2020/11/26 - Products
Animal Needs Are Evolving, And So Are Our Health Solutions!
The longer life span of pets goes hand in hand with the increase in geriatric diseases, particularly the number of cancers being diagnosed. Since the beginning of 2020, we have been offering European veterinarians an innovative treatment solution that specifically targets mastocytomas, the most common form of canine skin cancer.
Over the last ten years or so, dogs' life expectancy has been increasing thanks to advancements in veterinary medicine and the development of high-quality nutrition. However, the risk of cancer increases with age. With nearly one dog in four affected worldwide, cancer is the main cause of disease-related death in pets1. Mastocytomas are the second most frequently diagnosed cancer and the most common skin cancer, accounting for up to 21% of skin cancers2. The growing importance of these new needs gave us new impetus to search for innovative solutions to expand existing therapies.
Targeting Mast Cell Tumors, the most common canine skin cancer
Mastocytoma is an abnormal proliferation of mast cells (immune cells located in connective tissue). In dogs, Mast Cell Tumors (MCTs) most often develop in the form of single nodules in the skin or subcutaneous tissue on the trunk, paws, head or neck. It is also found in smaller amounts in many tissues, with the most aggressive forms spreading to other organs such as liver and spleen. In case of an adverse course of the disease, systemic signs are a loss of appetite, loss of shape, vomiting or diarrhoea, affecting the quality of life of the animal. MCTs are classified according to a grade, with the most severe form that tends to recidivate and metastasize very easily; Early treatment is then crucial. That’s why our aim was to provide veterinarians with more therapeutic options from the first grades of the tumor.
Our goal: to expand veterinarians’ therapeutic arsenal
Traditionally, the treatment of canine MCTs can be surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of all three. There are few targeted treatments designed for the animal available for veterinarians, as the anti-cancer molecules mainly come from human medicine. Surgery is the first therapeutic option (more than half of the cases), but it’s not always possible due to the MCTs’ location. Indeed, the aim of surgery is to remove as many cancer cells as possible by making margins of removal of up to 3 cm all around the tumor, which can be a problem when the tumor is located in areas like paws. Other possible obstacles may be: individual criteria of the animal (anaesthetic risks for example), the grade or extent of the tumor, or the owner's reluctance when faced with the constraints or costs of hospitalisation and treatment. Our objective was to offer new treatment options combining therapeutic efficacy and ease of administration, when surgery is not possible; And to complement treatments with protocols based on products approved by veterinary oncologists.
New treatment now available for all european vets
On 15 January 2020, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted a centralised marketing authorisation for our new antineoplastic agent for dogs. After an official launch in April, with the first Virbac Oncology Summit, our new MCTs treatment was gradually rolled out across Europe, starting with Germany in May and then the UK in July. In September, it was the turn of French and Spanish veterinarians, followed in October by practitioners from Italy, Scandinavia, and Central and Eastern European countries. Thank you to our teams whose commitment made it possible to bring this innovation to European veterinarians despite the complicated present sanitary situation. More than ever, we are committed to drive veterinary medicine forward and work together to improve the health and quality of life of our pets.
1 Brakke 2017
2 London CA and Thamm DH. (2020). Mast Cell Tumors. In: D. Vail,, D. Thamm, and J. Liptak, ed., Withrow and MacEwen’s Small Animal Clinical Oncology, 6th ed.* St Louis: Elsevier, pp 382-403.