National Canine Cancer Foundation to fund a new innovative Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) Research Project

June 19th, 2014

I have some new exciting news. As you all know we are always trying to find an new edge in the battle against canine cancer. And Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is one of those cancers we would like to get a better handle on since it seems to end up being diagnosed too late to save the dog. In fact, we are so keen on finding out how to deal with HSA that we have actually initiated our own research project on HSA with G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. This is very exciting for the NCCF because this type of research on HSA has never been tried. Let me tell you how it all came about by first talking about a dog name Batman.

Batman was the first dog to undergo a breakthrough experimental treatment for brain cancer, led by doctors, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, D.V.M., Ph.D., and John Ohlfest, Ph.D. They developed a combination treatment plan for dogs with glioma, a very aggressive and relatively common form of brain cancer. First they removed the tumor surgically. Then, in some cases, they use local gene therapy to attract immune cells to destroy remaining tumor cells, and finally they created a personalized anti-cancer vaccine made from the dog’s own cancer cells to prevent tumor recurrence.

I personally love the thought of taking a cancer that was killing a dog and turning it into a personalized vaccine to kill the cancer!

Dr. Pluhar, a surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center, and Dr. Ohlfest, head of the neurosurgery gene therapy program at the Masonic Cancer Center, gave Batman his initial treatment in August 2008. Batman led a normal life unaffected by his tumor until his death from cardiac failure in February 2010, there was no tumor recurrence. According to the Dean of the College, Trevor Ames, DVM, MS, “the far-reaching implications of this promising new treatment are almost difficult to fathom; not only could these treatments lead to a cure for brain and other systemic cancers in dogs, but because dogs and humans share many physiological traits, dogs could also be the missing link in the cure for brain cancer in humans.”

Then something interesting happened. Almost one year ago, Davis Hawn’s then 8-year-old yellow lab, Booster, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his nasal sinus. Booster was given three weeks to live. Hawn did not want to accept the death sentence and began searching the country for a cure. His search led him to doctors in Florida who removed Booster’s tumor and gave him chemo. An online search then led him to Dr. Elizabeth Pluhar from the University of Minnesota’s canine brain tumor clinical program. Davis asked her to help his dog, but Dr. Pluhar had never made a vaccine for this type of cancer before. But Davis was not going to take no for an answer so she did agree to try. She shipped the vaccine off and ten months later Booster is cancer free.

Then after Davis contacted the NCCF to tell us about how well the vaccine works, we contacted Dr. Pluhar to ask if she would be willing to try the same research that was successful with brain cancer and skin cancer, and use the same protocol to try dealing with splenic HSA. The NCCF’s thinking is that with all these other cancers, the similarities were that the cancer had to be removed and a vaccine needed to be created from the cancer cells. With splenic HSA, one of the more common forms of HSA, the spleen is typically removed so we felt that Dr. Pluhar’s research could possibly work. With that in mind, we asked her if she could try and apply her protocol on splenic HSA. After doing some initial research she agreed to do the study based on reaching certain goals before going on to the next level.

First, she needs to insure that we can culture the cancer cells in the lab,

Second, she needs to insure that the tumor vaccines stimulate immune cells to attack tumor cells. If she can achieve these two steps she can go on to treat the HSA cancer. We could not be happier and are guardedly optimistic over this research project.

The cost for this project will be $55,500. I hope you are all as excited as we are about this research and will help fund the project. If you want to help with funding this new innovative NCCF’s initiated project please CLICK HERE or got to this link

Thank you

Gary D. Nice
President and Founder
National Canine Cancer Foundation

What You Need To Know About Cancer In Dogs

July 22nd, 2014

Warning Signs And Natural Remedies

Who would have thought that cancer would become the leading cause of death in dogs over 10-years old. Cancer simply means that certain cells are reproducing faster than normal. Older cells in the cancerous area are not dying off like they should which is why they can grow so fast. The good news is if it is caught early enough, some can be cured. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help catch it early so a proper treatment can be administered, before it is too late.

