Veterinary First: Pig Treated for Lymphoma

730-pound Nemo's procedure a success

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 25, 2013 2:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Experts are seeing a bright future for cancer treatment in big animals after a 730-pound pig was successfully treated for lymphoma, Reuters reports. When 4-year-old Nemo, a pet, was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, researchers at Cornell gave his owner a warning: They knew of no pig that had undergone cancer treatment. But owner George Goldner told them to use what they knew about dogs and humans to take care of his pet.

Cost was no issue, Goldner said, though it costs up to $5,000 to treat a golden retriever—and they're about a seventh of Nemo's size. One challenge for doctors administering chemotherapy was reaching Nemo's veins, due to pigs' thick necks. To do so, they inserted a metal port behind his ear; a catheter reached his jugular vein. Now, he's apparently in remission. "Before when large animals were diagnosed with cancer, it was pretty much impossible to treat them," says a doctor involved. "Now we have a model to base it on." Meanwhile, Nemo has become a "big star" at the animal hospital.

A pig has become the first of his kind to get lymphoma treatment.
A pig has become the first of his kind to get lymphoma treatment.   (Shutterstock)
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