My dog has cancer – what next?

Finding support and trusted medical resources are the first steps when your dog has been diagnosed with cancer. A new database called Canine Cancer: Take C.H.A.R.G.E. (Canine Health and Registry Exchange) is a collection of incidence, prevalence and emotional-support information taken directly from dog owners and vets based on personal experience with canine cancer.

The database, overseen by eight leading veterinarians who specialize in canine oncology and surgery, is open to the public and the first-of-its-kind resource that will help guide canine cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions from incidence rates reported on a large scale.

How common is cancer in dogs?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 1 in 4 dogs will, at some stage in their life, develop a tumor, and almost 50 percent of dogs over age 10 will develop cancer.

A multi-year Gallup survey of U.S. dog owners and a retrospective review of more than 35,000 anonymous canine patient records found that the percent of U.S. dogs newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021 was 2.8 percent — approximately five times the 0.57 percent incidence of newly diagnosed cancer in humans that year.

The survey also revealed that when a dog is diagnosed with cancer, the owner often suffers from depression and anxiety. But, if the owner is able to manage his dog’s cancer treatment side effects well, such as pain, urinary incontinence and diarrhea, his well-being improves.  

How will the canine cancer registry help with dog cancer treatment and care?

Using the information collected, dog owners and veterinarians can make more informed decisions about dog cancer diagnosis, treatment and care options.

“The information from Take C.H.A.R.G.E. will provide the first-ever national representation of the incidence and prevalence of canine cancer and will help inform decisions that advance the quality of life of both dogs with cancer and their owners,” says Lisa Conte, founder, president and CEO of the plant-based pharmaceutical company Jaguar Health, Inc., which launched the project.

The data may also help doctors better understand cancer in humans by keeping track of factors such as environmental risk, genetic determinants and evaluation of new treatment approaches.

My dog has cancer; how can I help?

The Take Charge registry will grow as pet owners and veterinary clinics upload medical records of dogs with cancer. It’s free to upload and the information remains anonymous and protected following General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines.

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