Most Common Types Of Cancer In Dogs

The most common kind of cancer include:

  • Malignant lymphoma – tumor of the lymph nodes
  • Skin cancer – mast cell tumors
  • Mammary gland tumors – breast cancer
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Soft tissue sarcomas
  • Bone cancer

Learn The Warning Signs

The warning signs in dogs are quite similar to those in people. You might notice a bump on the skin or a lump. Perhaps a wound is not healing properly or there might be a swelling of some sort such as in the lymph nodes, under the arm or abnormal bleeding. Many times, there are no signs but there might be something about your dog that isn’t quite right. They might become lethargic or just don’t feel well. That is the best time to bring it to the attention of your veterinarian. Watch for any of the following warning signs:

  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • Change in your pet’s elimination habits
  • Difficulty defecating or urinating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargic
  • Any unexplained discharge or bleeding
  • Offensive odor
  • Persistent stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Persistent cough

Cancer rates in dogs and pets in general have increased simply because they are living longer with great care and attention by their owner(s). Years ago, dogs often died from a common illness or hit by a car but today the vaccines are quite effective plus more are living indoors. They are simply living longer. A cancer diagnosis is no longer an automatic death sentence.

Natural Remedies For Cancer In Dogs

If the cancer is found early, it can usually be treated with surgery to remove it and your pet can live a long, healthy life with a little extra attention. If you are an advocate of natural treatments, then most of you will want to avoid steroids, radiation and chemotherapy. These treatments rarely prolong survival, dish up plenty of side effects and can cost thousands of dollars. A calm state of mind and spending time with your pet in nature, can also greatly help the healing process.

If your dog is older and the tumor is growing slowly, it may not require immediate treatment, as long as it is not causing any pain or discomfort. Many times your dog might pass from other age-related issues before cancer becomes a problem for them. Regular exercise can be done on a daily basis that is good for both of you.

The folks at have developed a special diet that contains ingredients that have been proven to slow down the growth rate of cancerous tumors. They point out that it is not the cancer itself that hurts your pet; rather it is the fast rate of growth of the tumor or the side effects of cancer treatments that can kill your dog.

The Cancer-Prevention Diet

The cancer-prevention diet revolves around a high-protein, grain-free meal that is most similar to their wild counterparts. Companies such as Sojos offer grain-free based, dehydrated foods that are convenient and easy to serve up to your dog. For a 60-pound dog, mix together the following:

  • 2 cups of dry Sojos Grain-Free Complete (Beef or Turkey – or you can mix them)
  • 3 cups of water to soak the dry food
  • ¼ pound of ground turkey breast – raw
  • ¼ cup of plain, organic yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons of Health From The Sun – Pure Fish Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of organic green tea
  • 1 Brazil nut – finely chopped

Supplements For Your Dog

  • Yunnan Baiyao
  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan
  • Enzymatic Therapy
  • Milk Thistle
  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin

Dog Breeds Prone To Cancer

Some breeds are more prone to cancer than others. Anytime there is an inbred population, you have no idea what traits have been passed along. For example, Bernese Mountain dogs, Boxers and Golden Retrievers are more prone to cancer. Thought genetics plays a role, we cannot ignore toxins, chemicals and pollutants in the environment.

Cancer Prevention Tactics

  • Like people, it is important to give them a line of defense with a good quality supplement that contains vital antioxidants that can help prevent free radicals (toxins, chemicals and pollutants) from attacking healthy cells in the body.
  • Your veterinarian should examine any lump, mass or tumor for a proper diagnosis and treatment, especially if you notice any changes in the growth or mass.
  • Breast cancer in dogs is highly preventable through spaying the animal. Spaying your animal before their first heat cycle can help prevent them from developing breast cancer later in life.

Article reposted from:
Written by: Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM

This Poor Dog Traveled 4 Miles To Get THIS Bag

July 21st, 2014

This Poor Dog Traveled 4 Miles To Get THIS Bag. What’s Inside Brought Tears To My Eyes.

You’ve probably heard plenty of stories about how loving dogs can be but you’ve probably never heard anything like this before. What Lilica does is incredibly special and brought tears to my eyes. Lilica was abandoned as a young puppy in São Carlos but found by Neile Vania Antonio. Together, they live in a junkyard with the rest of their diverse family that includes another dog, a cat, a mule, and several chickens.

Lilica lives in a junkyard with another dog, a cat, a mule, and chickens.

