New Urine Test For Bladder Cancer

This Article was sent to me by Dr. Marcia Dawson, DVM – STCA Health Trust Chair.
Exciting news from the lab of Dr. Matthew Breen at NC State! NEW URINE TEST FOR THE DETECTION OF TCC…
Dr. Matthew Breen of NC State has developed a new urine test for the detection of bladder cancer (TCC) in dogs, and this test will soon be available to Scottie owners everywhere. Dr. Breen’s CADET test works by detecting the presence of a specific mutation in a gene called the BRAF gene. This mutation is present in 85% of the cases of canine TCC, which gives this test a very high sensitivity rating. This mutation is not present in the urine of healthy dogs or dogs that have noncancerous polyps or infection, so there is no confusion about test results. By collecting a free catch urine sample and sending this sample to Dr. Breen’s lab, we will be able to test our dogs and have results back within a couple of weeks. Furthermore, this test will pick up the presence of the mutation many months before there are any signs or symptoms of TCC in our Scotties. This super early diagnosis will allow for much earlier interventional therapies, allowing for a greater chance of making a difference in the course of the disease.
The new CADET test will be available for purchase by a year subscription plan, which will include 3 tests to be returned to Dr. Breen’s lab every 4 months, with overnight shipping included in the cost. The particulars such as how to order and the cost of the subscription will be announced soon.

So stay tuned to www.stca.biz for more info and be sure to share this announcement with your veterinarian!
Marcia Dawson DVM

The miracle of Dr. Breen’s CADETSM BRAF test is that it can detect the presence of the mutation in remarkably few cells shed in urine, long before there are any symptoms of TCC/UC, before blood is noticed in urine, before the straining to urinate and frequency of urination, and even in some cases, before an abnormality can be seen on ultrasound. In short, this new CADETSM test offers the gift of time.
The CADETSM BRAF Mutation Detection Assay is now available at a substantial discount on AKC.org for AKC registrants. The test is available as an annual screener subscription package, allowing owners to proactively test their dogs on a regular basis. The service pack includes three tests, one to be carried out every four months, instructions, urine pots for sample collection, and prepaid FedEx shipping labels to send samples directly to the testing laboratory.
For breeders, Sentinel Biomedical and the AKC offer a bulk pricing so that breeders can screen all their dogs at once for a reduced rate. Once the testing laboratory receives samples, owners and breeders will receive results within two weeks.
THE FULL ARTICLE MAY BE SEEN ON THE   AKC WEBSITE–   SEARCH BLADDER CANCER ARTICLE BY Dr. Marcia Dawson, DVM

New Cushings Study

This Article was published in Scottieshowdog.com, by Jim and Ginger McAfee.
Several of my Scotties participated in the Research for Atypical Cushing’s in Scotties from the Virginia-Maryland College of Vet Medicine for a couple of years, in fact we had blood drawn at our Rescue Picnic one year. Here is the preliminary findings. I received this from Mindy Quigley, the Clinical Research Coordinator, and have her permission to forward this. I asked her if it made any difference if the dog was spayed or neutered and she said there was no difference. It will be published in a couple of months and she will send me the link when it is up. This is very interesting and you might want to share it with your vet.   Ginger

A member of our Club The San Francisco Bay STC also had her Scottie “Abagayle” Sweeney participate in this study. Sue also has this same report.
From: Quigley, Mindy
Subject: Scottie research study update
Dear Scottie supporters,

Thank you to those veterinarians and owners who participated in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s study of Atypical Cushing’s in Scottish terriers. We wanted to provide an update on our research findings for those who may be interested in learning more.
Atypical Cushing’s in Scotties
Cushing’s disease is a chronic debilitating disorder in dogs. Scotties have an unusually high incidence of Cushing’s. It can contribute to the development of diabetes, obesity, immune system problems, inappropriate urination, and other negative health outcomes. In normal dogs, the pituitary gland and adrenal glands produce hormones necessary for the function of many systems in the body. If something goes wrong in these glands and certain hormones are overproduced, then Cushing’s can develop. These abnormalities are often detected by observing clinical signs and when routine blood work shows elevations in a liver protein called ALP.
Our Earlier Findings
Preliminary data indicate that in Scottish Terriers, the cause of atypical Cushing’s appears to be due to excessive amounts of noncortisol steroids, which is an atypical form of the disease. These findings prompted the group at the vet school here to speculate that there might be a unique underlying cause for atypical Cushing’s in this breed. The study you participated in was designed to test those theories.

