Scientists have discovered different factors that may be able to predict a dog’s cancer diagnosis. Previous studies done on this have mostly focused on European breeds, but the doctors in this study wanted to focus on breeds that are most commonly found in the United States. Dr Andi Flory, a veterinary oncologist, led this research by collecting data from 3,452 dogs. They found that the median age at which the dogs were diagnosed was 8.8 years.
We have learned in AP Bio about what causes cells to become cancerous in humans, and sadly, it’s similar in dogs. If cells become damaged, this can affect their ability to know when to stop reproducing, causing them to reproduce uncontrollably. Other factors, such as mutations in onco genes, can cause similar uncontrollable cell reproduction. Cells that become cancerous are different from normal cells in that they will divide even if they haven’t received a signal to do so or if the area they belong in is filled with cells already.
Male dogs were generally diagnosed at a younger age than females. Furthermore, fixed dogs had earlier detection as well, compared to dogs that had not been fixed. Purebred dogs had cancer detected at a younger age compared to mixed-breed dogs. There are many things that could cause cancer in dogs. It’s possible that a cell was damaged or altered, or that an outside factored changed their DNA, which therefore could affect their genes that influence the behavior of cells.
The scientists have concluded that, based on the findings, pet owners start cancer screenings for the dogs at age seven.
PetDx, the pet diagnostics company that conducted the study, has created a blood-based canine cancer test. This liquid supposedly detects cancer in dogs by looking for “genomic alterations” in blood. However, doctors question the validity of this test. In general, there are few tools that are successful in early cancer detection in jobs-even ultrasounds and x-rays, and including these liquid biopsies previously mentioned. That being said, the test’s ability to identify true cases is 54.7% accurate. Additionally, they can identify metastasized cancers (cancers that have spread) at a rate of 87.5 %, but only at 19.6% for small cancers. However, these tests do not officially detect cancer. Veterinary oncologist Cheryl London acknowledges that this study is especially useful for recognizing patterns in dogs’ diagnosis, and for encouraging pet owners of certain types of dogs to get screened sooner for early detection. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the treatments can begin. As we learned in class, treatments can be either chemotherapy, which is killing the rapidly dividing cancer cells, or the treatment can be a physical removal of the cancerous tumor.
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