Category Archives: dog care

Immunotherapy hope

There is a form of cancer treatment called immunotherapy, where antibodies inhibit tumor growth.  Until now, such therapy wasn’t available for dogs.  A research team at Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna have now developed antibodies to treat cancer in dogs.

The newly developed antibody brings hope for dogs. (Photo by:  Michael Bernkopf / Vetmeduni Vienna)

The newly developed antibody brings hope for dogs. (Photo by: Michael Bernkopf / Vetmeduni Vienna)

Since cancer cells bear very specific antigens on the surface, the corresponding antibodies bind to these molecules and inhibit tumor growth.  A destructive signal sent by the antibody to the inside of the cancer cell initiates its death. In a second mechanism, the immune system of the patient also destroys the “marked” tumor in a more efficient way.

Josef Singer and Judith Fazekas, both lead authors of the study, discovered that a receptor frequently found on human tumor cells (epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR) is nearly 100 percent identical with the EGF receptor in dogs. In human medicine EGFR is frequently used as the target of cancer immunotherapy because many cancer cells bear this receptor on their surface. The so-called anti-EGFR antibody binds to cancer cells and thus triggers the destruction of the cells. “Due to the high similarity of the receptor in humans and dogs, this type of therapy should work well in dogs too,” the scientists say. The binding site of the antibody to EGFR in man and dogs differs only in respect of four amino acids.

The head of the study, Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim, explains as follows: “We expect dogs to tolerate these anti-cancer antibodies well. This will be investigated in clinical studies in the future and is expected to greatly improve the treatment as well as the diagnosis of cancer in dogs.”

The newly developed antibody provides an additional benefit for dogs. As in human medicine, antibodies can be coupled with signal molecules. When the antibody binds to a cancer cell in the organism, the coupled antibody – in this case a radioactive isotope – can be rendered visible and is thus able to show where tumors and even metastases are located. When the selected isotope also contributes to the decay of cancer cells, the approach is known as “theranostics” (therapy and diagnostics).

In veterinary medicine, immunotherapy will be employed for the treatment of mammary ridge cancer (milk line cancer) in dogs. It may also be used as part of a combination therapy.

The team have published their study results in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Source: Vetmeduni Vienna media release

Fairy dog mother?

I have found that most ‘dog people’ I meet support various charities that show their love of dogs. I am no exception. Today, however, I stumbled across a special charity that would allow me to become a Fairy Dog Mother.

They are Fairy DogParents, a non-profit in the state of Massachusetts.  The founder’s dog, Ladybug, was the inspiration behind the initiative.  Ladybug was already a senior dog when she was adopted from a shelter and her adoptive family considered themselves lucky that they could afford Ladybug’s medications for kidney disease, dementia and other ailments.  When Ladybug had to be put to sleep, her owner asked that the vet’s office re-distribute Ladybug’s un-used medication to someone who could use it.

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

And from there, the idea grew.  There are many dogs who are surrendered to shelters because of economics.  Their families simply can’t afford their care, particularly as they age or develop special health conditions.

Fairy DogParents has a simple application process for owners in need.  They serve Massachusetts residents only but hope to expand.  As with most non-profits, they are always in need of donations of goods, money and time.  Want to be a Fairy Dog Mother?  Follow the link below:

Fairy Dog Parent

Dog ACL Injuries – Know Your Options

DoggyMom.com:

ACL injuries – know your options – this is a great message for anyone whose dog has been diagnosed with a cruciate ligament injury.

