Repurposing older therapies

17 Oct 2020

Davies, M.

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News that there is a trial looking at the possible positive effect of the BCG vaccine on Covid-19 has prompted me to share my experience of using BCG in the management of a case of canine osteosarcoma.

In the late 1970s I examined a three-year-old Irish setter with sudden onset lameness in its hindleg. It had a firm, painful swelling of the proximal tibia. A radiograph showed radiographic changes consistent with osteosarcoma. There was no evidence of metastatic spread to the lungs. While the dog was still anaesthetised I took a bone biopsy and took it to the University of Liverpool veterinary school laboratory.

The dog was allowed to recover from the anaesthetic and hospitalised overnight. The next morning the diagnostic laboratory confirmed the biopsy was an osteosarcoma. After discussion with the owner I amputated the affected limb. At the same time as surgery I administered a BCG vaccine...