Oral Melanoma

Meet Circe (on the left, pictured with her sister), an amazingly sweet 10-year-old Shar Pei. Circe’s owner recently noticed a growth in her mouth when giving her a treat. Her family veterinarian found it to be a 3-4 cm oral tumor and removed it but the pathology report indicated a high likelihood that cancer cells still remained, which meant the tumor would likely grow back. Circe was then referred to WVRC, where we found no evidence of the tumor spreading to her lungs and local lymph nodes (most common sites of oral melanoma spread in dogs). Circe then had a second surgery to remove more tissue and part of her mandible in an attempt to remove all the cancer cells. However, this type of tumor has a high rate of spread, so she was started on a melanoma vaccine that will stimulate her own immune system to recognize cells that contain melanin, target these cells, and destroy them. We are optimistic that with this second surgery and the vaccine, Circe will live a long, happy life.