In my canine massage and rehab practice, I work with dogs from the acute injury stage through to rehabilitation.  Many owners would prefer not to have surgery, for a variety of reasons including concerns about the costs and post-surgery care responsibilities.  Low level laser therapy, massage, acupressure, nutrition and weight control, plus other techniques like targeted exercise programs and braces can effectively be used to support dogs with cruciate injuries.  In some cases, surgery is definitely required and rehab is important.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Originally posted on allmycaninecompanions:

IMG_6434

Lately, perhaps because the weather is warm, I’ve encountered a lot of people during our walks asking me about Alex’s brace, and I am more than happy to stop for a couple of minutes and chat with them.  Do you know what I found surprising?  Every single pet parent that asked me about Alex’s brace told me the same thing, “I thought that the only option for an ACL injury was surgery,” to what I responded, “No, that is not the only option”.  By the way, I do not get any monetary compensation from WoundWear Inc., what I like to do is talk about the products I buy for Alex and Bella and give you my poin of view, a consumer’s point of view. 

IMG_6434

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked:

What is your dog wearing?  Is it a brace?  Is she injured?  Alex is wearing a brace…

View original 292 more words

Treating enlarged prostate (BPH) in dogs

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the medical term for an enlarged prostate.   The condition affects older, entire dogs and humans.

The most common clinical sign of BPH in dogs is bloody fluid dripping from the penis not associated with urination. In severe cases it can obstruct the colon and result in constipation.

A new method to treat dogs with BPH is pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF).  PEMF is a noninvasive method that generates both an electrical and magnetic field and is used in orthopedics, neurology, and urology.  Because PEMF has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory effect with increased healing and blood circulation, a research team decided to apply the technology to improve blood flow to the prostate and reduce the size of the gland.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany

The research study involved 20 dogs with BPH. They received treatment with PEMF for 5 minutes, twice a day for three weeks. The device was simply held over the skin where the prostate is located.

The results were pretty amazing.   After 3 weeks, the average reduction of the prostate was 57%.   There was no interference with semen quality, testosterone levels or libido.   There was also a progressive reduction in resistance of blood flow in the dorsal branch of the prostatic artery, as seen with Doppler scanning.

Source:  Raffaella Leoci, Giulio Aiudi, Fabio Silvestre, Elaine Lissner, Giovanni Michele Lacalandra (2014). “Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on prostate volume and vascularity in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A pilot study in a canine model.” The Prostate. June 9, 2014. (Available online)

 

What is a senior dog?

This graphic, provided by The Senior Dogs Project, shows how a dog’s age is determined in part by its size.  Smaller dogs have a longer lifespan and so are classified as senior (or geriatric) at a higher age.

A Dog’s Age in Human Years
Age Up to 20 lbs 21-50 lbs 51-90 lbs Over 90 lbs
5 36 37 40 42
6 40 42 45 49
7 44 47 50 56
8 48 51 55 64
9 52 56 61 71
10 56 60 66 78
11 60 65 72 86
12 64 69 77 93
13 68 74 82 101
14 72 78 88 108
15 76 83 93 115
16 80 87 99 123
17 84 92 104 Red numbers =
senior

Blue numbers =
geriatric
18 88 96 109
19 92 101 115
20 96 105 120
Chart developed by Dr. Fred L. Metzger, DVM, State College, PA. Courtesy of Pfizer Animal Health.

 

Bark For Your Park!

Bark for your Park

There are 15 finalists for this year’s Bark for your Park contest, sponsored by PetSafe.

PetSafe evaluated the availability of land, civic leader support, population size, and the total number of votes in the first round of the contest to come up with the finalists.

The contest supports dog parks because they provide a venue and opportunity for dogs to get vital exercise and socialization they need, which are two major factors in reducing behavior issues.  People tend to meet other dog owners, trainers and pet professionals at dog parks and are able to exchange information and resources that can further encourage responsible dog ownership.

You have until July 31 to vote.  Popular vote will determine the winner, who will receive $100,000. Additionally, the runner-up city in each small, medium and large category will win $25,000. The Bark from Your Heart award winner, which will be the city with the highest vote to opportunity to vote, will win $25,000.

Winners will be announced on August 7.