Every night, Lilica does something that will leave you speechless. Every night, Lilica travels two miles along a busy highway to visit Lucia Helena de Souza, who takes care of numerous stray animals. You see, Lucia and Lilica have a special arrangement: Lucia prepares food in a bag for Lilica and meets her at 9:30 pm. Lilica will eat some of the food before making the two-mile journey back with the rest of the meal back to her junkyard home to feed the rest of her family.

Every night, she travels several miles along a busy highway to get food for her family.

Lucia explained, “I realized that she ate and then stared at what was in the bag.” A neighbor then suggested that perhaps Lilica kept staring at the food because she wanted to take the rest of  it with her. “Then we tied up the bag and gave it to Lilica. From then on, that’s what how we did it.” This arrangement has been going on for over three years! Lucia believes that Lilica is a very special dog. “People don’t do that. Some people hide what they have and don’t want to share with others. She didn’t. Lilica is an exceptional animal.”

The video below is in Portuguese but it is subtitled in English.

What a heart-melting story about a selfless dog that is truly devoted to her family. Lilica, we can learn a lot from you. You are truly incredible!

Story reposted from:

Brain Tumor in Dogs, Diagnosis, Symptoms and Treatment

July 21st, 2014

Overview of Dog Brain Cancer:

Brain tumor are common and often seen in middle age and older dogs however they can also affect the younger one too. If canine has a seizure then it could be the signs that a brain tumor is present.

The most common types that often found in dogs are astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas and meningiomas. Tumor tend to be wide spread on multiple sites on the brain rather than one spotted position.

Some of the tumor arise directly from the brain tissue while other types spread to the brain by bloodstream since the brain control extensive blood supply.

The severity depend mainly on the brain location where the tumor arise and how fast they grow. Canine seizures can also be caused by other problems such as low blood sugar level or heart problems.

Causes of Brain Tumor in Dogs:

As with other forms of cancer, the exact cause of brain tumors in dogs is not known. In humans, brain tumors are thought to be caused by such things as genetics, exposure to radiation, nitrosamines from processed meats, electromagnetic fields, immunological issues, traumatic head injuries, solvents, and pesticides. It is not known if these same factors can cause brain tumors in dogs or not.

Brain tumors do appear to be more common in dogs than in many other kinds of domestic animals. Dogs that are over five years of age seem to be most at risk. Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to brain tumors than others, such as Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and Boxers. These are short-nosed or brachycephalic breeds and they seem predisposed to having tumors affecting the pituitary gland. Golden Retrievers, Collies, and other dolichocephalic (long-nosed) breeds may also be predisposed to having brain tumors, particularly meningiomas. Most mengiomas occur in dogs that are over seven years of age.

Symptoms of Dog Brain Cancer:

The most common symptom of a brain tumor is the onset of seizures, especially if the seizures start after the dog is five years old or older. Other symptoms include the dog exhibiting abnormal behavior and forgetting things; extreme sensitivity to touch or pain around the neck; problems with the dog’s vision, especially if the dog begins walking in circles or showing uncoordinated movements. Some dogs have a staggering walk that is a tell-tale sign. Some dogs may develop aggression or behave like puppies. In some cases dogs may develop obsessions.

More Symptoms:

  • behavior change
  • lethargy
  • irritability
  • compulsive walking
  • walk in circle
  • loss of habits that have been trained before
  • facial paralysis often cause by tumor in the lower part of the brain (brainstem)
  • lower intelligence
  • partial or fully blindness indicated that there is a tumor in optic nerve or hypothalamus
  • low energy level
  • decreased activities
  • seizures often cause by tumor in the cerebral cortex
  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • wobbliness and tremors indicated that there is a tumor in the cerebellum region of the brain that play an important role in the integration of sensory perception
  • loss the sense of smell often cause by tumor in the sensory system used for olfaction (olfactory system)

Because of slow growing rate of tumor inside the brain dogs can carry brain tumors for a few years before they start to show signs and symptoms, so its wise that the owner gets his/her dog checked by a veterinarian if he/she noticed any kind of above symptoms.

Treatment of Dog Brain Cancer:

There are three primary care methods for dogs and cats that have been diagnosed with brain tumors: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. The major objectives with these therapies are to eradicate the tumor or reduce its size, and to control secondary effects, such as fluid build-up in the brain (known as cerebral edema) that may result from a brain tumor. Surgery may be used to completely or partially remove tumors, while radiation therapy and chemotherapy may help shrink tumors. Various medications can be prescribed to slow tumor growth and to cope with side-effects, such as seizures. A course of radiation therapy will usually cost from $3,000 to $4,000, according to the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Chemotherapy is not used very often to treat canine brain cancer, so the data on this treatment is limited.

