Lipomas Treated With Subcutaneous Deoxycholate Injections

15 May 2006Steve Schwarz

As I reported a couple months ago, the Lipoma on Mr. Peabody’s left hip has come back a third time (after two surgeries and radiation treatment). We didn’t want to subject Mr. P to surgery and radiation again due to the risk of necropsy due to overlap of the radiation fields. This time the lipoma is more infiltrative and at best surgery would “debulk” the tumor to remove pressure from Mr. P’s sciatic nerve.

During this time Nancy has been searching the web for alternate treatments. While she didn’t find any other canine treatments, she did uncover a successful treatment of lipomas in humans using subcutaneous injections of Deoxycholate. A summary of this article is available here (free registration for the summary required) The upshot of the treatment was a mean reduction in tumor area of 75% with only transient side effects even at low concentrations. The authors felt the low concentration approach was worthy of additional clinical trials.

Based on these promising results, Nancy contacted Dr. Pedro Boria DVM an Oncologist and Dr. Jayme Looper DVM Radiation Oncologist at VCA Aurora Animal Hospital to attempt this treatment plan on Mr. Peabody. At Nancy’s insistence they ordered the solution at a 1% concentration and it arrived last Friday. So this may well be the first use of this protocol on a dog. Our GP vet, Dr. Young, has been checking with his colleagues on veterinary/oncology websites to see if anyone else has experience with this treatments.

In these past months Mr. P’s tumor has continued to grow and in the past couple weeks has started to interfere with the movement of his back leg. While we knew this was a likely outcome, it didn’t make it any easier on us to see Mr. P “skipping” his hind leg. The tumor is also causing some discomfort and he sometimes makes little crying noises until you pet him. Sometimes we carry him up the stairs if he balks. Based on this article we put him on the non NSAID pain killer Tramadol which seems to be helping him relax and sleep.

So the time was now to try this treatment on Mr. P. Nancy and my Mom brought him in to VCA today and with the aid of an ultrasound scan the location of the injections was plotted. Dr. Boria made two injections into the tumor. The size and hardness of the tumor limited how much he could inject and the number of sites. Nancy had to sign a release since this is basically an experimental procedure. We’ll see if he has reductions in tumor volume over the next two weeks and bring him in for additional injections at that time.

We really need this procedure to work if we are going to spare Mr. P another surgery. I am glad Nancy is so tenacious in her researching of treatments for Mr. P throughout his illnesses. As many of our friends have said: In a future life we want to come back as one of Nancy’s animals; you are guaranteed the best possible care. Please keep Mr. Peabody in your thoughts.

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