Contact Us For Veterinairians

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. My veterinarian said there is a melanoma vaccine that might help improve my dog’s condition, but he/she doesn’t have access to the vaccine. How do I get this vaccine for my dog?
A. ONCEPT, the therapeutic melanoma vaccine to which your veterinarian was referring is available through specialists practicing veterinary oncology. To learn more about this treatment, please ask your veterinarian to refer you to a cancer specialist in your area who can provide you with additional information about this vaccine. Tools to locate a specialist also are available at www.acvim.org and www.vetcancersociety.org.

Q. The specialist suggested ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine, DNA for my dog. What will it do? How does it work?
A. ONCEPT alerts the immune system to the presence of melanoma proteins, which results in the immune system fighting the cancer cells. In conjunction with surgery and/or radiation to treat the initial tumor, this immune response may help extend the survival time for most dogs.1,2

Q. Since ONCEPT is a vaccine, does that mean my dog can get it as a preventive? Should my dog receive ONCEPT every year with other vaccinations?
A. Currently, ONCEPT has only been tested as a therapeutic vaccine, for use with dogs that have oral melanoma. Most experts believe that the incidence of canine melanoma is too low to justify preventive melanoma vaccines for all dogs.

Q. What does it mean that ONCEPT is fully licensed?
A. This vaccine has met strict safety, efficacy, purity and potency requirements in order to receive full USDA licensure.

Q. How and where is ONCEPT administered? Why are four doses of the vaccine necessary?
A. ONCEPT is administered into the inner thigh muscle of the dog with a needle-free Canine Transdermal Device. Initial treatment requires administration of four doses of vaccine, one every two weeks. After this initial series, dogs receive one booster every six months. Each time dogs receive a dose, their immune response becomes stronger in the fight against melanoma.

Q. Is the injection of ONCEPT with the device painful for my dog?
A. Based on observations made during administrations, dogs do not react to the vaccine in a way that would suggest the vaccine is any more painful than a traditional injection.

Q. What are the risks and the side effects associated with my dog receiving ONCEPT?
A. A temporary, low-grade fever may be observed in some dogs.

Q. Will ONCEPT extend my dog’s life? By how long?
A. Dogs with advanced melanoma (stages II, III and IV) have reported survival times of less than five months when treated with standard therapies. While the effect of therapeutic vaccines varies from one animal to another, dogs that have participated in experimental or feasibility studies have recorded increased survival times.1,2

Q. What is the cost of ONCEPT?
A. Cost of the vaccine is determined by each cancer specialist who is qualified to prescribe this treatment. Consult with a cancer specialist who is recommended by your veterinarian to discuss this treatment and its cost.

Q. Where can I get more information about ONCEPT?
A. Please talk with your veterinarian about this treatment. He or she may be able to refer you to a cancer specialist in your area who is experienced with this treatment option.