A pony struck down with cancer is on the mend after being treated with HUMAN drugs in what is believed to be a world-first.
Bob, aged 16, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) last summer after the farmer taking care of him noticed he was having trouble breathing.
Experts at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Centery diagnosed the blood cancer, which is common in humans but rare in horses.
This left the veterinary team with few treatment options – so they consulted Dr John Byrd, a hematologist who specializes in treating humans with Bob’s form of cancer.
He decided to try treating Bob’s cancer with a human drug called ‘ibrutinib’ in a treatment plan that was the first of its kind in equine care.
The drug can stop the growth of cancer cells by blocking a protein that is needed for cell growth.
Bob, who began his treatment this month, is now on the road to good health and his oncologists have high hopes of a full recovery.
Dr Byrd, who works at Ohio State University’s Cancer Center, said: “You know Ohio State is big, there’s a lot of collaboration and it makes things like this possible.
“You have all aspects of medicine. You have animal medicine, people medicine – that’s called comparative oncology.”
Bob’s owner hopes that the pony will soon be back on his family’s Pennsylvania farm where he has spent his whole life.
They said: “Anything that accelerates treatment of cancer is extremely important for both pets and people.
“We will often go to extraordinary lengths to help them have a prolonged life but also a better quality of life.”