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Foreword from Vicki Adams, Acting Chief Executive

Whilst this is my favourite season with the smell of wood fires burning and the still warm afternoons, it is also becoming a very busy time of year for the charity. We are in the midst of a string of events that we are attending (see ACTivities) and so my car has been loaded and unloaded and reloaded with the accumulation of stuff we seem to need to take to shows so many times that I think she could pack herself! We met up with some lovely golden retrievers in September for a fun weekend of camping and golden retriever rally with the G.R.R.R. near Thetford. They have chosen us to donate money to in aid of cancer research this year so we were very happy to go along for the weekend even if our little whippety cross felt a bit out of place with her brindle colouring and inability to retrieve anything for anyone.

Being based in Norfolk, we spend a great deal of time travelling the A14 to head west across the country. We will be in Telford for the British Veterinary Nursing Association Congress in early October and will then be back in Birmingham for the Supreme Cat Show later in October and hope to make lots of new friends as well as catch up with those we met last year. I will also be attending the London Vet Show to get the message out to the veterinary profession that the ACT is more active than ever before.


Thank you

A huge thank you to all who have sent us donations and raised funds for the charity. We really appreciated everything you do for us. We have ordered new wristbands and lanyards and are in the process of printing some Christmas cards. We are still looking for more trustees and regional representatives to assist with fundraising and educational activities. If you are interested in being involved or just want to find out more, please do get in touch with us.



Introducing Claire Everard, Communications Manager

I started working part time for the Animal Cancer Trust in February. My job is to put together information sheets about various types of animal cancer, produce pet care posters and I help with the day to day communication, social media and office tasks. I also attend events and help with fundraising and one of the highlights this year was meeting Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick during the London Pet Show; another was visiting the headquarters of the medical detection dog team to learn more about what they do. I am an animal lover and have 4 rescue cats and 4 hens as my animal companions. I also assist with hedgehog rescue and rehabilitation, and volunteer at a local cat rescue. I understand how worrying it can be when our companion animals are ill, and how important it is to have access to up to date information to help get that all important diagnosis and to help inform decision making when it comes to treatment.



So far this year we have attended Crufts, several cat shows hosted by Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester, London Pet Show and Dickleburgh village festival. We plan to be present at other events during the year and are in the process of arranging to give talks to community groups. We have a lot of new information sheets about various types of cancers in cats, dogs, ferrets, rats and rabbits, some of which are available now on our website and there are more coming in the near future. We are also investigating ways to support ethical research, and so it was a pleasure for Claire to meet the Medical Detection Dogs team on a recent visit to their headquarters in Bletchley. We are discussing the possibility of working with them to use these specially trained dogs to detect cancer in samples from companion animals.

We would also like to remind you that we have two very special sections on our website. The first is the Friends Remembered gallery where you can upload a picture of your companion animal who is sadly no longer with us and write a tribute to them. We also have a new section where you can celebrate your cancer Survivors stories and help others who may be in a similar situation.


The importance of an accurate cancer diagnosis

Cancer is a tricky disease that presents under many guises, and indeed can even be mistaken for other illnesses. Cancer can develop very slowly or it can progress rapidly. Therefore, it is important to get an early and accurate diagnosis, before the cancer becomes too invasive or starts to spread to other parts of the body, in order to have the most treatment options available and to maximise the effects of treatment. Although cancer is more likely to develop in older animals, young pets can be affected as well. Some animals are particularly good at hiding signs of illness and this can mean that cancer can be quite advanced before it is detected. This is why it is so important to be vigilant for any signs that something may be wrong, not just lumps or bumps, but also changes in behaviour such as appetite and toileting habits. It can really help your vet if you give them as much information as possible so that they can start to piece together an accurate diagnosis using what you tell them along with a physical examination and clinical tests.

Dog breeds and their predisposition to cancer

After reading an interesting review article by Jane M Dobson of the Cambridge University Veterinary School, we thought it would be useful to summarise the information in a table. It is based on a review of published literature on canine breed susceptibility to a range of cancers. However, it is important to remember that just because a particular breed has an increased risk of developing a particular form of cancer it does not mean that your dog definitely will develop cancer. Rather, it allows you to find out more about a particular type of cancer and to look out for signs which will hopefully allow for an earlier diagnosis which should increase the treatability and overall prognosis. For some breeds the risk of death due to cancer is reduced due to competing risks such as heart disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels or obstructive airway syndrome in bulldogs.

Type of cancer

Breeds with an elevated risk of developing this cancer

Histocytic sarcoma or

Bernese mountain dog, flat-coated retrievers

Malignant Histiocytosis



Large breeds such as Rottweiler, great Dane, Irish wolfhound

(bone cancer)

greyhound, Saint Bernard, Doberman, German shepherd


Irish setter, golden retriever, Borzoi, Leonberger


German shepherd, golden retriever.

(blood vessel tumours)


Mast Cell Tumour

boxer, bull dog, bullmastiff, Boston terrier, Staffordshire bull

(Skin tumours)

terrier, Rhodesian ridgeback, Weimarana, Labrador retriever,


beagle, golden retriever


boxer, bull mastiff, basset hound, Saint Bernard, Scottish terrier


Airedale terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Labrador retriever,




Chow Chow, golden retriever, Pekingese, poodle, Schnauzer

Scottish terrier, cocker spaniel

Mammary tumours

poodles, spaniels, Puli, English setter, pointer, dachshund,


German shepherd, Maltese terrier, Yorkshire terrier

Brain tumour

golden retriever, boxer



Adapted from Dobson J (2013), IRSN Vet Sci 2013, 941275, Published online Jan 17, 2013, doi: 10.1155/2013/941275 available at as Open Access.

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