CANCER AND THE BULLMASTIFF
Cancer is an immunologic condition brought about by a prolific response of a given abnormal cell type within the body. Cancer is present in all breeds. Current Cancer research is being performed on the molecular level and cancer indicating genes have been identified; however those genes are only half of the cancer story. The other influences such as environment, foods, vaccines are currently being studied yet remain unknown. In Bullmastiffs, the most common cancers in order of commonality are:
- Mast Cell Tumors. These are tumors that form when mast cells, a blood cell typically associated with the body's response to allergens or inflammation, turn cancerous. They most often appear in the skin or subcutaneous tissues, but can metastasize to other areas of the body, especially the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. Their "benign" appearance belies their unpredictable behavior. Prompt removal and biopsy of any skin tumor is the best defense. Speedy and complete tumor excision generally results in a good prognosis.
- Hemangiosarcoma. This is a particularly aggressive form of cancer originating in the endothelial cells. It can appear anywhere in or on the body, but most commonly occurs in the spleen or other internal organs, and death can occur with little or no warning. A large mass may be felt in the abdomen; symptoms of sudden blood loss such as weakness or collapse may occur if the tumor ruptures. However, there may be no outward symptoms at all. Complete surgical excision of tumors in the skin (that have not invaded other tissues) can sometimes result in a good prognosis. When tumors are discovered elsewhere, the prognosis is poor.
- Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma. This is another aggressive form of cancer which involves the lymphatic system and sometimes the liver and spleen. Symptoms vary depending on which part of the body is affected, though the disease is most often detected due to enlarged lymph nodes on the neck. Chemotherapy can be an effective treatment, but prognosis is usually guarded.
- Osteosarcoma. This is an aggressive form of bone cancer that primarily affects large and giant breeds. The first sign is usually lameness and/or swelling, most often in a leg, and diagnosis is confirmed by x-ray. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms appear, it may well have metastasized to internal organs. Treatment involves surgery and chemotherapy, but the prognosis is usually poor.
WHAT CAN I DO?
PLEASE FIGHT CANCER BY CONTRIBUTING your beloved Bullmastiff’s DNA! Healthy and affected, show and non-show, all Bullmastiff DNA is needed. CLICK HERE