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. While much research is being done, most types of cancer in dogs are poorly understood and treatment options are often limited.
Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands) and osteosarcoma (bone cancer) are among the tumors that are commonly seen in dogs.
  • Lymphoma accounts for approximately 20% of all canine tumors, and >80% of cancers originating from blood cells. Most of the time, lymphoma appears as swollen glands (lymph nodes) that can be seen or felt under the neck, in front of the shoulders, or behind the knee.
  • Occasionally, lymphoma can affect lymph nodes that are not visible or palpable from outside the body, such as those inside the chest or in the abdomen. In these cases, dogs may accumulate fluid in the chest that makes breathing difficult, or they may have digestive problems (diarrhea, vomiting, or painful abdomen). If left untreated, dogs with lymphoma will generally succumb to the disease within 3 to 4 weeks
  • Osteosarcoma accounts for 85% of skeletal cancers. Osteosarcoma (OSA), or bone cancer, affects 8,000 - 10,000 dogs in the United States annually. Large and giant breeds are at the highest risk for developing osteosarcoma, possibly due to the fact that bone cells at the growth plates must divide many times to create the very long bones that are characteristic in these breeds. However further research has been done suggesting that inherited risk factors are involved.
  • Osteosarcomas generally occur in the limbs, however, these tumors can arise anywhere in the long bones, as well as in flat bones (ribs, skull, and spine).  Roughly 10 - 15 percent of Rottweilers, a mastiff-type breed and 15 - 20 percent of Greyhounds, a long-limbed hound-type breed, get the disease.
  • Osteosarcoma is always a life-threatening disease because it is highly metastatic, making treatment of this type of cancer especially difficult. The standard of care for osteosarcoma of the limbs includes amputation or limb-sparing surgery, followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. The median survival for dogs with osteosarcoma treated with surgery alone is approximately 100 days.
The following links offer more information on the disease that steals too many of our Mastiffs at too young of an age.
Cancer in Mastiffs
Mast Cell Tumours