Breeds that are prone to brain tumor:

  • boxers
  • boston terriers
  • golden retrievers
  • doberman pinschers
  • scottish terriers
  • old english sheepdogs

Living and Management:

It will be necessary for your veterinarian to monitor your dog regularly with different scans such as CT scans (computed tomography, CAT scans (computerized axial tomography, and MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging). This will help your vetexamine your dog’s nervous system and look for any complications from the treatments.

The prognosis for dogs with a brain tumor will depend on what kind of tumor the dog has, where it is located, the size of the tumor, and how early it was caught.

Article reposted from:

Researchers suggest vitamin D sufficiency range and its relation to risk of cancer in dogs

July 18th, 2014

A new study published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology examined the vitamin D status of dogs to determine a range of sufficiency. The study also showed that low vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Since research has shown that the effects of vitamin D extend beyond bone health, vitamin D sufficiency has been extensively evaluated in humans. However, little research has been conducted in dogs.

Researchers recently created the first study to examine the range of vitamin D sufficiency in dogs. The researchers were also interested in how low vitamin D levels related to the risk of cancer.

In the study, the researchers defined sufficiency as the point at which vitamin D status was met by a near maximum suppression of the parathyroid hormone (PTH).

Normally, when vitamin D levels are low the body produces PTH to pull calcium from the bones to meet the body’s needs, since a lack of vitamin D reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the diet.

When vitamin D levels are sufficient for bone health, the production of the PTH is maximally suppressed indicating that vitamin D is effectively absorbing calcium from the diet to meet the body’s needs.

The researchers analyzed at what vitamin D range the PTH was maximally suppressed in 282 dogs and found it to be in the range of 100-120 ng/ml.

The researchers then analyzed the relationship between the dogs’ vitamin D levels and the prevalence of cancer and found that dogs with a vitamin D level below 40 ng/ml were 3.9 times more likely to have cancer.

This correlates with research in humans indicating an increased risk for many cancers in individuals with vitamin D levels below 40 ng/ml.

“Serum vitamin D measurement can identify dogs for which supplementation may improve health and response to cancer therapy,” the researchers concluded.

Article reposted from:

Selting K., et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitaminD concentrations in dogs – correlation with health and cancer risk. Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, 2014.

Seizure-detecting dog helps Powell woman

July 18th, 2014

The reality of epilepsy forced Susan Rand to live a secluded life. For years, she rarely went to a public place alone.

“I would never go to the grocery store by myself. I would never wander away from my husband or daughter or son when we’d go somewhere,” Rand said. “Because if something happened, people want to help, but there’s really nothing they can do.”

Rand knows she just has to let a seizure run its course. But in a public place, people around her would panic or call an ambulance if she had a seizure, not knowing she has epilepsy and seizures are a part of her life.

Rand spent long days at home, unable to do what she once loved.

“Before, I was so independent. I could take the world on,” she said. “Once this hit, it was like, nope. I can’t do it. I’m going to hide away.”

Then a dog named Jasmine came along.

Through Canine Assistants, Jasmine is trained for seizure response, guiding, hearing, service and emotional support.

She doesn’t let Rand hide away.

“You have to take her out, you have to take her for a walk,” Rand said. “She makes you go back out into the world, into the public.”

Jasmine is “kind of like a spokesperson,” Rand said. She wears a vest identifying her as a service dog so that if Rand begins to have a seizure in public, people know it’s because of epilepsy. Jasmine stays by her side through it all, and can even let Rand know when a seizure is coming.

Dogs cannot be trained to alert for seizures, but Jasmine quickly picked up on it, Rand said.

“When we got her, there was no guarantee that she would alert,” she said. “We had hoped, but there was no guarantee.”

Shortly after Rand got Jasmine in the spring of 2013, she alerted her to a seizure while Rand was at the Powell hospital. As they sat in a waiting room, Jasmine became very antsy.

“She just would not settle. I couldn’t get her to lay down or sit down,” Rand recalled. “She kept trying to climb on my lap.”

