3 Breed Groups Fund Canine Cancer Study

Researchers will examine hemangiosarcoma, which hits golden retrievers, Portuguese water dogs and boxers especially hard.

Portuguese water dogs and golden retrievers are at high risk of developing hemangiosarcoma.

Cioli/I-5 Studio

Researchers led by University of Minnesota Professor Jaime Modiano are launching a study of hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer in dogs.

The disease is prevalent in golden retrievers, Portuguese water dogs and boxers. Three breed groups— the Golden Retriever Foundation, the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation and the American Boxer Charitable Foundation—pledged $432,000 to support the research project.

“Hemangiosarcoma is the cause of death for an estimated one out of every five golden retrievers in the United States,” said Dr. Modiano, VMD, Ph.D., of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Portuguese water dogs and boxers also have an especially high risk for this disease, which is devastating for all dogs.”

The research team wants to learn more about hemangiosarcoma and possibly find ways to prevent it.

“Hemangiosarcoma is incurable partly because the cancer is detected at a very advanced stage when it is resistant to conventional therapies,” Modiano said. “Thus, an unconventional approach to improve outcomes for hemangiosarcoma patients will involve effective methods for early detection and for disease prevention.”

The American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation announced the $432,000 grant Jan. 6 and will oversee the funds and the scientific progress.

“The collaboration between these three breed club foundations and their dedication to canine health has really driven this project forward,” said the Canine Health Foundation’s chief scientific officer, Diane Brown, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. AVCP.

The Portuguese Water Dog Foundation supported Modiano’s 2005 work to develop a diagnostic test to detect hemangiosarcoma.

“Our foundation is honored to be included in this unprecedented collaboration,” President Carol Mattingley said.

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