The finalists are:

  • Auburn, NY
  • Beckley, WV
  • Carrollton, TX
  • East Hartford, CT
  • Enfield, NH
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Manassas Park, VA
  • Port Chester, NY
  • Potsdam, NY
  • Sanford, NC
  • Springfield, IL
  • Sulphur Springs, TX
  • Taylor, MI
  • Tehachapi, CA
  • Waverly, IA

Trial Results Promising for Curing Puppies’ Parvo

ABC News is reporting that a North Dakota company, Avianax, has treated about 50 puppies in seven states resulting in a 90 percent cure rate for canine parvovirus. Parvo spreads through animal waste and direct contact between dogs and is a major problem in animal shelters.  Read and listen to more below:

Trial Results Promising for Curing Puppies’ Parvo – ABC News.

Petco Removing All Dog and Cat Treats Made in China From Store Shelves

Petco is a major pet store chain in the USA.  It has announced that it is removing all Chinese-made treats from its shelves, after many concerns about pets getting sick from jerky treats made in China.  It looks liked Petsmart is due to follow…

Do you know where your dog’s treats are made?  Are they safe?

Petco Removing All Dog and Cat Treats Made in China From Store Shelves.

A vaccine for canine osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a highly aggressive bone tumor that affects at least 10,000 dogs annually in the United States, alone.

Photo by osteosarcomaindogs.org

Photo by osteosarcomaindogs.org

It is estimated that 90-95 percent of canine osteosarcoma subjects have microscopic metastatic disease (spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis). Standard of care includes removal of the primary tumor—usually by amputation—followed by chemotherapy. Systemic chemotherapy given after amputation delays the development of metastatic disease; however, despite treatment, most dogs die of the disease within one year of diagnosis.

A new option may be available in the future if Dr. Nicola Mason’s research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine produces satisfactory results. Mason, an assistant professor of medicine and a Board-certified ACVIM Diplomate in Small Animal Internal Medicine, is evaluating the first vaccine for canine osteosarcoma.

The approach harnesses the power of the dog’s immune system, “training” it to seek out and destroy cancer cells that remain after amputation and chemotherapy.

Over a century ago, an orthopedic surgeon named William Coley recognized that human sarcoma patients with concurrent bacterial infections that caused high fevers had improved overall survival times compared to those sarcoma patients without infection. This led him to develop a therapeutic concoction of live bacteria that he injected into patients with bone sarcomas. He documented improved survival and in some cases, complete remission in individuals with the aggressive disease by using this early form of “immune therapy.”

Mason’s team is employing similar immune therapeutic strategy to treat dogs with osteosarcoma that have undergone the standard of care treatment (amputation and chemotherapy) to prevent metastatic disease. “The concept is that administration of the Listeria-based (genetically modified bacteria) vaccine will activate the patient’s immune system and educate it to recognize cells that express the target molecule,” says Mason.

Dogs are given the live bacterial vaccine intravenously, Mason explains, and it induces a mild transient fever on the day of vaccination. The dogs are usually treated as outpatients and return home the same day. “We have found highly encouraging results when the vaccine is given to patients that have no evidence of metastatic disease at the time of the study enrollment, which is three weeks after the last chemotherapy is administered. Four out of the first five dogs vaccinated are alive at least two years after their initial diagnosis, which is more than twice their expected survival duration. The vaccine has not yet shown any serious short- or long-term side effects, either.”

Mason says the results have led researchers to evaluate whether this vaccine may be able to directly target and kill the bone tumor itself, perhaps eliminating the need for amputation in the future.

Source:  American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine media release

Support for a healthy dog

Preventive healthcare is essential both for you and your dog.  In the USA, the Partners for Healthy Pets website aims to help pet owners understand the value of preventive healthcare.  You can even register your dog to receive reminders that it is time for their annual checkup.

The site contains useful information about annual checkups, weight management, and other issues.  Here’s just one example to encourage good weight management.

If you have a 20 pound dog,

A treat of one hot dog....

a treat of one hot dog….

...is the human equivalent of eating 2 1/2 hamburgers!

…is the human equivalent of eating 2 1/2 hamburgers!

The site also contains a searchable database for veterinarians and veterinary hospitals.  Worth bookmarking if you are one of my USA readers.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand