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AHT Life Magazine 2018

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Find out more at www.aht.org.uk Fighting cancer in dogs and cats The AHT is the only facility in the UK whose purpose-built cancer centre houses two types of specialist equipment for treating dogs, cats and horses with cancer, staffed by world-leading veterinary oncologists. Treatment If caught early, cancer is the most curable chronic disease in dogs and cats. Most treatments are tolerated very well, and our aim is always to improve or maintain quality of life, as well as extending it. Each patient and each cancer is different and often we use more than one type of treatment to get the best results. This can be a combination of surgery, medical management (including chemotherapy) and radiotherapy. Surgery alone can be curative for tumours that are removable and have a low risk of spreading elsewhere. However, sometimes we cannot remove all the tumour cells, in which case radiotherapy can be used to target the disease left. Side effects of radiotherapy are often minimal, such as temporary hair loss and/or whitening of the hairs on the area treated. Chemotherapy is used to target cancer cells anywhere in the body, and is used when there is a high risk of the cancer spreading. Chemo is given in tablet form or as an intravenous injection and most patients do not become sick or lose their hair. In fact, studies have shown that owners are very happy with their pet’s quality of life during chemotherapy treatment. If you find any abnormal lumps and bumps on your pet, go to your vet straight away for advice. Research Our cancer research happens in the clinic and in the lab, combining the AHT’s veterinary and scientific expertise to help the maximum number of animals. From the clinic, our vets study how cancers affect our patients and what treatments work best to help them. By writing peer-reviewed papers and lecturing internationally on the best practises, their findings are shared with the veterinary profession, to help animals all around the world. In the lab, we have a team of molecular geneticists who study tumours and blood samples from animals with cancer, to better understand why only some tumours spread, or respond to treatment. Their aim is to develop improved tests that can predict that a tumour will spread before it actually happens, or can identify which tumours will respond to a particular treatment. Such tests would help vets to treat animals with aggressive tumours earlier, and help better determine the best treatment option for each patient. By also studying inherited genetic risk factors for certain cancers in certain breeds of dog, we hope to understand how these cancers develop to help reduce the number of dogs affected. More than one in four dogs and one in six cats will get cancer at some point in their life, so not only are we helping to treat those animals affected now, but we are actively researching better ways to diagnose and treat cancer in the future. AHT Life 15

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