534 — Changing the Conversation on Cancer Diagnosis in Dogs


Changing the Conversation on Cancer Diagnosis in Dogs

Dr. Angelo Marco, DVM and Dr. Andi Flory, DVM join host Laura Reeves for an exciting conversation about advances in early cancer detection. PetDx’s OncoK9 test is able to “identify a biomarker of cancer that comes from cancer cells” from a simple blood draw, according to Dr. Flory.

Dr. Andi Flory, DVM, Chief Medical Officer at PetDX.

Flory, Chief Medical Officer at PetDx, said the OncoK9 test has the potential to revolutionize our ability to detect cancer in patients, potentially even before they start to show signs and symptoms.

While the blood test identifies a variety of cancers, it is most successful at finding the “big three:” Lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma.

“Those big three,” Flory said, “that detection rate is really high. It’s 85% and those are the most aggressive cancers that we see in dogs. So the fact that we have the potential to identify those really aggressive cancers sooner, it’s just amazing.

“The way that would kind of work, is if you think about dogs that are at high risk of cancer because of they’re getting older, for example, we know that the risk of cancer increases with age. Or because of their breed. You’re certainly aware there are some breeds that just get a lot of cancer, unfortunately. If we think about testing those individuals as a screening test, like as an annual test before they’re showing any clinical signs you know while they’re still healthy. If we can identify cancer while they’re still feeling good, then we may have a better chance of controlling it longer term.

“I think about the cases that we get almost universally when we discover hemangiosarcoma. It’s because the tumor is bleeding or it’s already spread and the metastatic lesions are bleeding and that often results in a middle of the night visit to the emergency room. It’s a snap decision. Maybe your dog looked normal that morning and then all of a sudden you’re in the ER being told your dog has a tumor on the spleen and it’s bleeding and we need to do emergency surgery and we need to do a blood transfusion and there’s really only one decision that you can make right now. It’s shocking. It’s traumatic. It’s painful for the dog. It’s all of those things and it happens so unexpectedly and it’s so emotional.”

Dr. Angelo Marco, DVM and his Border Terrier at Palm Springs Kennel Club.

“The important thing to know,” Marco said, “is that when we see a cancer signal on this test, it’s an indication of malignant tumor cells in the body right now. It’s not something that they were cured of five years ago and it’s not a predisposition test, so it’s not something that is predicting, it is something that is there in the body right now. So that really highlights the importance of going forward on that “cancer hunt” to find where is this cancer signal is coming from.”

Be sure to listen to today’s episode in full and visit PetDx for additional information.


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