Finally, after failed attempts to get Jasmine to calm down, Rand decided to just lie down on a nearby bench.

“Jasmine jumped on top of the bench, climbed on top of me, and within five minutes, I had a seizure,” Rand said.

If a seizure happens at night, Jasmine will climb up on the bed between Rand and her husband, Chuck. Jasmine stays close to Rand until she wakes up from the seizure.

The dog has become Rand’s constant shadow.

“She’ll follow me,” Rand said.

Jasmine even sleeps on the bathroom floor when Rand showers.

Jasmine has been alerting Rand to seizures more than half the time.

“But even over half is great because before I never had any notice a seizure was coming … she is our only warning — our ‘Here it comes,’” Rand said.

She usually gives Rand about an alert about 10 minutes before a seizure comes, letting her lie down and get somewhere safe.

“She’s just amazing,” Rand said. “Absolutely amazing.”

Rand had epilepsy when she was younger, and then it went away for a while. About 10 years ago, it came back.

“It came back full force,” she said.

Medication helped for a while, but then stopped working.

She underwent surgery to put in a nerve simulator.

“We were hoping that would help, but it didn’t stop them,” she said.

More than five years ago, someone told her about service dogs, and Rand started looking into Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization based in Georgia.

“Something about them just felt right,” Rand said.

Since its inception in 1991, Canine Assistants has placed more than 1,500 service dogs across America. The dogs are primarily trained to provide assistance for people who have mobility difficulties, seizures and diabetes.

Rand applied for a service dog, did an interview and was placed on a waiting list, knowing it could be years before she was paired with a dog.

Then she waited. And waited.

“After that many years, you kind of start thinking it’s not going to happen. You stop anticipating you’ll ever get that call,” Rand said. “When the call came through that we were picked from the waiting list, I couldn’t stop crying. I cried hysterically for the longest time.”

In February 2013 — after five years of waiting — Rand and her husband traveled to Georgia. She went through a “pretty intense” program with Canine Assistants, covering everything she would need to know before bringing a dog home.

Jasmine, who is three-quarters golden retriever and one-quarter lab, started training as a service dog when she was just a puppy. When she was nearly 2, she was ready for a home.

People don’t get to choose their dogs.

“The dog picks you,” Rand said.

Rand was taken into a room where trainers would bring in a few different dogs, one at a time. Trainers watched dogs interact with Rand.

“They would sense which dog was going to be the best one for you,” Rand said.

Jasmine chose Rand right away.

“The first time I met her, she was just crazy. She was all over me,” Rand said.

Since then, Jasmine has rarely left her side.

Training through Canine Assistants costs roughly $22,000 per dog.

“There’s no way we could have afforded it,” Rand said.

Members of the Eastern Star in Powell and across Wyoming raised thousands of dollars toward Jasmine’s training and placement with Rand.

“I am so grateful to the Eastern Star for raising the money,” she said.

Rand is also grateful for donations from Jerry and Deb Bank, who own McDonald’s in Cody and Powell.

Canine Assistants creates sponsorships to cover the medical, food and training costs for the life of every dog placed.

Jasmine is trained to assist Rand in a variety of ways.

“She can open the refrigerator door, she can open up the French doors to come in the house, she’ll go get your shoes and socks, turn on and off the light switch, get a bottle of water, get a cellphone, get a bottle of pills,” Rand said. “She won’t chew on it. She’ll put it in her mouth and bring it to me.”

As part of her training, Jasmine is used to being in a variety of public places — stores, restaurants, even aquariums and airplanes.

“It’s amazing the things they teach them,” Rand said.

At McDonald’s in Powell during the interview with the Tribune, Jasmine seemed completely uninterested in people or food around her.

“They taught her to go underneath the table,” Rand explained. “When we go out for dinner, she’ll find her spot and stay there until we’re done eating. She won’t get up.

“She likes to take naps, so that’s a good thing.”

When Jasmine is wearing her vest, she is at work and acts differently.

It’s important for people in the community to refrain from petting her and giving her attention.

“If she gets too much petting, then she doesn’t listen to me. It’s like, ‘Oh, they want to play with me,’” Rand said.

Many people are understanding and respectful, she said.

At home, Jasmine doesn’t have to wear her vest.

