TOO MANY OF OUR DOGS HAVE CANCER: WHAT CAN WE DO?
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Old English Sheepdogs. Sadly, this fact does not surprise us since cancer is also a leading cause of death in people and many species of animals. The challenge of cancer looms large. Canine cancer is a painful and tragic disease for the dogs and for the families that cherish them.
As members of the Old English Sheepdog Club of America (OESCA) Health and Research Committee, we are determined to aggressively pursue this disease by supporting cancer research for our breed. To achieve our goals, we have collected and earmarked dollars for cancer research, and at the same time continued to gather information from OES owners and breeders to determine the frequency of cancer and the types of cancer that affect our breed. In September 2008, OESCA launched a comprehensive Health Survey to remain current on the breed's health information. Cancer is being reported as a part of that survey. We are closely monitoring the data as the surveys are being submitted and tabulated.
While advances in cancer research are rapidly expanding, a need still remains for specific, breed related information on cancer. This is where OES owners and breeders can be of greatest help. The better informed our research decisions, the sooner we can improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OUR DOGS?
If you currently have a dog who has been diagnosed with cancer or if you have lost a dog who was diagnosed with
cancer, we ask for your assistance. We encourage you to share your dog's health data by completing the following steps:
Step One: Complete the 2008 OESCA Health Survey and submit your dog's health information. Go to www.oeshealth.org Click "Health Survey" and follow the easy instructions. This survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. It is easy to follow, comprehensive and user friendly. By submitting this information, you will have provided information that will be used to make decisions for our breed's cancer research priorities and treatments.
Step Two: Ask your veterinarian to add your dog's data to the VetCancer Registry at www.vetcancerregistry.com . Data must be submitted by your veterinarian as diagnosed by histopathology. Even if your dog had cancer years ago, if the diagnosis was by histopathology, it is critical information we need.
As a global, cancer registry for dogs and cats, the VetCancer Registry reveals trends in animal cancer, and serves as a rich data resource for future cancer research and treatment options. With the information you and other OES owners submit, data will inform owners, breeders, breed clubs and scientists.
Step Three: Send a sample of your dog's blood to the Canine Health Foundation's DNA Repository. The DNA Repository collects and stores DNA samples along with the dog's pedigree and a health history to facilitate future research and testing aimed at reducing the incidences of inherited diseases in dogs. The procedure for collecting and submitting your dog's blood follows: 1) Ask your veterinarian to collect a blood sample from your dog, 2) Include a copy of your dog's pedigree and a completed health survey form* and 3) package the blood sample in cold packs and ship with the pedigree and health history form via overnight express to the DNA Repository. You will find that many veterinarians prefer to package and ship the sample for you.
* To locate and download the Health History Form and shipping instructions click on www.oeshealth.org.
By completing the 2008 Health Survey, asking your veterinarian to register your dog with VetCancer Registry and donating blood to the DNA Repository, you will help collect and maintain health information essential to research in cancer and other canine diseases. Most important, you will provide health information capable of preserving and protecting the health of our breed.
Thank you in advance for your support.
OESCA Health and Research Committee
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