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New study may improve cancer treatment for dogs
The finding could lead to the development of a non-invasive prognostic test.
Finding could be used to assess how best to treat dogs with mast cell tumours

Scientists have successfully identified genetic changes in canine mast cell tumours that are linked to the spread of tumours.

The finding, made by vets at the Animal Health Trust and the University of Liverpool, could one day be used to determine how best to treat dogs with mast cell tumours, and may also promote the development of new treatments.

Scientists also say the finding could lead to the development of a non-invasive prognostic test which would tell vets if a cutaneous mast cell tumour is likely to spread, and therefore if chemotherapy is appropriate.

The availability of such a test would help ensure dogs receive the right cancer treatment and would reduce the number of dogs who receive treatment that is not beneficial. The findings have been published in the journal PLoS One.

“The findings of the research study is the result of many years work and are important because so many dogs are affected by cutaneous mast cell tumours,” explained study leader Dr Mike Starkey. “Cancer affects one in four dogs and research is the only way to fight cancer.

“I’m hugely grateful to everyone who has supported my team and this research to-date, and I believe this is a really exciting time as we can begin to see how our work can improve the outcome for dogs with cancer.”
 
He continued: “We spent a lot of time collecting a suitable group of mast cell tumour samples to allow us to study tumour spread, but we are very excited about the results and their potential relevance to dog health.”

The next step of the research is to further validate the accuracy of the results by conducting a larger retrospective study. To do this, the scientists will require the help of vets all over the country to collect the necessary tumour biopsies.

It is hoped the study will be completed within two years and work to develop the test could begin soon as 2021.

 

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”