Matamata Veterinary Services | Latest News

Latest News

Multiple Myeloma

May 7, 2012

Often when working in a vet clinic you will notice that you have a run where you see several cases of the same disease.
Sometimes this is expected, catbite abscesses are a dime a dozen during the breeding season, but there are times when the conincidence of having more than one patient with a specific disease seems out of the ordinary.
Currently we have two patients with multiple myeloma which is rare enough in dogs to make having two at the same time worthy of mention.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of a specific type of cell originating in the bone marrow. In dogs it is a very rare type of cancer, causing less than 1% of all malignant tumours in dogs.
Not only is it quite a rare type of cancer, it can also present with different clinical signs depending on which part of the body is affected. Some dogs will present with lethargy and weakness whereas others will show bleeding or neurologic disfunction and these are only a few examples. This was certainly true of the two cases that we’re dealing with. The first dog presented with mild depression and was generally not himself. The second dog presented due to seizures. The fact that dogs can present in so many different ways can make it a very difficult diagnosis to make. In some cases it can take months to a year to rule out other disease and come to a definite diagnosis because there is no typical way that multiple myeloma presents.
There are a number of tests that we can do to help our diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
• Blood test
• Xrays
• Urinalysis
• Bone marrow assessment.
With each of these tests we are looking for very specific changes that are common to multiple myeloma. If we find these specific changes in two of the tests then we can make a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
The positive thing about multiple myeloma is that generally it has a very long disease progression and it responds well to treatment with a very good survival time.