Our preliminary research, which has been ongoing for several years, had already figured out a few things:

  • In the most common form of Cushing’s, excessive amounts of a single hormone from the pituitary gland signals the adrenal gland to overproduce cortisol. However, in Scotties excessive amounts of sex hormones, not cortisol, are observed.
  • This increased production of adrenal sex hormones is not due to excessive amounts of a variety of pituitary signaling hormones.
  • These elevated concentrations of sex hormones are the cause for the increased ALP values commonly seen in these dogs.
  • There is no indication of adrenal cancer as a cause for this increased production of sex hormones.
  • The magnitude of ALP elevations increases over time, but pituitary and adrenal regulation do not change.

The Virginia-Maryland college team identified 3 candidate genes in a very small pool of patients which are uniquely expressed in Scotties with atypical disease compared to normal Scotties and other breeds with Cushing’s disease, and undertook the study you participated in to understand how these genes might influence the development of atypical Cushing’s.
The Newest Study
The latest study you participated in found that there was indeed a genomic variation in Scottish terriers that was associated with increased serum ALP activity. The variation was located on the same chromosome as a gene responsible for inactivation of sex steroids. Genes can be active (expressed) or inactive (not expressed). If genes are overexpressed, their effect can increase. If they are under expressed, their effect is reduced. In Scotties, the sex steroid inactivation gene was under expressed in comparison to other breeds with Cushing’s disease (pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism). We suggest the gene variation seen in Scotties may be linked with “turning off” this sex steroid inactivation gene, leading to increased concentrations of sex steroids. We believe the higher concentrations of these sex steroids may explain commonly observed liver and ALP changes seen in Scottish terriers.
Questions?
The results will be published in academic journals, shared with the AKC’s Canine Health Foundation, and published on the AVMA’s clinical research website. We hope that better understanding of the mechanisms of this disease in Scotties can lead to better treatments for affected dogs.

If you have any questions about this research, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Mindy Quigley
Clinical Trials Coordinator
Veterinary Clinical Research Office
Virginia Tech
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
205 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Office Phone: 540-231-1363
Web: http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/clinical-trials/

 

 

Rattlesnake Bites – To Vaccinate, or Not

       I recently purchased a 7 month old Scottish Terrier puppy from South California and in reviewing the health records I saw my puppy had received a rattlesnake vaccination. Knowing little about the vaccination I decided to do some quick research about the vaccination. Regardless of the breed of dog, knowing about the risks can make a difference.
     What is the vaccination? The vaccination is an injectable vaccine, first developed by Red Rock Biologics, a company located near Sacramento, California. This vaccination is specific to a common rattlesnake found in the California, the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. (Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines, 2016)
     What is risk and should you consider this vaccination? Like any vaccination there are pros and cons and you discuss the risk with your veterinarian. Some quick background information may helpful in considering this vaccination. A first consideration is your location and the likelihood you may encounter a poisonous snake. Just like giving my Scotties their heartworm pill, it is yet another medication I worry about and why give you dog a medication when the risk is low. In my breeder’s case, they lived in an area where rattlesnakes are commonly found amongst urban living. My puppy’s breeder happens to live in the foothills of South California, and their property was in a semi-rural environment. As a result all six puppies in the litter and all the adult dogs have all been vaccinated.
According the Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), a Nationwide Insurance company states that “approximately 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten annually in the United States from venomous snakes.” (Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs, 2016) While the statistic may sound alarming, your decision should factor in risks. Pet owners face a long list of potential threats, and this is one more to add to the list.
     Are the Vaccinations Safe, Side-Effects and are they Effective? This depends on who you ask. The vaccination has been United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) since October, 2004, and in use in California since July 2003. Dosage may vary as directed by your veterinarian, but according the manufacturer of the vaccine; “the first time your dog is vaccinated, we recommend an initial vaccine injection followed by a booster dose about one month later. We recommend then boostering each subsequent year.” (Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines, 2016).
UC Davis describes the side effects as minimal and flu-like if they occur at all, but if you are concerned, read the short article used in this summary. The recommend (UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine, 2016)
     What is the cost of vaccination? The vaccination costs will vary from $20.00 to $40.00 per injection according the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. (UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine, 2016)More Information? The websites used in this summary provide additional information, some in easy to read, frequently asked question format that provides further information, and the UC Davis site does address some health concerns and provides a more of objective overall view of the subject.
     Works Cited:
Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs. (2016, July 10). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from What Pet Ownders Should Know: http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health/Rattlesnake-Vaccine-for-Dogs.aspx

Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccines. (2016, July 10th). Retrieved July 10, 2016, from Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.redrockbiologics.com/rattlesnake_vaccine_faq.php

UCDAVIS Veterinary Medicine. (2016, July 10). Retrieved July 10`, 2016, from Avoic Snakebite dueing Summer Pet Outings: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/whatsnew/article.cfm?id=1883

Many thanks to  SFBSTC member Jim Nolte for sharing this information.

Scottish Terrier Health Information

Scottish Terriers are known as a hearty and healthy breed. They have a minimum of genetic problems and good longevity. However, if you expect a long and healthy life for your dog you must provide a well balanced diet, adequate exercise, regular grooming, and annual medical checkups.

Allergies

After a winter of El Nino and its resulting mold, spring has arrived with irritating pollens from trees, grass, and flowers causing many to sniffle, sneeze and rub itchy eyes. We are not the only ones to suffer and though our dogs may not show the same symptoms to allergies as we do, they also suffer. In dogs, pollens can cause excessive itching leading to hair loss and infections.  We have found that simply supplementing our dog’s daily diet with a food supplement containing marine and vegetable oils rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids has eliminated all itching and resulting hair loss. This supplement can be obtained from your vet, pet store or pet supply catalog in either liquid or capsule form. Aside from providing nutritional benefits they also have antihistamine effects and are very safe for your pet.

Another common allergy can be caused by the saliva of the flea. Symptoms are itching and loss of hair most usually apparent over the back and at the base of the tail. With today’s excellent topical solutions no one should have trouble ridding their dogs of flea infestation and eliminating them from their environment. We have two cats that were a source of fleas but with the application of a topical solution administered once a month we have no fleas and do not have to treat our dogs. Simultaneous spraying of the inside and outside environment should also eliminate the present fleas and aid in future flea infestation.

A less common cause of irritation to our pets are food allergies. Corn and wheat are common causes and are present in many pet foods. For seven years we have limited the intake of corn and wheat in conjunction with a supplement of fatty acids and have had no itching or skin problems. Without the addition of the fatty acid all of our Scotties have had excess itching during times of heavy pollination.

To treat infections resulting from scratching due to allergies, consult your veterinarian. It may be necessary to administer antibiotics. Steroids have been commonly used and while they have an anti-inflammatory effect at lower doses, higher doses of steroids can actually inhibit or suppress the immune system. Steroids may be effective for short-term treatment but they can have dangerous side effects. With longer therapy the development of Cushing’s disease, kidney and liver disease, and urinary tract infections can occur. Since allergies are generally for the life of the animal it is imperative that treatments other than steroids be used.

Antihistamines can also he used if diet supplementation and flea control is not effective. They are safer than steroids for long term treatment but animals do not consistently respond to antihistamine treatment. Different antihistamines often have to be tried until one is found that is effective. This should only be undertaken with the help of your veterinarian.

‘Tis the season!