“When we’re at home and she doesn’t have this on, she’ll still alert, but she’s still a dog, too,” Rand said.

Jasmine loves to run around and play with the Rand family’s other dogs.

“I like that for her. I know she’s a work dog, but I also want her to have that free time for herself,” Rand said.

Since getting Jasmine last year, Rand has returned to the lifestyle she once knew. She goes to the grocery store, works part-time at Powell Veterinary Clinic and even returned to horseback riding.

Rand always had horses and used to ride all the time. When she started having epileptic seizures, she had to quit.

“I couldn’t ride anymore. I hadn’t ridden for 10 years,” Rand said.

During a horse ride, Jasmine is tethered nearby. Rand doesn’t want to risk Jasmine getting kicked by a horse.

Rand would never ride alone, so her husband or someone else remains nearby. And of course, so does Jasmine.

“She lays down and watches. She just stays right there with us,” Rand said.

Rand recalled a trip to Jackson when they rode a tram and played in the snow. Jasmine brings out the kid in Rand, and gives her the confidence to return to an active, independent life.

Unlike medication or a surgery, an assistance dog actually helped Rand change her entire lifestyle.

“She takes on the world of what I used to do. I follow with her,” Rand said.

Together, they have been doing fundraisers for Canine Assistants. Last summer, Rand and Jasmine did a fun run in Red Lodge, Montana, and also wrapped books at Barnes and Noble as a way to give back. Jasmine and Rand also have been visiting the Powell Valley Care Center.

“I never realized just how much enjoyment she gives to them also,” Rand said.

After more than a year with Jasmine, Rand said she “cannot see my life without Jasmine.”

“My life before Jasmine just seemed like a shell, now she has filled it up,” Rand said.

Story reposted from:
Information from:
Powell (Wyo.) Tribune,

Written by: Tessa Schweigert

Dog Breast Cancer: Diagnosis And Prognosis For Breast Cancer In Dogs

July 17th, 2014

Dog breast cancer affects one in four unspayed female dogs, which makes it one of the most common canine cancers.

This disease is very much influenced by female reproductive hormones. If you have your female puppy spayed before she comes on heat for the first time, she has an almost zero risk of developing breast cancer later in life.


It’s usually fairly easy to notice the signs of dog breast cancer.

Dogs love a tummy rub and most will happily roll onto their backs for you to scratch them. This gives you the perfect chance to have a good look at those mammary glands. Dogs usually have two rows of glands, with four or five in each row. They are usually soft and pliable, with no lumps and bumps. Take every opportunity to feel your dog’s mammary glands so you become familiar with what’s normal for her. Most mammary tumors develop in the glands closest to the back legs, so pay particular attention to that area.

Dog breast cancer is usually first detected as a lump or swelling in one or more mammary glands. Half of all mammary lumps in dogs are benign, so there’s no need to panic, but make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. There’s no simple way of telling whether a lump is benign or malignant, so a biopsy will need to be taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Depending on the result of the biopsy, your dog may need to undergo further testing, including x-rays and ultrasounds. This is to check for any spread of the cancer to other parts of her body.


The outcome for dog breast cancer sufferers also varies. Larger tumors, or those that have grown very quickly, have a poorer outcome than smaller tumors. If a tumor has spread either deeper into nearby tissue, or elsewhere in the body, the prognosis is worse.

It’s difficult to give an exact survival time for dog breast cancer, because individual dogs can respond differently to treatment. It’s possible for dogs to live with breast cancer for up to three years after diagnosis. The one exception is inflammatory mammary carcinoma. This is an extremely aggressive type of cancer, and even with treatment, the average survival time is only a few months.

You can protect your canine companion from dog breast cancer by spaying her before her first season. Unless you are a breeder, book her in for this potentially life saving surgery when she reaches 6 months of age.

Article reposted from:

Study Reveals Negative Effects of Sterilization in Goldens and Labs

July 17th, 2014

Research reveals negative long-term consequences for Golden Retrievers.

Dog neutering is a very popular practice in the United States. In doing so, people hope to avoid overpopulation or various unwanted behaviors. But is it a good choice for dogs, health-wise?

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study with hopes of determining whether or not neutering is detrimental to canine health, and chose Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers as their subjects. The two breeds, which have been accepted worldwide as exemplary family pets and service dogs, are very similar in behavioral disposition, body size, and conformation, and were labeled as conducive to a comparative study.

