Drug increases survival in dogs with cancer

University of Minnesota has announced the breakthrough trial of a new drug that improves survival rates in dogs diagnosed with a cancer called hemangiosarcoma (HSA). The research and results were published recently published in the journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

“This is likely the most significant advance in the treatment of canine HSA in the last three decades,” said study co-author Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D. professor in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S. and Copper

Lead study author, Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S. and Copper


Canine HSA is a common, aggressive, incurable sarcoma, and is remarkably similar to angiosarcoma, which affects humans. Both cancers typically spread before diagnosis and the survival time for affected patients is extremely short, even with aggressive treatment. Only 50 percent of humans diagnosed with angiosarcoma live longer than 16 months; the prognosis for dogs with HSA is similarly dire. Less than 50 percent of dogs will survive 4 to 6 months and only about 10 percent will be alive one year after their diagnosis.

The study tested a drug called eBAT, invented by study senior author Daniel Vallera, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Masonic Cancer Center.

“eBAT was created to specifically target tumors while causing minimal damage to the immune system. HSA is a vascular cancer, meaning it forms from blood vessels. eBAT was selected for this trial because it can simultaneously target the tumor and its vascular system,” Vallera said.

Traditional cancer treatments have side effects that can be very hard on patients. “In this trial we aimed for a sweet spot by identifying a dose of eBAT that was effective to treat the cancer, but caused no appreciable harm to the patient. Essentially we’re treating the cancer in a safer and more effective way, improving quality of life and providing a better chance at survival,” lead study author Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S., associate professor with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine said.

eBAT was tested on 23 dogs of various breeds, both large and small, with HSA of the spleen. Dogs received three treatments of eBAT after surgery to remove the tumor and before conventional chemotherapy. The drug treatment improved the 6-month survival rate to approximately 70 percent Furthermore, five of the 23 dogs that received eBAT treatment lived more than 450 days.

Not only is that good news for dogs, it’s good news for people too. The similarities between this cancer and angiosarcoma in humans, and the fact that many other tumor types can be targeted by eBAT, make a strong case for translating this drug into clinical trials for human cancer patients. The researchers want these results to bring hope to those touched by this disease.

“This drug was invented here at the University of Minnesota, developed here, manufactured here, tested here and showed positive results here. We would also like this drug to achieve positive outcomes for humans here,” Modiano said.

“The ultimate goal for all of us is to create a world in which we no longer fear cancer,” he added.

H/T: Veterinary Practice News


May & November are Pet Cancer Awareness months

It was 2-1/2 years ago that I lost my beloved Divinity to cancer.

Divinity’s friend’s at the Grey Muzzle Organization have published a post filled with links on cancer awareness. Their Cancer Wellness section offers tips and resources for caregivers and their senior dogs with cancer.

“According to Morris Animal Foundation, over half of our dogs will be affected by cancer. It is the most common cause of death in dogs over 2 and age adds to the risk.” “Our Cancer Wellness section offers tips and resources for caregivers and their senior dogs with cancer.”

Topics in this post include:

* An On-Call Holistic Vet

* A New Kind of Lifting Harness

* A Hospice Workshop with Heart

* 8 Creative Ways to Budget Your Dog’s Cancer Treatment

* A Integrative Vet Talks Canine Cancer

* Free Lymphoma Webinar

* Cancer FAQ: Find Answers Fast

* Learn from the Vets: Cancer Basics for Caregivers

* After a Cancer Diagnosis: 5 Go-to Resources


Know the ten common signs of cancer in small animals

According the AVMA, common cancer symptoms are as follows:

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
    Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
    Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating


Here are a few links to informative articles on Pet Cancer

* 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs by Dr. Phil Zeltzman, DVM , DACVS, CVJ

* North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine – May is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

* After a Canine Cancer Diagnosis: Five Go-to Resources by RD Moreno

* PRNewswire: Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Foundation Surpass $11 Million in Total Contributions for Pet Cancer Research and Treatment


May (and November) are Pet Cancer Awareness months

It is unclear why Pet Cancer Awareness chooses May to hold Pet Cancer Awareness Month when the American Veterinary Medical Association lists National Pet Cancer Awareness Month as November. However, whether Pet Cancer Awareness wants their message to reach further than the national scale or whether they just wanted a day on their own, ONE of the months to raise awareness of cancer in pets is just around the corner and it may affect your exotic pet someday.

Personally, having lost Divinity to cancer on September 10, 2014, the more awareness the better!

Ten Signs of Cancer in Dogs

Divinity lost her battle with cancer on September 10, 2014. Since that fateful day, I’ve tried to post helpful information on this dreadful disease. Today’s post lists ten symptoms to watch for, that might indicate the presence of cancer in your dog.

“Catching cancer in its early stages can be the difference between life and death. As a dog owner, you need to be aware of the signs to watch for, especially if you have an aging dog or cancer-prone breed. Dr. Carrie Hume, VMD, DACVIM, veterinary oncologist at WESTVET, gave us the 10-signs to watch for in your best friend.”

