ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Abby is an 11-year-old golden retriever and is as active as she can be for her age, but this wasn't the case just a few months ago.
"I brought her out to the emergency clinic one night because she couldn't eat and couldn't get up," said Kendall Bryan, Abby's owner.
Bryan found out Abby had lymphoma, a common cancer in animals. But instead of choosing a harsher treatment like radiation to treat the cancer, he chose another option new to the Jacksonville area--a cancer vaccine.
Most vaccines are preventatives, but according to veterinarian Dr. Tracy LaDue, this vaccine is actually cancer therapy.
"It attacks the cancer that has already formed," said LaDue. "It actually primes the immune system to recognize the cancer cells as bad guys and locate them and attack and kill them."
LaDue says the vaccine has been used not only in dogs, but in cats and horses too. She says this is a promising vaccine she could eventually see being used throughout Jacksonville.
"Having another treatment option gives us hope," said LaDue.
Hope that Bryan still has for Abby thanks to this vaccine.
"She's chasing the tennis ball and eating almost like she's back to her old self," said Bryan.
"For many people these are their babies, they may have four legs but they are still their babies, said LaDue.
So far, the vaccine has had no side effects.
LaDue says for those who may not be able to afford the vaccine, Southeast Veterinary Oncology and Internal Medicine is having a free trial right now for dogs who have lymphoma. She said all vaccines and testing will be free except the initial biopsy.
For more information head over to www.petcancercare.com