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

This rescue dog who survived cancer does the most wonderful movie scene recreations

August 27th, 2015

Remember that iconic Notebook kiss? Or Tom Hanks’ giant piano dance scene from Big? How about Wilson, Tom’s best pal in Cast Away?

Elsie, a 15-year-old rescued Pit Bull, does. And she recreates those iconic movie moments on her Instagram and Facebook pages every Monday.

The former stray is a real American Beauty.

Who knows how to get peoples’ spirits Up.

It’s a Risky Business…

But Elsie’s no Forrest G-r-ump.

She just knows what to R2-D2.

The Manhattan based pooch does so with the assistance of her human, Tanya Turgeon, who documents the dog’s artistic endeavours via her own website.

Elsie’s story is something of a wags to riches tale: she was picked up on the streets of New York city by Animal Control in 2006 and when they discovered she was ill, they put her on the euthanasia list. However, a shelter worker vouched for her and Elsie eventually beat canine breast cancer.

Eager to give something back in the aftermath of her illness, Elsie’s human encouraged her to start painting.

Yep, that’s right, painting.

The little dog uses non-toxic washable tempera paint to create pink masterpieces, some of the proceeds from which go to the Humane Society of New York.

You can see Elsie’s work – and her brilliant back catalogue of Movie Monday offerings – over on her official Facebook page.

Story reposted from:
By Sarah Doran

Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

August 25th, 2015

Multiple myeloma is an uncommon cancer that is derived from a clonal population of cancerous (malignant) plasma cells in the bone marrow. Although myeloma is not currently curable, it’s relatively uncommon in canines and has successful treatment options. If your dog is suspected of having Multiple Myeloma, a Veterinary Oncologist would best manage the definitive diagnosis and treatment of your dog.

Every year many dogs are diagnosed with cancer and sadly this is the major cause of death in dogs over 10 years old. Myeloma is a type of cancer affecting white blood cells called plasma or B cells and because those originate directly from the bone marrow, this type of cancer is also known as “bone marrow cancer”. Dogs affected by Myeloma have an overproduction of immunoglobulins (antibodies) which are produced by the continuously dividing plasma cells. Myeloma is not very common in dogs and it accounts for less than 1% of cancer cases; however symptoms can be very severe from bleeding, osteoporosis, renal dysfunction, loss of eyesight and neurological complications. Often the animal’s death happens from the occurrence of secondary infections.

Causes of Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

The causes of Myeloma are still unknown; the cancer generally appears between 8 and 9 years of age and certain breeds have higher predisposition such as German Shepherds, Boxers and Golden Retrievers. No correlation between the onsets in male or female dogs has been reported. There is a possibility that Myeloma is triggered by genetic causes; some studies indicate that the misregulation and the functional disruption of a protein called Cyclin D can be responsible for the disease. In humans, plasma cell cancer is often linked to environmental factors, such as pollution by chemical and toxin agents and this cannot be completely excluded as risk factor triggering the cancer in dogs.

Diagnosis of Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

Similarly, to other diseases, it is recommended that veterinarians run a thorough physical examination of the animal alongside with more specific biological analysis, this will help to deliver a clear and an accurate diagnosis. In a dog the presence of Myeloma is confirmed when at least two of the following signs are detected.

  • High concentration of immunoglobulins (antibodies-paraproteins) in the blood.
  • Bone lesions and areas of severe bone loss.
  • A value >5% of neoplastic cells in the bone marrow.
  • A value comprises between 10% to 20% of plasma cells in the bone marrow.
  • Bence Jones immunoglobulins in the urine.

Thus an accurate diagnosis should include:

  • Blood count and a complete blood cell profile.
  • Assessment of blood coagulation and serum viscosity.
  • Urine sampling including detection of Bence Jones immunoglobulins.
  • Radiographic and ultrasound analysis to look at bone density, presence of bone lesions and state of abdominal organs.
  • Biopsy of osteolytic lesions.
  • Analysis of bone marrow aspirate.

Pet owners are called to strictly observe their dog’s behavior with specific attention if there are any signs of weakness and tiredness, or if the animal bleeds or if thirstier and urinates often.

