The Animal Health Trust (http://www.aht.org.uk/) is a charity and a research institute that has been helping dogs, cats and horses for more than half a century. The Trust provides specialist veterinary clinical, diagnostic and surgical services and is dedicated to the study of canine, equine and feline diseases. The Oncology Research Group at the Animal Health Trust is seeking to investigate if there are inherited gene defects that cause Great Danes to have an increased risk of developing osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer of dogs. The tumours usually develop in the long bones of the legs close to the joints, such as by the stifle or close to the shoulder joint. The early signs of osteosarcoma are lameness and pain (which may be intermittent), limb swellings and fractures at the tumour site. The tumour is extremely malignant and for more than 90% of affected animals, which do not receive chemotherapy following limb amputation, the cancer will spread (usually to the lungs), and life expectancy varies from a few weeks to 3-6 months. However, 40-60% of dogs that do receive chemotherapy survive for 12 months, and indeed half of these survive long term.