"Hemangiosarcomas are malignant tumors derived from the cells lining blood vessels (hem = blood, angio = vessel, sarcoma = tumor). Hemangiosarcoma is a common cancer in dogs accounting for approximately 5% of cases. Since blood vessels run throughout the body, hemangiosarcomas can develop anywhere. However, the most common sites are the skin, spleen, liver, and heart. Most hemangiosarcomas (except some appearing in the skin) are both locally aggressive and have a high likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body. These tumors are typically filled with blood and very fragile."2
"Canine lymphoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in dogs today, accounting for up to 24% of all new canine cancers. It is a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) and lymphoid tissues. Lymphoid tissue is normally present in many places in the body, including lymph nodes, spleen, liver, digestive tract, and bone marrow. In most cases, we do not know what causes lymphoma. The most common form of lymphoma in dogs is the involvement of one or more of the external lymph nodes."3
Mast Cell Tumors
"Mast cell tumors are the most common skin tumor in dogs, with between seven and 21 percent of all canine skin tumors being mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors do not have to involve the skin and can develop internally but most of the time there is skin involvement."4
"Bone cancer is a common cancer in dogs, especially in large and giant breeds. Approximately 85 percent of canine bone tumors are osteosarcomas (osteo = bone, sarcoma = cancer). Osteosarcomas are highly aggressive tumors, characterized by painful bone destruction where the tumor grows. Osteosarcoma commonly affects the limbs of dogs but can also occur in other parts of the body (skull, ribs, vertebrae, pelvis). It happens in smaller dogs but much less commonly than in larger breed dogs. In about 80 percent of patients, the cancer will spread to the lungs. The biological behavior, prognosis, and treatment of bone tumors depend on tumor type, primary location, and extent of disease spread. Various diagnostic tests such as X-rays, blood tests, and sometimes a biopsy are required to determine the most appropriate treatment."5
We are very pleased that our efforts since the inception of the committee in 2005 are starting to have an impact in the ability for the researchers to make headway in one of the most prevalent disease in Mastiffs, cancer. The research progress has been especially successful in one of the most common types of cancer in Mastiffs, Osteosarcoma.
It is the goal of the Mastiff Club of America Health Committee Cancer Sub-Committee to facilitate a program that simplifies the blood submission procedures that will make DNA readily accessible for several researchers to share. We are accomplishing this goal with the help of the MCOA DNA Sub-Committee and the general cooperation of the CHIC DNA Repository and OptiGen. We are also working on an outreach program to Veterinary Oncology Specialty Groups to reach Mastiff owners that seek cancer care and provide research information to them.
We especially need blood from veterans over the age of 8. The DNA from these unaffected dogs will be considered the control group to be compared to the DNA from Mastiffs affected with cancer. Please remember this when you take your older mastiffs in for their check ups.
Cancer research is vitally important as it is the most common cause of disease related death in dogs. The lifetime risk for cancer in our mastiffs is similar to that seen in people, approximately one of every two individuals will get cancer, and more than half of the affected dogs will die from this disease. According to a Morris Animal Foundation survey in 1997, cancer is the number killer of dogs at 47% and the number one concern of animal owners. Most of us have been touched by cancer in someway, whether it be ourselves, a family member, a friend or a beloved pet. We feel helpless and afraid just at the mention of the word. There are many brilliant scientists working on curing cancer, but they need our help. We can make a difference by providing them with the DNA that holds the answer to the diagnosis, cure and prevention of cancer. Please allow your Mastiffs to participate by donating blood samples to research. It is imperative that we reach our goals and have enough specimens submitted so that Mastiffs are the first in line to be studied as new research opportunities become available.