Treatment of Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

Treatments for MM target the cancer itself (primary treatments) or they are more directed to all secondary effects caused by the cancer (secondary treatments).

Primary treatments

  • Chemotherapy is for sure the treatment of choice for MM and in the majority of cases it has successfully reduced the cancer size and symptoms, however this cannot be considered as a complete cure. Melphalan is the most recommended chemotherapy agent that works by blocking all cell replication including cancer cells. Melphalan is an oral drug and it is often prescribed together with Prednisolone (antinflammatory). The treatment duration varies between 5 to 21 days and common side effects are immunosuppression (myelosuppression) and a reduction in blood clotting (thrombocytopenia). Cyclophosphamide and Chlorambucil are alternatives to Melphalan with a similar mechanism of action. If chemotherapy is successful it can takes up to 6 weeks to see an improvement of the dog’s clinical signs and biological values.
  • Radio therapy is another primary treatment although it is less common than chemotherapy and it can only treat a specific area.

Secondary treatments

  • Aggressive fluid therapy is employed for renal failure and hypercalcemia; as long-term treatment is used to ensure an adequate hydration to the dog.
  • Antibiotics are mainly used to treat secondary infections.
  • Orthopedic surgery to repair fracture bones.

Novel therapeutic approaches such as stem cells transplant and compounds used to treat other diseases such as Thalidomide and Toceranib phosphate are now undergoing clinical studies.

Recovery and Management of Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

In the majority of cases chemotherapy greatly improves dog conditions and can result in long time remissions. During the therapy a complete blood cell count is necessary every two weeks together with protein analysis to strictly monitor effects of chemotherapy agent on bone marrow. Once values are back to normal levels blood analysis can be performed monthly together with bone density and X-rays.

Unfortunately chemotherapy and all secondary treatment of MM do not represent the cure, however a good improvement of the dog’s quality of life can often be achieved; extraordinary results have been shown from a study conducted on 60 animals treated with chemotherapy where 43% reported a complete remission, 49% a partial remission and only the 8% did not responded to the therapy. Median survival of a dog treated with chemotherapy is of 540 days compared to dog treated with Prednisolone only.

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Minnesota family creates bucket list for pet Corgi with only few months left to live

August 24th, 2015

A family in Duluth, Minnesota, is helping their pet Corgi, Oscar, complete a bucket list created for him after he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Oscar, 11, went in for a routine teeth cleaning at the Duluth Veterinary Hospital early last July, when Dr. Lisa Juten noticed a tumor that later tests revealed to be malignant, she told ABC News. Oscar’s owner, Tom Asbury, asked the vet if they could do any chemotherapy, and she said the cancer was too aggressive and that such treatments could actually make him sicker.

“She told us he had three to six months left,” Asbury, 35, told ABC News. “Rather than trying treatments that likely wouldn’t buy him much time or could even make him sicker, she suggested that we just take him to the beach, give him ice cream and enjoy the few months we had left with Oscar instead.

Juten’s suggestion inspired Asbury to start a conversation with his wife, Lindsey Asbury, and their two young girls about what they thought Oscar would like to do in the time he had left, Asbury explained. The family thought of different things Oscar could do in and around their hometown, and the girls wrote the official bucket list down, he said.

“Any time there’s a terminal diagnosis, there are one of two paths you can take — either get really upset and sad or embrace it,” Juten said. “And these wonderful people took the route of celebrating him, and I’m happy for what they chose. It’s a great path for him.”

Oscar has completed most of the list — go on a kayak ride, eat ice cream, visit the Enger tower, cross the town’s aerial lift bridge, swim in Lake Superior, go camping, play in the backyard and take a ride in the car — but there’s one thing he has left to do.

“He’s done everything but meet another Corgi,” Asbury said. “We realized he hasn’t met another Corgi since the litter mates he was with at birth. But recently, we’ve been getting emails from people in the town with Corgis ever since a local story on him went up. It looks like he’s going to have one great play-date.”

