A NEW treatment for cancer in dogs has become available in Australia.
Developed by Pfizer Animal Health, the medicine is administered orally and works by killing cancer cells and cutting off the blood supply to skin-based mast cell tumours.
The potentially lethal form of canine cancer can appear as wart-like lumps on the surface of the skin.
He said one in four dogs developed a tumour at some stage in their life.
"When an owner is given the devastating news that their beloved pet has cancer, their primary concern is to limit their dog's day-to-day pain and suffering," Dr Straw said.
"This new medicine gives vets and owners the best chance to do this."
Dr Straw said before the new treatment vets had to rely on human cancer medicines as the only option for treating mast cell tumours.
"Given that these medicines weren't developed with canine cancer in mind, it is only through trial and error that we as vets were able to identify a safe dose and work out how to best administer the medicine for each individual dog," he said.
US-based lead researcher and practising veterinary cancer specialist Cheryl London has been involved in all stages of the medicine's development.
Her own clinical study found that in three in five dogs given the treatment, the tumours stopped growing, shrank or disappeared.
"If you're a dog owner whose pet's life is threatened by a mast cell tumour, the introduction of this medicine is a significant step forward in not only fighting the disease, but in improving their quality of life," Professor London said.