Upon finishing data collection, which spanned 13 years of veterinary records, researchers made some somber conclusions:

“…The incidence rates of both joint disorders and cancers at various neuter ages were much more pronounced in Golden Retrievers than in Labrador retrievers,” notes Benjamin Hart, DVM, Ph.D., a distinguished professor emeritus in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The long-term effects mentioned included joint disorders like hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tears, and cancers deemed “devastating”.

A connection was also found between early sterilization—before the animal is 6 months old—and the appearance of joint disorders. About 5 percent of intact Golden and Labrador retrievers of both genders suffer from a joint disorder, the researchers determined. The rate in dogs sterilized before 6 months old jumped to 10 percent of Labs and 20 to 25 percent of Goldens.

The removal of hormone-producing organs during the first year of a dog’s life leaves the animals vulnerable to the delayed closure of long-bone growth plates, explains lead investigator Dr. Hart.

“We found in both breeds that neutering before the age of 6 months, which is common practice in the United States, significantly increased the occurrence of joint disorders, especially in the golden retrievers,” says Dr. Hart.

While neutering doubled joint disorders in Labradors, neutered Golden Retrievers saw their rate of joint disorder jump to four or five times that of goldens that had not been neutered. Golden retrievers also saw a similar discrepancy in cancer rates, but with only female Goldens significantly affected. The study found that female goldens that had been neutered had their risk of cancer rise three to four times that of non-neutered females.

The researchers did not take a stand on spaying and neutering, which is done to an estimated 83 percent of all U.S. dogs to control the pet population and prevent unwanted behaviors. Instead, they stated that the study served to measure the long-term health effects of sterilization and to educate breeders and dog owners who are deciding when, and if, to spay or neuter their animals.

The findings were based on 13 years of health records accumulated by the UC Davis veterinary school. Some 1,015 golden retrievers and 1,500 Labrador retrievers—two popular breeds that share similar body size, conformation and behavioral characteristics—were included. The research in its entirety can be found at

Article reposted from:

Written by: Andrew Alemania

Acupuncture can be a great way to treat dog arthritis

July 15th, 2014

It happens. We all get older – our dogs included. Do you remember the fun days of puppyhood where they could run for hours playing fetch? Does your dog now struggle to even get to her feet? If you’d like to try a natural approach to treating your dog’s arthritis, or if his pain meds aren’t working as well as they once did, consider giving acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine a try. Read on to learn how to find a qualified acupuncturist and a few things you can do at home to help your aging pup!


Do find a practitioner who is trained in animal acupuncture

In 11 states it is legal for non-veterinarians to treat your pets using acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Some states require that the acupuncturist obtain a referral from the pet’s veterinarian, while others require that the acupuncturist work in the office of a veterinarian under their supervision. Make sure that your acupuncturist is licensed and has been board certified by the American Board of Animal Acupuncture (ABAA). This ensures that the acupuncturist has been trained to safely use acupuncture on animals.

If your state doesn’t allow non-veterinarians to treat pets, make sure that the veterinarian treating your pet has completed acupuncture training through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) or the Chi Society. Remember, you wouldn’t want your general practitioner performing brain surgery on you – and you don’t want someone not fully trained in acupuncture and Chinese medicine sticking needles in your pet!

Do know that acupuncture isn’t a quick fix

Acupuncture is a system that treats the whole animal in order to get to the underlying cause of the disease. Most arthritic pets seem spunkier after 1-4 treatments. Most pets will need to continue to be seen 2-4 times a year for “tune up” treatments to keep the arthritis at bay.

Do ask your veterinarian about switching to a grain-free food

In Chinese medical theory, grains are inflammatory in dogs and cats. Many pets can handle eating foods with grains in them – their bodies are healthy and are able to deal with small amounts of inflammation, but a dog with arthritis is dealing with inflammation in her joints as well. Switching to a grain-free diet can allow the body to focus on the inflammation associated with the arthritis, instead of being distracted by inflammation in the gut.

Do some home acupressure on your pet

There is a system of acupuncture points in your dog’s ears that can treat its whole body! Take the pinna (the flappy part of your dog’s ear) between your thumb and fingers. Have your thumb on the inner, fleshy side and your fingers on the outer, hairy side. Be careful to keep out of your dog’s ear canal, but rub little circles all over the rest of the flappy part! Most dogs (and cats!) love it – it’s like a full body massage!