Oscar has been with the Asbury family since the year after Tom Asbury and his wife Lindsey got married, he said.

“My wife and I got him when he was a puppy, and he’s been with us through a lot of moves from Ohio to Minnesota,” Tom Asbury said. “He’s a good, little pup. When we started having kids, he was very protective over them.

“Since Corgis are herding dogs, he would also herd them where he wanted them to be as babies and to this day, he sleeps under their bed and protects them in the way a little dog like him can.”

Asbury said that his family and their other pet Pomeranian, Lilo, are going to miss Oscar when he’s gone. But he’s hopeful they’ll see him again one day.

“There’s nothing specific in the Bible whether dogs go to heaven,” said Asbury, a pastor of East Ridge Church in Duluth. “But God says that in heaven, there’s happiness and no more tears, and that for me would be whole bunch of Corgis running around because they really just make me happy.”

Story reposted from:
By Avianne Tan via Good Morning America

Sue Perkins pens heartbreaking open letter to her beloved dog Pickle, admitting 'I had you killed'

August 21st, 2015

Sue Perkins has penned a heartbreaking open letter to her late dog Pickle, thanking the adorable Beagle for always being there for her, and bravely admitting: “I had you killed”.

Sue's touching tribute to her dog

The Great British Bake Off host lost her dog to cancer earlier this year, after building an inseparable bond over 11 years.

Now she has looked back on their time together in a letter which has gone viral on Facebook, from Pickle’s support when she found out she couldn’t have children, to the early puppy days of vomit and training.

“First, a confession: I had you killed,” she admitted. “Yes, I know. I know you had no idea, because I had been practicing for weeks how to keep it from you, and how – when the time came – I could stop my chest from bursting with the fear and horror and unbearable, unbearable pain.”

Sue Perkins' late dog Pickle

Taking a trip down memory lane, she added: “As a pup, you crunched every CD cover in the house for fun. You chewed through electrical cable and telephone wires.

“As an adult you graduated to raiding fridges and picnics, you stole ice cream from the mouths of infants, you jumped onto Christmas tables laden with pudding and cake and blithely walked through them all, inhaling everything in your wake.

“You puked on everything decent I ever owned.”

Sue remembered all the times her pooch had been there as a support for her in her heart-wrenching letter.

“When someone once took a punch at me, you leaped in the air and took it,” Sue wrote. “When I discovered I couldn’t have children, you let me use your neck as a hankie.”

The star then admitted she “cried until my skin felt burnt and my ears grew tired from the sound of it all” after her dog passed away.

“You were the peg on which I hung all the baggage that couldn’t be named,” Sue concluded.

“You were the pure, innocent joy of grass and sky and wind and sun. It was a love beyond the limits of patience and sense and commensuration.

“It was as nonsensical as it was boundless.”

Story reposted from:
Rebecca Pocklington

An alternative treatment for pets with cancer

August 19th, 2015

Treating cancer in a pet is hard. It’s hard on the animal and on the owners watching their pets suffer and paying the bill. It’s also hard to find alternatives to radical surgery.

Scott Milligan is trying to make battling four-legged cancer easier. A former executive in the cancer-treatment industry, Milligan recently launched PetCure Oncology, a Chicago-based company that offers a form of radiation therapy called radiosurgery.

PetCure's Scott Milligan and his dog, Huck • Photo by Kendall Karmanian

The treatment, which involves no needles or incisions, takes about 10 minutes. A clinician takes a CT scan of the pet to pinpoint the cancer. The animal is anesthetized and placed in a mold so the radiosurgery machine can be aimed precisely. Two hundred beams of high-powered energy converge on the tumor and melt it away in one to three sessions, compared with the nearly two dozen treatments in conventional radiation treatment. The cost is $1,300 to $10,000.

Milligan notes that big dogs tend to get bone tumors in their legs, and veterinarians generally prescribe amputation. Assuming the cancer is detected early, he says, the dog could be treated with radiosurgery instead. Another bonus: few side effects. Conventional radiation, which uses higher doses, often leaves burns on the animal. The only thing radiosurgery does, he says, is discolor fur.

