Where in health am I? : Home > Health Cloud > Stay Healthy > Pet Health > Cancer


The passion that moves us forward is from experiencing what cancer really does to the ones we love. We are driven because there is a hole in our soul where once was the love of our dog - Gary D. Nice

The last thing you want to hear from your vet is the words I think that your pet may have cancer.

"But just as in human medicine, there have been great advances in treating cancer in pets in the past 10 years. Although we may not be able to “cure” the cancer, it is possible that surgery, chemotherapy or radiation — or some combination of the three — can give your pet a great quality of life for many months or years to come. Most cancers can go into remission. Some forms of cancer are, indeed, curable." Source: Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, Cancer Is Not a Death Sentence for Your Pet, Pets Adviser, January 16, 2013.

And the good news for all pet owners is Personalized medicine in coming to the rescue.

"Researchers hoping to develop a promising new approach to treating cancer in people are trying it in another group: pet dogs. The aim of personalized medicine is to design an optimum cancer therapy after analyzing genes in a patient's tumor.

Dogs, which have strong genetic similarities with humans, get many of the same types of cancers as people and have similar responses to cancer-fighting drugs. When diagnosed, dogs often have a shorter survival time than humans, allowing researchers to see if a drug is making a difference in a shorter period.

In people, it can take three to five years from the time they are diagnosed until the disease reaches an advanced stage. But in dogs, trials testing whether novel drug therapies extend survival can be finished in six to 18 months, says Melissa Paoloni, director of the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium at the National Cancer Institute.

Canine patients also are easier to enroll in clinical trials. When cancer researchers last year wanted to do a genetic study of cocker spaniels, a breed at relatively high risk of getting melanoma, and Great Pyrenees, who are at risk for osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, they contacted PetSmart Inc., the Phoenix-based national chain of pet stores.

Making use of its big database, PetSmart sent out 117,000 emails to cocker spaniel and Great Pyrenees owners who had entered contact information after bringing in their pets for grooming. The request: Has your dog been diagnosed with cancer and would you be willing to have your dog's genetic information analyzed?

Within a week, nearly 300 pet owners responded with an offer to send saliva samples to be analyzed. That kind of large and speedy response in a human study is very difficult to achieve, says Jeffrey Trent, who organized the pet study."

Source: Amy Dockser Marcus, Dogs Get Cancer Like People, and Hold Clues to Cures, The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2012.

So, if there is a clinical trial in your area, sign up. Someday it could save your pet's life.