Note: This is a partial repost from iHeart Dogs

#1 – Quick growing lumps

Lumps are easier to notice on short-hair breeds, especially if they are growing fast. That is why routine grooming of your long-haired breed is so important, so you can feel your dog and notice any lumps that appear and how quickly they are growing. If you take your dog to the groomer’s, you should still be feeling their body regularly, as your groomer may miss it, forget to tell you or assume you already know.

#2 – Unexplained weight loss

Cancer can eat away at your dog quickly. If your once sleek and well-muscled buddy is suddenly skinny and not gaining weight, no matter how much you feed them, you need to take them to the vet. It may not be cancer, but something is definitely going on that needs attention.

#3 – Sudden weakness

Some cancers affect the muscles and nervous systems, causing your dog to not be able to stand or walk well. If your dog is having trouble doing simple activities, like getting up in the morning or walking around the house, it’s time to go to the vet.

#4 – Coughing

This, of course, is a common symptom. Your dog could just have kennel cough, for example. Regardless, if your dog is coughing he needs to go to the vet.

#5 – Difficulty breathing

Age can effect breathing, as can past health issues such as phenomena. However, even if your dog has a history of lung issues and/or is a brachycephalic breed, you should still take notice if their breath is labored. Especially if they are not doing anything more than walking around or lying on the couch.

#6 – Persistent lameness

Lumps in legs as well as cancer in the bones or joints can cause your dog to be consistently lame. If your dog is having trouble walking, time to go to the vet.

#7 – Vomiting

Another symptom that can be caused by many things, a vomiting dog should always be taken to the vet, just to be sure. Even if it’s not cancer, it could be an obstruction, poisoning, or a number of other illnesses.

#8 – Diarrhea

Like vomiting, you should take your dog the vet if he is having persistent diarrhea, especially if it’s paired with any of the other symptoms. Might not be cancer, but it should be taken care of for your dog’s sake.

#9 – Decrease in appetite

Most animals with cancer have a decreased appetite. They don’t feel well, so they don’t feel like eating (just like humans). If your food hound is no longer interested in her favorite treats or is consistently leaving food in the bowl, time to see a vet.

#10 – Fever

Of course, many illnesses can cause a fever. Fevers in dogs are dangerous and you should always take your dog to the vet if you think they have one.

Note: To read the rest of Dr. Hume’s informative post, click the following link: 10 Signs Of Cancer In Dogs

Understanding Cancer in Dogs

Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis to hear from your veterinarian. Dogs, like humans, can succumb to many types of cancer, and it is the very last thing you want to hear when you take your beloved canine companion in for a check-up. It helps to be prepared with some basic knowledge about cancer in dogs.

As followers of Divinity’s blog know, Divinity died from cancer on September 10, 2014. Since my little lady’s death, I’ve tried to publish information on this terrible disease.

Divinity at the Vets

Divinity at the Vets


This article is a partial repost from Pet Wellbeing, and was Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford. I learned about this post from a Tweet by Chase Away K9 Cancer.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is the unchecked growth of abnormal cells in a certain tissue of the body. This abnormal cell growth can result in a disturbance of the tissue’s ability to perform its normal functions. Some cancers are locally aggressive while others have a tendency to spread throughout the body, affecting more systems as they go.

Causes of Canine Cancer

While all causes of cancer in dogs are not known, it is widely accepted that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to its development.

Topics in this article include:

* Most Common Types of Cancer in Dogs

* Breeds, Sex, and Ages of Dogs Most Commonly Affected by Cancer

* Signs of Cancer in Dogs

* Diagnosis of Canine Cancer

* Treatment Options for Cancer in Dogs

* What Questions Should I Ask My Veterinarian If My Dog Is Diagnosed with Cancer?

To read this informative article on canine cancer, click the following link:
Understanding Cancer in Dogs

Pet Cancer Awareness Month Podcasts, Webinars, and Links

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (CHF) published a wonderful post about canine cancer that includes podcasts, webinars, and informational links.

All dogs, whether mixed breed or purebred, are at risk for developing cancer. According to research published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2011, approximately 30% of older dogs succumb to cancer. Pet Cancer Awareness Month, observed each May, provides dog owners with information on treatment options, cutting-edge research, and ways to support canine cancer research.

Free Canine Cancer Webinar!

On Wednesday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m. EDT, CHF and VetVine will host a free webinar on canine cancer featuring Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, associate professor of oncology at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. Registration is now open! Don’t miss this great opportunity to hear from a top researcher in the field of canine cancer. Can’t make it on the 27th? We’ll be posting a link to the webinar here on our website.

Types of Canine Cancer

Pet Cancer Awareness Month Podcasts and Webinars

Ongoing Oncology Research Updates

Enhancing Natural Anti-Tumor Immune Responses During Chemotherapy

Ensuring That Stem Cell Treatments Do Not Activate or Exacerbate Cancer in Dogs

Defining the Anti-Tumor Activity of Monocytes in Osteosarcoma

Harnessing a Dog’s Own Immune System to Kill Lymphoma Tumor Cells

Further Investigation of the Genes Controlling Canine Leukemia to Diagnose and Control the Disease

Please visit the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation website to read the rest of their informative information.