Lymphoma, the most common cancer in horses, has been successfully treated with chemotherapy, a new study shows. However, nearly two-thirds of horses were affected with mild adverse effects from the chemo.
Presentation of the cancer varies depending on the areas of the horse that are affected; the prognosis is also variable depending on where the horse is affected. Often treatment in horses is aimed at making the horse comfortable more than addressing the cancer; equine treatments include corticosteroids, chemotherapy, excision or a combination of treatments.
Drs. Daniela Luethy, Angela Frimberger, Daniela Bedenice, Barbara Byrne, Erin Groover, Rachel Gardner, Trisha Lewis, Valerie MacDonald, Lauren Proctor‐Brown, Joy Tomlinson, Kenneth Rassnick and Amy Johnson created a study using 15 horses to learn about the long-term effects of chemotherapy in horses with lymphoma.
The team achieved complete remission in five of the horses; nine horses had a partial response. The median survival time was eight months. Nine of the horses experienced side effects, which included lethargy, hair loss, mild colic, neurotoxicity and low neutrophil levels.
The researchers reported the horses that had cutaneous lymphoma and those that were in complete remission tended to have longer median survival times than those with multicentric or alimentary lymphoma, and those horses that were in partial remission. They recommend that chemotherapy be used in horses with lymphoma to achieve remission and potentially lengthen the affected horse's lifespan. They do acknowledge that there are barriers to the treatment, including drug availability, financial constraints, personnel exposure and contamination of the environment.
Read the full study here.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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