by Brad Roach, DVM
For those wanting to know whether their pets have cancer, there is a new laboratory that can offer the answer. Cancer is a common disease that affects dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. The signs of cancer are often nondescript and can mimic many other types of diseases, making the diagnosis of cancer challenging, and often invasive and expensive. Once diagnosed, veterinarians have had few tools available to effectively monitor the course of treatment or disease progression.
Now, the thymidine kinase (TK)—a measurement of dysregulated cellular proliferation, which actually tests for the amount of ribonucleic acid in the blood—is available in both canine and feline cancer panels and has been clinically proven effective on a wide variety of tumor types. When a suspicious mass is identified, or the pet presents with other indicators common with cancer, the cancer panel is used to detect the presence of neoplastic disease.
In addition, the C-reactive protein (CRP), a test used for wellness assessments, can help to provide a canine specific marker of inflammation, and the haptoglobin, a feline marker of inflammation, are indicators used to determine a haptoglobin cancer or neoplasia index, which can be used to tell if a pet is at risk in the high category or if further workup or careful watching is needed. Veterinarians can even use these numbers to follow the effectiveness of treatment over time.
The same lab can also run a pet’s vitamin D levels. It is growing increasingly obvious to many practitioners on the human side, as well as the animal side, that having low vitamin D3 is a risk factor for cancer and other chronic diseases. Since pets do not make this essential ingredient in their skin with sun exposure like people do, it is very important to optimize this component with good nutrition and monitoring.
Pet parents can put their minds at ease by utilizing the latest in testing technology, coupled with the time-tested and trusted holistic methods.
Dr. Brad Roach is a veterinarian at Wellington Parke Animal Clinic, 3001 Tinker Diagonal St., in Oklahoma City, and at Best Friends Animal Clinic, 1313 N. Harrison Ave., in Shawnee. For more information, call 405-605-6675 (Wellington) or 405-273-5617 (Best Friends), or visit BestFriendsAnimalClinic.vet