Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.
Equine Malignant Melanoma, Equine Melanocytic Disease
|Oncept® vaccine||A DNA-based vaccine developed to treat melanoma in dogs, has also proven to be an effective treatment of melanoma in horses. The vaccine works by stimulating the body to produce an immune response to a protein found in melanoma cells (tyrosinase). The drug is licensed for use in dogs in the USA, and only available at select veterinary clinics. Treatment with the vaccine involves an initial assessment followed by administration of the vaccination at two week intervals for four treatments and then six-monthly boosters. Preliminary results from use of the vaccine suggest that response to the vaccine is positive in some cases but unpredictable; some horses showed cessation of melanoma growth or even tumor shrinkage, however not all horses responded to treatment.|
|Cimetidine||Daily oral supplement, at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg body weight, twice a day. It has had mixed results of effectiveness, but has been found in some horses to prolong survival of horses with melanomas, depending on the type and size of the melanomas.|
|Cisplatin||A heavy metal compound that inhibits DNA synthesis. It was reported be 81% effective in cases of early-stage melanomas that were not previously treated. However new tumors continued to develop in other areas of the body. Implanting cisplatin-containing biodegradable beads into the tumor alongside conventional debulking or CO2 laser debulking was found to be successful at resolution of tumors for at least 2 years following treatment.|
|Surgical excision||The mainstay of treatment for horses with stage 1 or 2 melanomas. However, in a study conducted by Rowe and Sullins in 2004, they discovered close to half of the horses in the study which had their tumors surgically removed ended up having that tumor increase in size or developed more tumors at the same location or elsewhere on the body.|
|Chinese herbal medicine||Nei Xiao Luo Li San, Nei Xiao Wan, and Si Jun Zi Tang|
|Frankincense oil||Daily injections of medicinal grade, sterile frankincense oil directly into the tumors, plus application of oil on topical tumors||J Robertson, DVM|