Hawaii Canine Oral Melanoma Vaccine and Treatments

Advances in preventive health care, nutrition and vaccination practices have resulted in more dogs living longer. Unfortunately, older dogs are more likely to develop cancer.

Melanoma is a common type of cancer in dogs. It is in fact the most common malignant tumor of the dog’s mouth. It also can be seen in the nail bed and footpad. Canine melanoma may be seen in any breed and is a highly aggressive cancer that frequently spreads throughout the body.

yellow labrador

How The New Canine Melanoma Vaccine Works:

Conventional vaccines stimulate an immune response directed against foreign proteins. Tyrosinase, a protein present on canine melanoma cells, is not usually targeted by the dog’s immune system because it also is present on normal cells.

Canine Melanoma Vaccine is produced with a human gene for tyrosinase inserted into a small ring of DNA.Human tyrosinase is different enough from canine tyrosinase that an immune response is generated, yet is similar enough to canine tyrosinase that this immune response is directed against the protein on canine melanoma.

Historically, dogs with advanced melanoma (stage II through stage IV) have reported survival times of less than 5 months when treated with standard therapies (surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy).

When used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation therapy to treat the local tumor cells, this type of vaccine has been shown to extend the survival time for dogs with advanced stages of melanoma.

Vaccination involves an initial 4-dose series once every 2 weeks, using a needle-free transdermal device. After this initial series, dogs receive one booster vaccine every 6 months. Some dogs may have a temporary, low grade fever after vaccination.

Have questions about Canine Melanoma Vaccines? Don’t hesitate to give us a call or schedule a consultation about diagnostics, treatment options, and the canine melanoma vaccine. 808-735-4433, or use our contact form for non-urgent questions.


Some Good Reading on the topic of Dog Cancer is “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” by Demian Dressler. This scientifically researched guide is your complete reference for practical, evidence-based strategies that can optimize the life quality and longevity for your dog. No matter what diagnosis or stage of cancer your dog has, this book is packed with precious advice that can help now. Its available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Dr. Dressler also recommends a Dog Cancer Diet. Check out his blog for more information.