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Review of an Innovative Treatment Option for Chemotherapy-Induced Canine Diarrhea

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Onboard oncologist Dr. Sue Ettinger talks about her clinical experience with the new drug

Content sponsored by Jaguar Health

Oncology is a rapidly evolving field of veterinary medicine, and recent studies have demonstrated the demand for improved cancer drugs and related therapies. In the United States alone, 30 million pet owners have had a dog diagnosed with cancer in the last 10 years.1 And about 1 in 3 dog owners said having a pet with cancer had a very negative impact on their quality of life.1 Additionally, the results of another study showed that 68% of pet owners decided not to treat their pet with cancer due to factors such as age, cost of treatment and adverse effects of treatment.2 Sue Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM (oncology), joined a recent episode ofdvm360 live!™ to address the state of veterinary oncology, discuss a drug to treat chemotherapy-induced diarrhea in dogs, and explore what’s on the horizon for oncology research.

What is Canalevia-CA1®?

Crofelemer (Canalevia-CA1) delayed-release tablets are conditionally approved by the FDA for chemotherapy-induced diarrhea in dogs and can be prescribed by general practitioners. Ettinger explained to the host, and dvm360®, Chief Veterinarian, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, “It works topically and it’s an antisecretory drug, so it works on the chloride channels to bring the fluid balance back, so they don’t have this watery diarrhea .”

Ettinger also said she appreciates that it is a natural and organic product. The drug is made from sap harvested from the Croton lechleri ​​tree, which grows in the rainforests of South America. Ettinger said, “Jaguar…Health is trying to grow this in a sustainable way and working with the indigenous people there to plant new trees. I think 2 new trees are planted for every tree harvested for sap, so it [is] really, really cool.

Put it into practice

In the next segment of dvm360 live!™, Ettinger and Christman were joined by pet parent Christian Nahas and his dog Sambuca. Ettinger explained that Sambuca had been diagnosed with intrapelvic sarcoma. She called it a “high-grade tumor” which was “quite aggressive”. After determining that the tumor was non-surgical, Sambuca received stereotactic radiation therapy, followed by chemotherapy to prevent metastasis. The tumor has since shrunk by 55%, Ettinger said.

Nahas explained how chemotherapy caused bouts of diarrhea in Sambuca. Ettinger then prescribed Canalevia-CA1, which was administered to Sambuca for 3 days. Nahas said: “Every time we gave it to her… her stools got better. Whatever it does, it works. He added that he noticed results the day after the first dose.

Take CHARGE Registry and Canine Cancer Care Index

In addition to new drugs in the field of oncology, Ettinger spoke passionately about recent and upcoming research that she hopes will give the veterinary profession a broader perspective on canine cancer in the future. It started with the Take CHARGE (Canine Health and Registry Exchange) initiative. “What we’ve been missing in veterinary oncology and veterinary medicine is a registry to be able to know how many cases of cancer exist in dogs,” Ettinger said. “[This initiative is] Start compiling medical records state by state, so we can look at age, breed, gender and different cancers and really start to know how many cancers there are in our pets. The index began with a retrospective review of 35,900 anonymous canine patient records and 830 confirmed cancer cases. The database continues to grow as clinics and pet owners upload new cases, according to the official website. Ettinger said patient data is anonymized for privacy reasons and clinics can easily register to contribute online.

Explaining one of the first interesting findings from the index, Ettinger said: “They looked at the incidence, newly diagnosed cases of cancer in dogs versus others. folks, and this is going to blow your mind: it was 2.8% in dogs and 0.57% in [humans].” She continued: “People feel like there are more cancers being diagnosed in pets? And that’s exactly why we need this registry, so we can break it down and decompress it a lot more.

As for the importance of compiling such data, Ettinger summed it up by saying, “I know cancer is scary, but information is power.

The references

  1. Clouet B, Maese E. Management of canine cancer. Gallup. August 10, 2022. Accessed August 18, 2022.
  2. Gallup survey of dog owners. Jaguar Health Canine Cancer: Take Charge Accessed May 24, 2022.