According to the 2004 Kerry Health Survey 2.7% of all Kerries are affected by this cancer. The average onset was 7 years, with the earliest at age 3. Lymphoma accounts for one quarter of all cancers in Kerries.
On May 22, 2008, the Kerry Blue Terreir Foundation donated $820 towards the $15,505 needed for a promising study. William Kissebeth, DVM, PhD, Ohio State, is using the newly canine genome sequence and applying new identification techniques to develop early detection methods for the disease.
The Foundation Board made the funds available at their Board meeting of May 14, 2008, based on a recommendation of Board member Dr. W. Jean Dodds.
Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in the dog. Current methods of classifying lymphoma neither explain nor predict its variable clinical behavior. Much of the progress in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of lymphoma and other cancers in people has been the result of advances in "genomics." Recently the canine genome has been sequenced, providing the opportunity to apply new genomic approaches to better understand and treat cancer in the dog. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small non-protein coding molecules that have been implicated in humans as having an important role in cancer and a variety of other diseases. In this study, we will identify miRNAs using bioinformatic methods. We will then use miRNA microarrays to analyze normal canine tissues and canine lymphoma biopsies. These results (miRNA expression profiles) will be correlated with histologic diagnosis and clinical parameters. The goals of this study are to identify canine miRNAs and their normal patterns of expression and to determine if specific histologic subtypes of lymphoma are characterized by unique miRNA expression profiles, if specific miRNAs have prognostic significance, and to identify potential targets for future investigation and therapies. This study will also generate new tools for future miRNA investigation in the dog.
2011 Study Results
Analysed for the KBTF by Dr. W. Jean Dodds
This study is a significant advance in our knowledge about the canine genomic RNA microarray expression in healthy canines and in dogs with large B cell lymphomas . The similarity between these genetic sequences in dogs and people is remarkable, and should be very helpful in studying the pathways that control normal and cancerous lymphocyte production in human and canine populations. Eventually this could lead to novel and more effective therapy of canine and human lymphoma.
Living with Lymphoma in Kerries
by Anne Corke
Lexie was only six when she was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2007. We were devastated but determined to do our very best for her. For nine precious months, our lives revolved around her. As her treatment progressed, Lexie rebounded, playing with her toys, chasing squirrels, going for drives and mooching treats from all. We celebrated Christmas, thankful that she was still with us. We celebrated her seventh birthday in January with special birthday dog cookies and a particularly rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”. But the celebrations were bittersweet since we knew they were the last, that she was living on borrowed time. In the spring, she started to lose ground. On April Fool's Day, she told us she had had enough and we tearfully bid her farewell. To lose our dear Kerries is always heart-wrenching, but to lose a young dog, to see that dog age before your eyes, to be robbed of half their lifespan, well, it just seems so wrong, so unfair. Lexie, in her prime, was beautiful and sassy, busy and bouncy, full of the joy of life. And now she is gone and all we have are photographs and our cherished memories. We are so grateful to the Foundation for supporting research into lymphoma and we pray that one day, there will be a breakthrough, for our dogs sakes and for ours.
Rest in peace, dear Lexie.
By Jill Berger
Howard and Genie were meant for each other. Howard is the type of owner that brushes his Kerry every day and Genie was the type of Kerry who gloried in “looking nice”. An empty grooming table was an invitation to her, a place she needed to be and you had better pay attention to her once she was up there. Howard is the kind of man that talks to his dog and Genie was the kind of Kerry that loved to listen.
It was a very difficult time the summer that Genie was diagnosed with subcutaneous lymphoma. We felt the terror of the diagnosis deeply and are very grateful for a caring and concerned vet. Nothing but the best for this little girl, so after consultations and tests a course of chemotherapy was begun for Genie.
After Genie was diagnosed, Howard was her primary, #1, get out of the way and give me space, caregiver, so devoted that he called home at least three times a day from work to check up on his girl. Once home the "production" would start. He wanted every detail from how much water did she drink to how her bowel movements were. He wanted to know if she seemed "happy" or "a bit down." At dinner time Howard would get everything out and place it on the counter, speaking to Genie the entire time asking her if she's been a good girl, what she did that day, etc. He would warm her food in the microwave and then test it with his finger to check the temperature, discreetly hiding her pills in the best part so she wouldn't see them. Talking in a high pitched voice saying things like "Ummm, this is so good! Daddy made it especially for you!!" he would sit on the floor with his girl stroking her fur as she ate. Later in the evening, when Howard was watching TV, Genie would be by his side the entire time.
When the day came that Genie was no longer living the quality of life she deserved she was lovingly let go with her family around her. Howard was a basket case, but he did what was needed for his girl.
Note: The picture on the left is of Howard, Jill and Genie following a course of when Genie was in remission and doing well. Her coat was thin from the chemo, but she sported a beautiful pink Beclau sweater to make up for it. Nothing was too good for this girl.
Today there is a new Kerry in Howard’s life, a little rescue girl named Darla who is cosseted and loved just as Genie was. We hope that lymphoma never touches her life.