Health Alert | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Medical Minute 2-8: Saving Pets. Saving People. Dogs Defeating Breast Cancer

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

When Millie Edmonds wanted to adopt last year, she scoured the Internet, looking for dogs who needed a good home. That's when she found Cali. Cali was rescued from a puppy mill. She spent her first year locked with other dogs in a wire cage.

"Their feet spread. They looked like webfeet. Now she's got little paws," said Mildred Edmonds.

For Millie, it was love at first sight, even after she got sobering news - Cali had twelve tumors in her mammary glands. You could say the two were destined to be together. Millie is a two-time cancer survivor.

Dr. Karin Sorenmo is an oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. Last year, she created the shelter canine mammary tumor program to provide free care to shelter dogs with tumors.

They collect the canine tissue samples for scientists to compare with human ones. Unlike humans, dogs have five pairs of mammary glands. Most dogs who have tumors in one gland will develop others. Researchers can study the tumors in all stages of development.

"So if we can figure out what happens when a tumor becomes malignant, what are the most important genetic alterations,-maybe there will be a target that can be drugged," said Dr. Karin Sorenmo, Oncologist, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Potentially stopping the spread of the cancer cells. Millie Edmonds says Cali is part of a family with a history of cancer, that she hopes will stop before her granddaughters come of age.

"If they didn't have to worry about it. That would be the best thing."

"You need to take care of the four-legged people too. If helping them, helps us, all the better."

For More Information, Contact:Kelly StrattonDirector of Communication, University of Pennsylvania215-898-1475 skell@vet.upenn.edu


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