The most difficult thing about dog ownership is deciding when to send the animal you love so deeply on that unrenegable journey to the afterlife.
There’s often no avoiding it. And it can be a gut-wrenching decision even in the most clear-cut of situations.
With advances in science, there is now a small ray of hope to be gained in some of these heart-breaking situations. Canine DNA is now being studied by many institutions in experiments that are providing insights on new modes of detection and treatment for numerous diseases.
If your dog has cancer or suffers from a chronic disorder, consider donating blood, saliva or biopsy samples to a program that is studying the disorder. Saliva samples are simple and absolutely painless to collect. Blood samples can be collected in conjuction with regular screening tests (such as those used to test for lyme disease, heartworm or to screen for metabolic disorders). Biopsy samples can be collected during scheduled surgery — or post mortem.
If your dog has been diagnosed with cancer or another chronic disease check with your breed club, the Canine Health Information Center, the Broad Institute, UC Davis, vetGen, Cornell University and do a web search to find out which groups are studying the specific health problem your dog has. Then please consider donating blood and tissue samples from your beloved companion to help diagnose, prevent and cure disease.
We eased the pain of Zorro’s passing by donating samples and diagnostic information to the Broad Institute for their osteosarcoma study, to UC Davis for research on Leonberger Polyneuropathy and the University of Minnesota to study canine epilespy.