Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Morris Animal Foundation is funding a study designed to identify genetic markers that potentially make a dog more susceptible to hemangiosarcoma, one of the deadliest canine cancers.
Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands are tracking more than 3,000 dogs using data from the foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which identifies the nutritional, environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in golden retrievers.
Current data demonstrate that 75% of dog deaths are cancer-related, with hemangiosarcoma causing 70%.
Since hemangiosarcoma is the most common malignancy diagnosed in study participants, the researchers have access to unique biological samples and data they hope will advance their knowledge about the disease. The data could lead to identifying DNA mutations that cause the disease.
“These findings could aid in the development of new therapies for the disease,” said Kim M. Boerkamp, BVMS, the study’s co-principal investigator.
“Additionally,” she said, “a DNA test could be developed … for breeding dogs to help decrease the disease incidence in the population.”
Morris Animal Foundation also launched the Hemangiosarcoma Initiative to advance the disease’s prevention, detection and treatment. The multiyear, multimillion initiative focuses on early disease detection, new therapeutic approaches and genomic breeding indicators.
Canine hemangiosarcoma statistics show that:
- The average survival time with surgery alone is one to three months.
- The average survival time with surgery and chemotherapy is five to seven months.
- 90% of dogs die within one year after diagnosis despite surgery and chemotherapy.
- Almost 100% die within two years of diagnosis.