Vaccination to Prevent Dog Cancer?

Vaccine to Prevent Dog Cancer
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A vaccine for dog cancer? Who has ever heard of such a thing? If you were to ask the cancer community, a vaccine for dog cancer is near impossible.

The idea is out of this world to say the least. But, research is advancing, technology is advancing, and science is coming a long way. 

About Flint Animal Cancer Center

The vaccine will be offered through the Flint Animal Cancer Center (opened in 2002). Dr. Stephen Withrow, the Founding Director, began his veterinary journey in the late 1970’s, so there is no shortage of experience there.

When Dr. Withrow began his career, veterinarians were aware of cancer, but they knew it was fatal in nearly all cases. Due to this serious negative outcome, Dr. Withrow dedicated his career to studying cancer in an effort to save lives. 

Clinical Trials

It’s critical you understand what a clinical trial is before diving deeper. So, what is a clinical trial? A clinical trial is a research study or series of studies which help professionals improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of a condition.

Most clinical trials offer the ability to try out new, experimental procedures and/or prescriptions in an effort to prevent or treat a serious illness, like cancer. Nearly every procedure and/or drug that is used today was once a clinical trial. Many clinical trials have proved extremely successful. 

Each clinical trial has certain qualifications or criteria which need to be met to qualify. We’ll discuss this is further depth as it pertains to the cancer vaccination momentarily. In situations like these, pet parents must also be dedicated heavily to the trial to ensure all goes as planned. If the pet parent strays away from any requirements, the research will not be able to be utilized by the research team. 

Vaccination Against Canine Cancer

The Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study, now known as the VACCS trial, will be the largest clinical trial conducted in the world of canine cancer. The goal of the study is to determine a vaccination for prevention, rather than focus on treating the cancer after it has already reached a dog’s body.

In the study, healthy dogs who are 5.5 years and older will randomly receive a series of vaccinations, or they will be entered into the placebo group. All dogs will continue to live at home and will be checked 2-3 times per year for five years following enrollment in the study. Financial incentives will be offered to assist dogs who do receive a cancer diagnosis while in the study regardless of if they have received the vaccine or the placebo. 

selective focus photography of tan and white welsh corgi with brown leash standing on green grass
Photo by mentatdgt on

To qualify for the clinical trial, dogs/pet parents must meet the following qualifications: 

  • Owners must live within 150 miles of one of the participating trial sites: Colorado State University | Fort Collins, Colorado; University of California – Davis | Davis, California; University of Wisconsin – Madison | Madison, Wisconsin
  • Be between 5.5 and 11.5 years of age
  • Weigh at least 12 pounds (5 kg)
  • No history of previous cancer
  • No significant other illness that could result in a life span of less than 5 years
  • No history of previous autoimmune disease
  • No current treatment with oral or injectable immunosuppressive medications
  • Only breeds listed are eligible
  • Qualifying breeds include: Afghan hound, Airedale terrier, Alaskan malamute, Basset hound, Beagle, Bernese mountain dog, Borzoi, Boston terrier, Boxer, Briard, Bullmastiff, Cocker spaniel, Corgi, Deerhound, English setter, Field spaniel, Flat-coated retriever, French bulldog, German shepherd, German shorthaired pointer, Giant schnauzer, Golden retriever, Gordon setter, Great Pyrenees, Irish setter, Irish water spaniel, Irish wolfhound, Italian spinone, Keeshond, Labrador retriever, Leonberger, Newfoundland, Norwegian elkhound, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, Old English sheepdog, Petit basset griffon vendeen, Rhodesian ridgeback, Rottweiler, Saluki, Scottish terrier, Shetland sheepdog, Siberian husky, Springer spaniel, Staffordshire bull terrier, Standard poodle, Tibetan terrier, Viszla, Welsh terrier, West highland white terrier

If all the qualifications are met, you can apply for enrollment in the study by clicking here.

Final Thoughts

If this vaccination works, it will radically change cancer in both the canine and human medical space. The research presented from this study will help professionals around the world. If you meet the qualifications for the study, it’s definitely worth considering looking through the eyes of a professional in the cancer industry.

Published by Amber L. Drake

Dr. Amber L. Drake is a celebrated author and a distinguished cancer specialist, renowned for her comprehensive research in canine cancer prevention and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her commitment to helping dogs lead long and joyful lives, as well as for her contributions to veterinary medicine education. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of the Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, she has become a respected and influential figure in the canine community, earning the admiration and respect of dog enthusiasts around the globe.

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