Jaguar Health launches the first US canine cancer registry and canine cancer care index
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. scientific advisory board of veterinary oncologists and experts support adoption of new comparative oncology diagnostic codes to strengthen the initiative’s impact
Jaguar Health today announced the launch of Canine Cancer: Take C.H.A.R.G.E. (Canine Health And ReGistry Exchange), a first-of-its-kind national canine cancer registry and the Canine Cancer Care Index to provide the veterinary community and dog owners with important incidence and prevalence data to help guide canine cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions. Launched on the first National Canine Cancer Awareness Day and cosponsored by Jaguar Animal Health; TogoRun, a global health communications agency; and Ivee, an animal health data-focused software company, the program will initially access information about canine cancer from 2 key sources: a nationally representative multi-year Gallup survey of dog owners in the United States, and a retrospective review of more than 35,000 anonymous canine patient records uploaded into a secure customized database with more than 830 confirmed cancer diagnoses.
The Gallup survey, conducted in March 2022, estimated the prevalence—the percent of US dogs with cancer in 2021—was 3.4%, less than the approximately 5% prevalence in humans that year. The survey also found that the incidence—the percent of US dogs newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021—was 2.8%, which is approximately 5 times the 0.57% incidence of newly diagnosed cancer in humans that year. This finding is significant because researchers have assumed that canine cancer rates mirror human cancer rates.
“We established Take C.H.A.R.G.E. to fill a major research gap among the veterinary community and dog owners in the United States because, until now, there has been no nationally based dog owner survey or registry focused on canine cancer,” said Jaguar Health founder, President and CEO Lisa Conte, in an organizational press release. “The information from Take C.H.A.R.G.E. will provide the first ever national representation of the incidence and prevalence of canine cancer and will help inform decisions that advance the quality of life of both dogs with cancer and their owners. The data may also provide insights to help better understand cancer in humans.”
Other key findings from the Gallup survey include the following:
- More than 8 in 10 dog owners favored the creation of a canine cancer registry to better understand the disease and advance treatments
- 68% of participating dog owners decided not to treat their dog for cancer due to the age of their dog (54%), treatment cost (39%), treatment adverse effects (38%), or other reasons
- Across all responding dog owners, 92% percent indicated they did not have pet insurance at the time of diagnosis
- Nearly 3 in 4 dog parents who experienced canine cancer in the past 10 years were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience during treatment, even though only 39% reported that their dog was cured or went into remission
- Although 46% of dog owners “strongly agreed” that their pet received high quality cancer care, only 30% strongly agreed that they knew what to expect during their dog's cancer treatment
- When asked to imagine how difficult it would be for members of their household to manage various chemotherapy-related adverse effects, the percent of all dog owners rating them as difficult or very difficult were:pain (60%), urinary incontinence (43%), diarrhea (41%), vomiting/nausea (39%), and fatigue/lethargy/lack of energy (19%)
- Dealing with canine cancer has a major impact on dog owners’ well-being, including depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, and missing work or other obligations; for example, 63% of respondents reported feeling a lot of stress and 58% reported feeling down and depressed a lot during their dog's cancer
- Dog owners’ ability to manage their dog’s adverse effects from cancer treatment, such as pain, urinary incontinence, and diarrhea, is the best predictor of key well-being outcomes of the pet owner
- However, many dog parents find managing treatment adverse effects especially challenging:
- 92% of dog owners with no canine cancer experience and 65% of those with canine cancer experience said they knew little or nothing about adverse effects
- Only 22% of respondents “strongly agreed” that they have been able to manage their dog’s cancer treatment adverse effects well, and only 29% have a clear understanding of potential adverse effects of treatment
- Having a veterinarian who cares about a dog’s comfort, high quality of care, and thorough explanation of treatment options were most critical to overall treatment satisfaction, whereas management of adverse effects was the most important factor in determining the negative impact canine cancer has on dog parents’ well-being
Canine Cancer Care Index
In addition to assessing canine cancer incidence and prevalence, and dog owners’ perceptions, emotions and experiences related to canine cancer, Gallup used data from the survey to calculate a Canine Cancer Care Index that reflects 3 dimensions related to canine cancer care: knowledge, quality of care, and canine comfort. Ranging from 0 (the worst possible score) to 100 (the best possible score), the Index will help assess whether canine cancer care experiences are improving, worsening, or staying the same for dog owners and their dogs over time. Gallup determined that the baseline for the Canine Cancer Care Index is 80.5 or a B-, indicating a clear need for improvement.
“Protecting dogs from cancer begins with knowing its impact by breed, type, age, gender, and location,” said Terry Fossum, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVS, Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) co-chair, in an organizational press release. “The US has lagged behind other countries where there are multiple canine health registries and there have been several attempts by other groups to establish a US registry without success. We have to do better for our dogs, and we believe Take C.H.A.R.G.E. finally will give us the tools we need to advance canine cancer care.”
Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Scientific Advisory Board
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. SAB includes 8 leading US veterinarians specializing in canine oncology and surgery. One of the board’s activities is driving adoption of a consistent canine cancer diagnostic coding system and supporting the goals of the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Comparative Oncology Program. Comparative oncology is the study of naturally developing cancers in pet dogs and other animals as models for human cancers. It provides a novel approach to generate new information about cancer, for example environmental risk factors, genetic determinants, and evaluation of new treatment approaches. In support of comparative oncology, the SAB is encouraging veterinary clinics to adopt coding practices that align with the recently published Veterinary International Classification of Diseases for Oncology Canine Tumors First Edition, or Vet-ICD-O-canine-1 which is based largely on the most recent version of the human cancer coding system, ICD-O-3.2.
“The heart of any cancer registry is its cancer coding system,” said SAB co-chair Craig Clifford, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), in an organizational press release. “As we continue to enhance the Take C.H.A.R.G.E. registry, we will incorporate Vet-ICD-O-canine-1, as it is a user-friendly, easily accessible, comprehensive resource for veterinary doctors, researchers, and specialists. This will allow us to make more ‘apples to apples’ comparisons of canine cancers in the United States and other countries and regions, which in turn will help us better understand and treat canine cancer.”
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. SAB members include SAB co-chairs Clifford and Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVS; as well as Susan Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology); Trina Hazzah, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), CVCH; Chad M. Johannes, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, Oncology); Doug Thamm, V.M.D., Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology); David Vail, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology); and Rachel Venable, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology).
Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Website
Data from the registry will be accessible to the public via an interactive, easy-to-use dashboard on the Take C.H.A.R.G.E. website, with open access for clinical practitioners and academia to all canine cancer medical record data for research purposes. The registry will continue to grow as veterinary clinics and pet owners upload medical records of dogs with cancer at no cost to the clinic or pet owner. The data is de-identified, anonymized, and protected following General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines to ensure participant information privacy.
Take C.H.A.R.G.E. will also focus on raising awareness of canine cancer by promoting the first National Canine Cancer Awareness Day—to be held annually on May 23—so dog owners will have access to the latest information on types of cancers by breed, symptoms, and treatment options.
“Recent advances in chemotherapy, as well as advances in managing chemotherapy [adverse] effects such as diarrhea, should be discussed with veterinarians and canine oncologists to ensure dogs are benefiting from the latest canine cancer science," said Ettinger, in an organizational press release.
TakeC.H.A.R.G.E. Launch Event
Dog owners and members of the veterinary community are encouraged to visit TakeChargeRegistry.com for more information, including how to upload canine cancer medical records and how clinics can participate in the registry. The public is also invited to a special event and performance by Broadway stars, including Academy-award nominated actor Chazz Palminteri and Grammy-award winning actress Jenn Colella, at Madison Square Park in New York, New York today, from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm EDT to celebrate the launch of Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Those who cannot attend the event can still watch virtually on Facebook.
Jaguar Health announces launch of the first US canine cancer registry and Canine Cancer Care Index. News release. Jaguar Health. May 23, 2022.