Surgery is the most appropriate treatment for local melanomas. If the melanoma is on the nail bed, it may be necessary to amputate the entire toe due to bone damage.
Footpad melanoma can lead to full limb amputation, as full weight may be resting on the affected footpad and removal of the footpad will result in a loss of use of that leg.
The functional outcome of single digit amputation is excellent and partial foot amputations (requiring excision of more than one digit) are also tolerated very well and result in a good functional outcome.
For tumours that are not amenable to wide resection or for which resection results in incomplete histologic margins, the combination of surgery with radiotherapy or other adjuvant therapies should be considered.
Radiotherapy is an efficient alternative for tumours that cannot be (completely) surgically removed. Melanomas generally respond well to radiotherapy administered in high doses (1x / week, four times).
A possible side effect of this treatment is loss of nails or sloughing of the sole of the foot. The nails and soles of the feet will regrow and will not cause long-term problems.
Chemotherapy does not seem to have a role in the management of dogs with malignant melanoma. Carboplatin chemotherapy may be useful to delay or prevent the spread of metastases, although the majority of responses are short lived. So far, there are no published studies yet that show that chemotherapy leads to an extended survival time.
The standard chemotherapy protocol is a combination of carboplatin with surgery and / or radiotherapy. Carboplatin is administered intravenously every 3 weeks for a total of 4 treatments. The side effects are minimal.