Since opening its doors in early 2013, the Kennel Club Cancer
Centre at the AHT has treated a fifth more patients than it
anticipated. More than 250 radiation doses have been administered
to 30 individual dogs, from more than 15 breeds with seven
different types of cancer.
The AHT's clinical cancer team has also treated more than 150 new
cancer patients and given more than 200 doses of chemotherapy. In
addition, many patients seen have contributed valuable information
to the charity's ongoing cancer research programme.
Breeds which have benefitted from the AHT's clinical cancer
expertise and the state-of-the-art facilities available in the new
Centre, include the Border Collie, Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Doberman,
English Bull Terrier, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer
Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier,
Labrador, Pug, Scottish Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier,
Weimaraner and Whippet.
Sue Murphy, Head of the AHT's Small Animal Centre and a Specialist
in Veterinary Oncology, said: "It's been a busy six months for the
team working within the Kennel Club Cancer Centre, but the Centre
is making a big difference for the animals we are seeing through
"We are now able to offer each and every patient the specific
treatment for its specific cancer. Being able to combine surgery
with chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy on one-site is far better
and less stressful.
"In addition by treating these animals here at the AHT, we are
able to gather information which will contribute to our on-going
cancer research. In time these patients may indirectly help us
improve cancer treatments for other dogs across the world."
Vets working in the Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT have to
date treated dogs with radiotherapy for a variety of different
cancers including; squamous-cell carcinoma, soft tissue sarcoma,
mast cell tumour, brain tumours, histiocytic sarcoma,
epitheliotropic lymphoma and melanoma.
Benson, a five year-old Golden Retriever, was one of the first
patients to be treated. He was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma
when he was just three years old, when a lump was found on his
front right leg. The lump was surgically removed, but two years on
the lump returned. After another operation to remove the lump
Benson was referred to the AHT for radiotherapy to treat the
disease left behind. Benson needed 12 doses of radiotherapy; three
a week for four weeks.
Sue added: "Benson tolerated the treatment really well and only
developed minimal side effects whilst receiving the treatment. He
went home at weekends to be with his family and we are very pleased
with his recovery.
"He now has a very good chance that his cancer has been
definitively cured thanks to the radiotherapy. Having had treatment
Benson now stands a much better chance of living a long, healthy
life free from cancer. When we treated Benson he had a routine
blood test taken to make sure he was safe to anaesthetise. His
owner's consented for the spare blood from that test to be stored.
We will be able to access Benson's DNA from this for research to
help dogs in the future.
"Every cancer case we treat at the AHT contributes towards
clinical and genetic research projects, helping us to better
understand the disease and find ways to more accurately diagnose
and treat it in the future."
The identification of inherited risk factors for cancer in dogs
is one aim of the AHT's cancer research, and studies are currently
being undertaken in several breeds that appear to have a risk of
developing a certain type of cancer. Currently scientists at the
AHT are getting closer to identifying the inherited risk factor for
a common type of skin cancer, mast cell tumours, in Golden
By comparing the DNA from dogs with and without the cancer, the
precise genetic alteration(s) which carries the risk can be
identified. It is hoped that a DNA test can then be developed to
easily identify dogs which carry the gene and are at an increased
risk of developing a mast cell tumour.
Dogs found to have an inherited risk can be closely monitored by
owners and vets for signs of the disease, which will hopefully lead
to earlier diagnosis and better treatment for that animal. The
genetic information can also be taken into account in breeding
programmes, to limit the number of dogs developing the cancer in
Steve Dean, Chairman of the Kennel Club, said: "We're delighted to
see such progress in the Kennel Club Cancer Centre. Whilst the
treatment, and recovery, of individual dogs is important, it is the
contribution the Centre is making to fighting cancer long-term
through research which is so significant.Research taking place now
at the centre could revolutionise the treatment of cancers and even
help prevent cancer in our dogs in the future, it is very exciting
to be a part of this programme."
To find out more about the AHT's work to fight cancer in animals
please visit www.aht.org.uk.