Though radiosurgery is used routinely to treat cancer in people, only a handful of clinics around the country use it for pets and mostly for research. Data for radiosurgery outcomes in pets are not available, but according to the Mayo Clinic, a majority of people who undergo radiosurgery see some tumor shrinkage, depending on the type and size of the growth.


Until he launched PetCure last year, Milligan, 47, was chief development officer at Accelitech, a privately held network of radiosurgery centers; its headquarters is near O’Hare International Airport.

Milligan suspected there was a market for veterinary radiosurgery based on the increasing amounts Americans spend on their animal companions. From 1994 to 2014, pet expenditures tripled to $58 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association in Greenwich, Conn.

Still, he was skeptical about starting his own venture. Then his golden retriever, Juliet, was diagnosed with cancer. “She had a nasal tumor that would have been a natural to treat with radiosurgery, but it was not an option,” he says. “It was maddening to know that this was out there but not available.”

PetCure, which has raised $4 million, partners with veterinary hospitals or specialists. Its first clinic opened in Phoenix in May, and the second is scheduled to open this month in Cincinnati. Doug Hoffman, CEO of Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency Pet Care Center, which is partnering with PetCure in Cincinnati, expects pet owners will bring in animals for treatment from Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, 100 miles away.

Clinics are scheduled to open in Chicago and Milwaukee early next year, and two more are in the works for late 2016, though Milligan won’t say where.

Article reposted from:
By Ally Marotti

17 Incredibly Cool Dog Tattoos Ever Doggy Lover Will Want

August 18th, 2015

Whether you a big lover of ink or even if you’re just a bit dog obsessed, you wont be able to deny how stunning these dog inspired tattoos are.

While the thought of getting something so permanent on your body may sound daunting to a lot of people, we couldn’t think of anything that makes more sense to get a tattoo of then a beloved pet dog.

After all when will you ever stop loving your best friend or not want a reminder of them nearby!


















Article reposted from:
By Kato

Dog Gets Final Wish To Play in Snow

August 17th, 2015

Six-year-old Sophia, a St. Bernard dog, was diagnosed with bone cancer. Before she was put down because of her condition, her owner Alyson Page brought her to the Chill Factore indoor ski centre to give her the perfect send-off by letting her play on the snow.

The dog was diagnosed with bone cancer and its final wish was granted before it was put to rest. (Photo : Twitter Photo Section)

“I had been searching for ideas for something to make the last time that we have got with her really special because she is such a special dog. She absolutely loves the snow, so I sent an email cheekily on the off-chance, I never expected them to be so kind to let us come and bring her. We got a reply yesterday and it was just before we were due to have her put to sleep, so it was just amazing,” Page said according to Mirror.

The dog is special for Page and her family especially when she was there to support her when she conceived her eight-month-old daughter through IVF.

“We would have sold the car, we would have done anything to pay for treatment, but the vet advised us to just make her as comfortable as possible. She is a massive part of our life and I can’t even begin to say how much we’re going to miss her,” Page sadly said, Mashable reported.

Before she was due to rest, Sophia played on the 180-metre ski slope with her half brother Yogi, a five-year-old St Bernard.

“She has not really shown any interest in anything for a couple of weeks now, so just to see her with a waggy tail and diving around in the snow has just been amazing. It’s been a wonderful end for her,” Page said in a YouTube video.

The staff from Chill Factore also came to meet Sophia and they were pleased to do something for her. Morwenna Angove, chief executive officer said that “seeing her so happy was our ultimate goal.”

Story reposted from:
By Kareen Liez E. Datoy

The Amazing Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs

August 14th, 2015

Another natural remedy that’s crossed over from humans to canines, apple cider vinegar for dogs offers a number of health benefits. Not only can this liquid be used to improve your dog’s digestion and to clear skin infections, but it can also help to repel fleas and other biting insects. There are many ways to use apple cider vinegar for your dog and his health.

Potential Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs

Apple cider vinegar can be used in a number of herbal remedies for dogs as well as humans. Some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs include:

  • Improving digestive health
  • Clearing urinary tract infections and preventing kidney/bladder stones
  • Treating bacterial and fungal skin infections
  • Repairing flaky, dry skin
  • Repelling fleas, ticks, and other biting insects
  • Increasing the body’s alkalinity to prevent bacterial and viral diseases
  • Improving ability to tolerate cold temperatures
  • Restoring health skin and coat appearance
  • Cleaning ears and preventing ear infections

Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Giving your dog apple cider vinegar orally can help to repel insects, to improve digestion, and to restore his body’s pH balance. To start treating your dog with apple cider vinegar, begin by giving him one teaspoon daily mixed with his food. This is the dosage for a 50-60 pound dog – for a smaller dog (10-25 pounds), a half teaspoon is sufficient, while for a larger dog (75 pounds and over), you can double the dosage to two teaspoons.

To use apple cider vinegar to treat skin infections or to improve your dog’s skin and coat, you can apply it directly to your dog’s skin as a spot treatment. For larger areas, mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and work it into your dog’s skin and coat by hand during his next bath. To repel fleas and ticks, or to deal with an existing infection, bathe your dog then apply a solution of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar.

Using apple cider vinegar to improve your dog’s health is as easy as adding a teaspoon or so to his food once a day. Apple cider vinegar itself is not particularly rich in nutrients, but it contains compounds that increase the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate other nutrients. For example, acetic acid can help to increase the ability of your dog’s body to absorb calcium. Apple cider vinegar also provides antiseptic benefits – it will help to prevent the growth of pathogenic viruses and bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract which will also boost the immune system.

Apple cider vinegar for dogs is a simple but effective natural remedy for a variety of conditions and health problems. Before you start using it for your dog, however, you should check with your veterinarian to make sure it’s right for your pooch.

Do you already use apple cider vinegar with your dog? Have you seen any changes or improvements? Let us know in the comment section below.

Article reposted from:
By Kate Barrington

Goodbye to our sweet Emma

August 13th, 2015

Well it breaks my heart to say we had to say goodbye to our sweet Emma. She had Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) in the heart and spread to the lungs. Emma was a wonderful dog with a unique personality. She did what she wanted when she wanted. Our requests, if that is what you wanted to even call them, to her were minor suggestions and if she was in the mood she would do them. But she was a loving dog and awesome with our young kids even when at the end she was so sick.

As I finally brought myself to write this, more than 10 days after Emma passed, I read the post my wife, Sara wrote on her FB page, the day Emma passed and I knew right then that her words told how much both Sara and I felt about Emma and how much we both loved our sweet Emma. Here is what Sara wrote:

“Today is the end of an era. It is a sad day, a day of loss. Today is the day we have lost the 7th dog we have loved to cancer. She was 9, just barely 9. Emma, the Yak, my sweet girl, my smart girl is gone. She was truly my challenge dog. She pushed me to learn more about dog behavior and training than any of our others. She was opinionated, vocal, full of life and a she loved her tennis balls and ice. She was mellow and wound up like a puppy. She was so very patient with the kids and loving. She wanted to be challenged, she wanted to be lazy and roll in the grass. She was so very golden. The loss of Emma marks the first time in my life, and since Gary and I have been together that we do not have a Golden. It is weird. It is a strange feeling to only have one dog now too. My sweet Emma, run free, give your boys at the rainbow bridge a good talking to and tell them we miss them too.” – Sara Nice

What truly consoles me at this time of our lose, is the love, caring and passion that all of your on this FB page show for your dogs and the sympathy and consolation you share with those who come to this FB to share their stories of their sweet pups they have lost to Cancer.

And what give me the most hope is to know that the NCCF, at present, are reaching out to 100’s of thousands to help eliminate Cancer as a major health issue and increase survival rates for dogs through Education, Outreach and Research. And speaking of research, this year, we are funding six grants and out of those six grants, two are research on HSA and one is on lung Cancer, which can happen as Cancer spreads.

I encourage you to read about those grants on our page….

Bye my Sweet Emma. I will miss you so much.

- Gary