Michigan specialty veterinary care center seeks dogs for cancer study

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is looking nationwide for dogs suffering from stage II splenic hemangiosarcoma to submit for study, herbal treatment

Erin Bannink, DVM, DACVIM, VCHM, CVA, is leading a nationwide study on dogs with canine splenic hemangiosarcoma and the benefits of using traditional Chinese herbal medicine as treatment to significantly extend life expectancy.

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services (OVRS) specialty veterinary care center is conducting a nationwide study on dogs with canine splenic hemangiosarcoma (HSA) and the benefits of using traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) as treatment to significantly extend life expectancy. Erin Bannink, DVM, DACVIM, VCHM, CVA, is leading the study, according to Lucy Henney, DVM, DACVS, owner of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based OVRS.

Most dogs diagnosed with HSA are treated by removal of the spleen after the tumor has ruptured and bled, causing life-threatening blood loss; most dogs living only two months after surgery due to the spread of cancer to other organs, according to Dr. Bannink. Because of HSA’s aggressive nature, chemotherapy is usually recommended after surgery in the hope of prolonging life, but it only modestly prolongs survival, and most dogs still die of cancer spread within three to four months of diagnosis, she said.

“The purpose of this study is to determine if treatment with a specific herbal therapy regimen is helpful in prolonging survival time after surgery in dogs with HSA and no evidence of cancer spread,” said Bannink. “We hypothesize that dogs treated with this standardized protocol after splenectomy will have improved survival times over historical controls treated with splenectomy alone, and will provide long-term survival rates comparable to or better than historical controls treated with splenectomy and chemotherapy.”

A retrospective evaluation of 14 dogs with stage II HSA treated with TCHM after splenectomy resulted in a median survival time of over 253 days, with a 36 percent one-year survival rate and 14 percent two-year survival rate.

“Herbal therapies like TCHM may assist in the management of aggressive cancers like canine HSA through their anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, and immune modulating activity,” said Bannink. “Our main study formula (“HSA Compound”) is a modification of a TCHM formula, which has been in use for centuries with no published reports of toxicity in humans or animals. Panax notoginseng (San Qi), one of the main herbs in this formula, contains ginsenosides, which have shown antitumor activity.”

Nationwide pet owners with dogs suffering from stage II HSA are asked to volunteer and submit their animal for the study and TCHM treatment free of charge. For more information about the study criteria, responsibilities, and submission process, email info@ovrs.com.

8 thoughts on “Michigan specialty veterinary care center seeks dogs for cancer study

  1. Glad to learn about this trial and have published it on my hemangiosarcoma blog. My dog is entering her 30th month of survival with HSA post-splenectomy. She did receive chemo after her spleen was removed and has been on a mushroom herbal therapy (not san qi) and an anti-inflammatory metronomic therapy since chemo two years ago. It’s heartening to see HSA getting some serious research after decades of little changing in diagnosis or treatment.

    1. Would you be willing to share exactly what mushroom therapy you pursue? — i.e., the name of the product? and any other identifying medications that you use?

      thanks you

    2. Hi Tammy, what mushroom have you given your pup the Coriolus? Mine is also doing metronomic chemio… can you please share your experience? Mine though has a HSA on the heart…. please feel free to write to me on my email I’m very interested to know your protocol (sammyjones777@yahoo.ca) Thanks.

  2. Dear all,
    With much interest I wrote and shared this article. Is it possible to let a Golden Retriever from UK in to this study? He just had a spleen surgery.

  3. Hello, please note that only “I’m Yunity” brand of mushroom or turkey tail is effective. My phenomenal vet has describe this as the only heat extracted form which has been thought to provide any benefit. Love and hope to all

    1. I’m-Yunity is not the only “heat extracted” form of turkey tail extract. It uses hot water extraction, which is the primary way extracts of this mushroom are produced. Mushroom Science has a turkey tail extract which uses the same extraction method.

  4. First, let me say that I am in favor of anything that helps treat this awful disease. I have friends who have lost many Goldens and a German Shepherd to cancer, especially hemangiosarcomas.

    But does “volunteer and SUBMIT their animal for the study and TCHM treatment free of charge” mean that the dog must spend the rest of his life at their facility? If yes, I can’t imagine that the stress of separation from his family would be good for a dog suffering from terminal cancer.

    According to the NIH, genetic predisposition (Goldens, Boxers, German Shepherds, Portuguese Water Dogs & Australian Shepherds) and the stage at which the cancer is discovered and treated are the only real predictors of survival so far. This study is looking to treat Stage II dogs who haven’t metastasized – that alone would give them the best survival rates regardless of the type of treatment after surgery.

    Most important is for breeders to remove the dogs carry these genes from their breeding programs and ELIMINATE the disease. Per the Morris Animal Foundation’s golden-retriever-lifetime-study, the risk of cancer in Goldens used to be quite low before 1980. If it were environmental rather than genetic, it would have affected many more breeds by now.

    And let’s find a CURE for ALL cancers!

    1. If it were truly only genetic, then mixed breed dogs wouldn’t be afflicted by this disease. Or at least not at the rate I’ve seen.
      Thank God Morris Animal Foundation has launched the Golden Retriever Study. It’s my fervent hope that SOMETHING will come out of this extensive study involving over 3000 dedicated Goldens and their owners.

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