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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28477
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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She is a 14 year old labradoodle with a tumor in her mouth.

Customer Question

she is a 14 year old labradoodle with a tumor in her mouth. took her to tosecond vets.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Some lumps are serious and some aren't. Let's see what the Veterinarian has to say. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Hayley- Vet said that if we took biopsy it would make the cancer become more agressive- had not heard much good reports abot vaccine
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Hayley-?
Customer: first vet thought problem with foot was nail and removed nail - second vet said he would have removed the toe if hayley was younger - probably cancer
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Hayley. Biopsying doesn't make a cancer more aggressive but inappropriate biopsy technique can seed surrounding areas with cancer cells. This is more of a risk when biopsying a tumor within a body cavity such as the thorax (chest) or abdomen. It isn't clear to me which vaccine you're referring to. Please clarify.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Neither doctor was favorable on doing a biopsy because they felt that regardless if cancer or benign - much of the jaw would have to be removed to get rid of tumor. Also, problems with putting dog asleep at the age of 14. Tumor has grown and is in her mouth and is now bleeding. probably also her foot. Treating it with antibiotics - 2 daily- and dog mouth wash. Do not know if it is a melanoma without biopsy. Otherwise, she is in great health. Could take her to Cancer specialist.
Copied and Pasted response below regardingMy veterinarian said there is a melanoma vaccine that might help improve my dog’s condition, but he/she doesn’t have access to the vaccine. How do I get this vaccine for my dog?
A. ONCEPT, the therapeutic melanoma vaccine to which your veterinarian was referring is available through specialists practicing veterinary oncology. To learn more about this treatment, please ask your veterinarian to refer you to a cancer specialist in your area who can provide you with additional information about this vaccine. Tools to locate a specialist also are available at and The specialist suggested ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine, DNA for my dog. What will it do? How does it work?
A. ONCEPT alerts the immune system to the presence of melanoma proteins, which results in the immune system fighting the cancer cells. In conjunction with surgery and/or radiation to treat the initial tumor, this immune response may help extend the survival time for most dogs.1,2Q. Since ONCEPT is a vaccine, does that mean my dog can get it as a preventive? Should my dog receive ONCEPT every year with other vaccinations?
A. Currently, ONCEPT has only been tested as a therapeutic vaccine, for use with dogs that have oral melanoma. Most experts believe that the incidence of canine melanoma is too low to justify preventive melanoma vaccines for all dogs.Q. What does it mean that ONCEPT is fully licensed?
A. This vaccine has met strict safety, efficacy, purity and potency requirements in order to receive full USDA licensure.Q. How and where is ONCEPT administered? Why are four doses of the vaccine necessary?
A. ONCEPT is administered into the inner thigh muscle of the dog with a needle-free Canine Transdermal Device. Initial treatment requires administration of four doses of vaccine, one every two weeks. After this initial series, dogs receive one booster every six months. Each time dogs receive a dose, their immune response becomes stronger in the fight against melanoma.Q. Is the injection of ONCEPT with the device painful for my dog?
A. Based on observations made during administrations, dogs do not react to the vaccine in a way that would suggest the vaccine is any more painful than a traditional injection.Q. What are the risks and the side effects associated with my dog receiving ONCEPT?
A. A temporary, low-grade fever may be observed in some dogs.Q. Will ONCEPT extend my dog’s life? By how long?
A. Dogs with advanced melanoma (stages II, III and IV) have reported survival times of less than five months when treated with standard therapies. While the effect of therapeutic vaccines varies from one animal to another, dogs that have participated in experimental or feasibility studies have recorded increased survival times.1,2Q. What is the cost of ONCEPT?
A. Cost of the vaccine is determined by each cancer specialist who is qualified to prescribe this treatment. Consult with a cancer specialist who is recommended by your veterinarian to discuss this treatment and its cost.Q. Where can I get more information about ONCEPT?
A. Please talk with your veterinarian about this treatment. He or she may be able to refer you to a cancer specialist in your area who is experienced with this treatment option.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. A specialist won't prescribe this vaccine without biopsying first. Most important, it's not a panacea when addressing melanoma. Extending survival may mean a few additional months as opposed to a dog not receiving the vaccine in a dog of Hayley's age in which every day is a gift. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hayley's mouth is bleeding constantly from this tumor which is growing - how can we stop the bleeding?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

You won't be able to unless the tumor is completely removed. The chinese herb yunnan baiyao might be palliative, however. Please see here:

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Is their any place that sells this without ordering it or online. We need it right away.would a health food store have it? Do we put the powder on her tumor on her mouth or her have her digest this medicine
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

Yes, I would try a health food store or herbalist. It's taken orally.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Do Not put it on her tumor have her ingest it?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.


Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We have been putting cold compresses on it - but her mouth is sensitive where the tumor is bleeding- what about something that they use for people to stop bleeding when shaving like a powder
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

Those styptic products shouldn't be used inside the mouth.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin