Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blood Test For Canine Cancer

Vizsla with skin tumor
We were relieved to discover this to be a benign  skin tumor,  common in dogs with short hair. It was removed surgically.  Photo by D. Martinez
The National Canine Cancer Foundation has announced to all dog owners and veterinarians, the availability of a new tool to assist in the management of canine cancer. It is a blood test called VDI-TKcanine+.
The mission  statement of the  National Canine Cancer Foundation is to save dogs lives by finding cures, better treatments and accurate, cost effective diagnostic methods in dealing with canine Cancer.

VDI-TKcanine+ test is a very good adjunct to assess if cancer might be present in dogs where there are other signs of the disease. A positive test should always be followed by additional confirmatory tests, including imaging, biopsy, etc.
If you want to know more about if this test is the right tool for your dog, you are encouraged to contact your Vet and discuss the all the options available to you and your dog.
Pet Owners: 
VDI tests are available to veterinarians across the U.S. Please contact your vet if you would like to have one of these tests performed on your dog or cat.

I am awaiting information about availability of the test internationally and means for send samples internationally for testing.

You may order tests direct from VDI Laboratory by filling out the Lab Testing Services Agreement. Once you fax back the completed agreement, VDI will ship you the required specimen shipper kits free of charge. To access the agreement form, please click here>
The tests INCaSe, VDI-TKcanine+ and VDI-TKfeline may be ordered from Webster Vet Supply. For more information on ordering from Webster, please click here>

Below are some of the key informational points supplied to us by VDI Labs.

Q: What is this test?
A: VDI-TKcanine+ is a blood test for dogs, used to help aid diagnosis when cancer is suspected, and to monitor the course of treatment once the presence of cancer is confirmedVDI-TKcanine+ is a test run by veterinarians and is made available to all veterinarians in the U.S.
Q: What does this test measure?
A: The principle element, or biomarker, that VDI -TKcanine+ measures in the dog’s blood is an enzyme called thymidine kinase or TK for short. TK is released into the blood stream by cells that are undergoing unusually rapid cell division; a hallmark of cancer.
Q: How effective is this test?
A: VDI -TKcanine+ is very good at confirming the presence of cancer when the test returns a ‘positive’ result (a result above the range of normal). The test is also good, but not perfect, in confirming that cancer does not exist, when the result falls in the normal range. There is a possibility that certain types of cancer, or cancer in very early stage, might still result in a ‘normal’ result. No diagnostic test is perfect. Like most diagnostic tests, VDI-TKcanine+ is most effective when used in combination with the other established procedures veterinarians have available to them.
Q: How can this test be used on my dog?
A:VDI -TKcanine+ is used to help confirm a diagnosis of cancer, often in combination with a physical examination and other diagnostic procedures. The test is also used following the diagnosis of cancer, to help determine if the cancer has spread or returns, through periodic monitoring.
Q: What should I discuss with my Vet regarding this test?
A: Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog might have cancer. Discuss the reasons for your suspicions and ask whether the VDI -TKcanine+ blood test can assist in the diagnostic process. If your vet is not familiar with the test, they can obtain information by contacting the laboratory that provides the test,Veterinary Diagnostics Institute (VDI)..
Specimen Handling 

Shipper Kit w FedEx
All specimen shipments to VDI Laboratory require use of the VDI Shipper Kit pictured here.
We utilize FedEx Overnight Express to ensure all specimens are handled with utmost care. But a large part in maintaining specimen integrity and delivering the highest quality result rests with our valued customers.

All instructions for the collection, handling and transport of the specimen(s) are listed on the inside lid of Shipper Box. Please take a moment to review them closely prior to drawing blood from the patient.

 Should you wish to draw a patient prior to the arrival of the Shipper Kit, these instructions will help ensure proper sample collection and storage. Use a standard red-top tube for the blood draw, separate the serum within 45 minutes of draw, and transfer the serum to a standard plastic tube with cap. FREEZE the specimen immediately and maintain frozen state until ready to ship. You do NOT need to thaw the specimen and transfer to the VDI specimen tube that is provided with the Shipper Kit. Instead, use the original plastic tube with frozen serum and follow the remaining instructions for submission to our laboratory.

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