Bone marrow transplant
As far as cutting-edge treatments go, this is one of the most sophisticated available. Because it’s so specialized and expensive (about $20,000), it’s not very accessible to most pet owners. But it offers a potential cure for lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. Chretin is one of the few veterinarians in the country who does bone marrow transplants. The procedure is exactly the same as that done in humans, he says. First, a dog is treated with a high dose of chemotherapy and a hormone that causes stem cells to release from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. A couple of weeks later, the dog is hooked up to a blood-separating machine that collects stem cells from the blood. The next day, the dog is treated with total-body radiation to wipe out all the white blood cells and, afterward, the harvested cells are infused back into the dog, where they will regenerate white blood cells in a, hopefully, cancer-free environment. The cure rate is about 40%.