Water way to beat cancer as pioneering vet treatment gives Smithy a new lease of life - Veterinary Practice
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Water way to beat cancer as pioneering vet treatment gives Smithy a new lease of life

Smithy’s owners Amanda and Terry Beadle admitted they thought their “lovely dog” would not survive but are full of praise for Gerry after his expert intervention

One of the UK’s leading small animal hospitals is pioneering an exciting new cancer treatment for its patients.

Linnaeus-owned North Downs Specialists Referrals (NDSR), in Bletchingley, Surrey, is enjoying success with a non-toxic, anti-cancer drug called verdinexor.

Gerry Polton, NDSR’s director of oncology, says the ‘first in class’ drug is a real breakthrough and highlighted the recent treatment of a dog stricken with lymphoma as a real success story.

Gerry, an RCVS and European Specialist, said: “We’ve now started a treatment with a new anti-cancer drug that isn’t toxic like a chemotherapy.

“It’s an exciting new ‘first in class’ veterinary anti-cancer drug called verdinexor (Laverdia), which is an oral treatment given twice a week by the owner at home, and the recent case of Smithy, a 12-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, is a fine example of how well it can work.

“Smithy had an unusual kind of lymphoma which can be best treated surgically. After a long period of remission, sadly, he suffered recurrence of the lymphoma in the summer of last year.

“The prognosis was not good. He had been started on steroids and palliative care by his local vet, as his owners didn’t want Smithy to undergo chemo.

“Unfortunately, he developed a terrible skin complaint as a result of the steroids, and on top of this his lymphoma progressed so he was referred to us for specialist care and treatment.

“We reduced, and then withdrew, his steroids and started him on the verdinexor and the transformation was dramatic.

“He started treatment with hardly any fur and was very weak and poorly but has since gone from strength to strength.

“He looks really young again and is now back to doing his favourite thing – swimming in the lake!”

Smithy’s owners Amanda and Terry Beadle, from Brighton, admitted they thought their “lovely dog” would not survive but are full of praise for Gerry after his expert intervention.

Amanda explained: “Back in 2018, we noticed a lump in Smithy’s throat which was diagnosed as a lymphoma and he was referred to NDSR for treatment.

“He was just seven years old and we were filled with a deep sadness that our lovely young dog probably wouldn’t live to his full expected lifespan but, after successful surgery, he went on to resume a normal healthy life and we put all those fears to the back of our minds until May 2021, when the lump returned.

“Smithy was then 12 and we decided not to put him through surgery or chemotherapy, so our local vet started palliative care with steroids as we thought he wouldn’t survive much longer.

“Incredibly, Smithy kept going, although the long-term use of steroids had nasty side-effects on him and his quality of life was deteriorating.

“So, we took him back to Gerry at NDSR who was aware of new treatments and worked with us to come up with a plan to get Smithy off the steroids, which massively improved his quality of life.

“Gerry also prescribed a new-to-the-market drug that has no side-effects and, happily, Smithy’s cancer now seems to be back under control. He is still a bit wobbly from his arthritis but otherwise is enjoying life again and being back in the water, so we’re very grateful to Gerry and the team at NDSR.”

NDSR offers specialist-led services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery.

For more information, visit the website or search for North Downs Specialist Referrals on social media.

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