(Picture Credit: Chalabala / Getty Images)
(Picture Credit: Chalabala / Getty Images)

Last week, a new study from PetDx provided evidence-based guidelines on screening dogs for cancer. The study was published in PLOS One.

From PR Newswire, “the authors examined data from over 3,000 dogs with cancer to determine the typical age at which dogs of various breeds and weights developed the disease”. Interestingly, the study’s findings support screening for cancer as early as four years old for certain breeds. In general, the study recommends starting cancer screening at 7 years of age.

One-Quarter of Dogs Will Get Cancer

Interestingly, the study found 8.8 years as the median cancer diagnosis age. Still, researchers believe screening earlier will increase the success rate of any treatment. Not coincidentally, the study’s guidelines also reflect recommendations for using PetDx’s liquid biopsy cancer detection test. Known as OncoK9, the test was verifiedto detect 30 different types of canine cancer with a simple blood draw”.

According to Scientific American, almost one out of four dogs will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives. Alarmingly, that number increases to one out of two after a dog’s tenth birthday. As in humans, canine cancer includes a large array of diseases and is among the most-studied dog diseases. 

New Technology Allows for Earlier Canine Cancer Screening & Treatment

Thankfully, ongoing research and clinical studies have unveiled new and more effective cancer treatments. Recently, scientists successfully developed treatments using stem cells to help improve end-of-life quality for dogs with cancer. Ostensibly, the PetDx-funded studies not only show how important it is to detect canine cancer early, but also that we have the technology to do so.

According to veterinary oncologist Cheryl London, though, “if we’re talking about true cancer screening, we don’t have the tools in veterinary medicine to actually do that yet”. Notably, the verification study showed that the test can detect large, metastasized tumors with 87.5% success. However, for small, localized cancers the success rate plummeted to 19.6%

Ultimately, some veterinary professionals believe that although the study carries significant data, there’s an obvious conflict of interest. As such, a study about when to screen for cancer from a company that makes cancer screening tests for dogs should be approached judiciously. 

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