference to cancer patients.
He explained: “Bo had suffered from a recurring mast cell tumour to the right of her thorax (chest) since 2016 and had surgery in 2020 and 2021.
“Last year, Bo developed another mast cell tumour in the middle of her surgical scar and was referred to NDSR for treatment.
“The conventional approach would be to re-operate to remove all of the potentially affected tissue, but I felt this would have been an impossibly large surgery and Bo would have struggled in her convalescence period.
“Instead, we chose a new treatment which could chemically destroy the tumour. It’s an injectable agent called Stelfonta, which causes selective destruction of mast cells following injection directly into the tumour itself.
“This treatment is pretty new. It was launched in Europe in 2020 and we first used it at NDSR about two years ago. I think there are certain cases in which this is a real game-changer for patients.
“Bo has hopefully been one of those cases. She’s certainly responded exceptionally well and when I saw her recently for a follow up check she looked amazing.
“She’s really happy; her coat is tremendously glossy, and I understand she has a very hearty appetite.
“That’s why I wanted to share her story as there are undoubtedly countless people out there with dogs suffering in similar situations who don’t know that there are possible treatment options like Stelfonta.”
Bo’s delighted owner Mark Cooke, who lives in a village in the South Downs, is in no doubt Gerry’s care has made a dramatic difference, with his treasured pet behaving ‘like a puppy’ since receiving the groundbreaking treatment.
Mark said: “Bo has recovered very quickly from this particular treatment, which is far less aggressive than former procedures, and far less uncomfortable for her.
“Previously she took a few weeks to get back to her usual self. She was so uncomfortable, the stitches drove her crazy and she had trouble sleeping due to the wound.
“With this new treatment, the wound site healed very quickly and she was back to herself in a couple of days.
“She is like a puppy again! She’s full of energy, she is out walking, running and swimming every day.”
Mark is understandably full of gratitude for the ‘amazing’ care Bo received from Gerry and the expert team at the Linnaeus-owned hospital and says he would recommend NDSR to other dog owners.
He added: “Bo’s 12 now and we’ve had her since she was a 12-week-old puppy, so we were all very upset, anxious and concerned.
“However, everyone at NDSR was very welcoming, understanding and approachable, and Gerry Polton is simply amazing.
“He is honest, approachable, reliable, very professional and was extremely caring to us all. His concern for Bo’s well-being, before, during and still many months later, is a personal service that goes above and beyond.”
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