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Global snapshot of infectious canine cancer shows how to control the disease

last modified May 27, 2016 11:55 AM
While countries with dog control policies have curbed an infectious and gruesome canine cancer, the disease is continuing to lurk in the majority of dog populations around the world, particularly in areas with many free-roaming dogs. This is according to research published in the open access journal BMC Veterinary Research.

The survey of veterinarians across the world confirmed that Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumour (CTVT) has a global reach. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that the countries and areas with the lowest rates of the disease also had strong dog control policies. These include managing the number of street dogs; spay and neuter practices; and quarantine procedures for imported dogs.

CTVT first originated as a tumour in a single dog that lived thousands of years ago, and by becoming transmissible, this cancer has become the oldest, most widespread and prolific cancer known in nature. It causes tumours of the genitals, and is spread by the transfer of living cancer cells between dogs during sex. CTVT is one of only two known transmissible cancers – the other has ravaged the wild Tasmanian devil population.

Until now, no systematic global survey of the disease had been performed. To understand the global distribution and prevalence of the disease, the scientists sent a questionnaire to 645 veterinarians and animal health workers around the world. The replies showed that CTVT is endemic in dogs in at least 90 of 109 countries surveyed. Read more..