Do not try acupuncture or herbalism on your own

Your licensed acupuncturist has had over four years of training in acupuncture and Chinese herbalism. If they are board certified with the American Board of Animal Acupuncture, they have had an additional 120 hours of training in Animal Acupuncture. A veterinarian who has taken acupuncture classes has 50-160 hours of training in acupuncture beyond 4 years of veterinary school. Chinese medicine is a complex diagnostic system in which no two cases of arthritis are the same. Your practitioner has been trained to make such a diagnosis, and then treat each patient using acupuncture points and Chinese herbs specific to that patient, based on their Chinese medical diagnosis. An herb that is helpful in one patient can make another patient’s symptoms worse!

Do not worry that your pet won’t sit still

You might be surprised to know that most dogs do lie still and many even fall asleep with their needles in! Dogs love acupuncture! If your dog won’t sit still, know that the biggest effect from the needles occurs when they’re first inserted. If a needle falls out a little early, it’s not a big deal!

Do not give your arthritic dog foods from the nightshade family

Foods in the nightshade family include: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and sweet and hot peppers. This family of foods is very inflammatory and will make arthritis worse. Check your dog’s food label for these ingredients.

Do not be afraid to try acupuncture

There’s a lot of talk out there about acupuncture being nothing more than a placebo. However, dogs respond very quickly to acupuncture (in about half the time that a human patient would!), and yet dogs can’t experience the placebo effect. Acupuncture is simply a tool that the biomedical world doesn’t understand yet. The sooner you get your achy dog into treatment, the sooner you’ll see that spark of life again!

Acupuncture has been around for over 5000 years and Chinese herbalism for even longer than that. Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for arthritis that is safe when performed by a properly trained practitioner. If your dog is suffering from arthritis, give this ancient healing modality a try – they’ll thank you for it!

Article reposted from:

Written by: Becca Seitz
Photo Credits: Steve Collender/; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas –

Colorado Dog Battles Cancer to Live Happily Every Day

July 15th, 2014

The Colorado owner of a rescued shelter dog battling cancer refuses to believe her dog has only six months left and will make sure the American bulldog mix “lives happily every day.”

Judy Jaros first noticed 5-year-old Marsha at the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley in July 2013. Jaros was a volunteer dog walker at the facility and Marsha had been living in the shelter for a while.

“Our shelter is a low-kill shelter. We don’t put down animals just because they can’t find homes,” Jaros said. “When you know dogs for that long, you bond with them.”

Among all the dogs at the Littleton center, Marsha’s energy first caught Jaros’ attention, and then won her heart. Jaros decided to give Marsha a permanent home. “I noticed that she had some lumps on her sides,” Jaros told ABC News. “So I took her to the vet.”

The veterinarian did a check on Marsha and confirmed that she had cancer.

“I thought to myself, ‘This could be a very expensive adoption,’” Jaros said. “But if we don’t adopt her, she will never have good medical care.”

Love conquered Jaros’ fear, and Marsha was brought back to Jaros’ home this January.

“She had a surgery in March, and the vet said the prognosis was not great,” Jaros said. “They estimated that she has about six months left.”

Jaros said she doesn’t believe that estimation. The cancer cells have moved to Marsha’s lymph nodes, but Jaros said she is not seeing any discomfort in Marsha.

Before the adoption, Marsha was at the shelter, recovering from a former life that had left her battered and nearly broken.

“She had so many problems when she came in. She had an infection, she had a broken toe, she had a bullet in her elbow,” Jaros said.

But with the love and care from the Jaros family, Marsha is recovering well and embracing her new life.

“She is the happiest dog you will ever meet,” Jaros said. “We take her walking, hiking, camping and fishing. She has play dates with her favorite dog friends.

“Her whole body wags, not just her tail,” Jaros said. “She will be so happy to see you even if you were just gone for 10 minutes.”

Jaros said catching mice and lizards in fields with tall grasses is Marsha’s favorite thing to do.

“My husband and I have looked into ways to boost her immune system,” Jaros said. “We give her supplements made for slowing cancer growth.”

Story reposted from:

Written by: Yazhou Sun