KAT CANCER CONTROL PROGRAM

Canine Cancer Crisis

KAT Cancer Control Program

Cancer is a well known disease that has cast a shadow over the lives of almost all of us in one way or another. Like humans, dogs can also suffer from cancer – with one important difference.

The type of cancer affecting street dogs is shocking in one particular way. Whereas for us humans there is no danger of catching the disease from others, in dogs there is a kind of cancer that is communicable or transmissible between individuals, and it is called CTVT.

CTVT stands for canine transmissible venereal tumours. This type of cancer is sexually-transmitted, and always affects the genital regions; however, because of the way that the cells can be lifted from area onto another, it also frequently affects a dog’s nose and mouth, too.

In the whole of the animal kingdom, CTVT is one of only three known types of cancer that can be spread between individuals of the same species. It cannot be spread to humans.

In the first half of 2019 dogs admitted with this form of transmissible cancer comprised almost 25% of all the dogs which KAT treated. It is clear to see that the number of dogs which are being treated who are infected with cancer has been going up dramatically and that this isn’t merely a coincidence.

The data is suggesting that when extrapolated out to the dog population within the ring road of Kathmandu, a whopping 7500 dogs are right now infected with CTVT. In response to this emergency KAT has set up a brand new program, the first of its kind anywhere in Asia, to research, provide awareness about, and to treat and fight the spread of this cancer: the KAT Cancer Control Program which has already treated some 280 cancer patients successfully, helping to keep it from infecting new victims.

How does it affect dogs?

As it grows it causes significant damage to a dog’s reproductive system. We have censored most of these photos because the effect is too shocking, but the images are important to show how serious this problem really is. We can look away, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are dogs suffering from this problem right now on the streets of Kathmandu as we speak.

One of the main reasons as to why this cancer is spreading so rapidly through the stray dog population in Nepal is the many years of unchecked breeding. Dogs that haven’t been neutered naturally want to breed more frequently and because of this we are at the same time working hard on our animal birth control program.

This isn’t the whole story however as this cancer can also be transmitted through direct transfer of cancer cells, for example when a dog sits in a particular area and the cancer cells from their bodies are left on the ground, and then are picked up again when a new dog rests there, or through sniffing/greeting other dogs.

CTVT first arose several thousand years ago and has been reported in dog populations worldwide; however, it spread around the globe only relatively recently, which ties in with the growth of stray canine populations around the world and the effects of globalization and urbanization on infectious disease. The more densely that people and animals crowd into cities, the easier it is for diseases like this to spread.

How do we fight it?

We take each dog on a case by case basis and our skilled veterinary surgeons determine the best course of treatment with either surgery, chemotherapy or a combination of both drugs and surgery.

With chemotherapy we use a drug called vincristine, effectively killing the cancer cells and ridding the dog’s body of this awful disease.

We have had a large degree of success with this method and 8 out of 10 dogs make a full recovery.

Depending on the gender of the dog, as well as the size and location of the tumour it can take between 2 and 8 injections of chemotherapy as well as surgery to ensure that the dog is healthy and can once again begin to live its life free from pain and discomfort.

SUPPORT US

We need your help

Our primary focus through this program is to increase the number of dogs we can treat by setting up a KAT Cancer Ward onsite.  We will also will be expanding our team to have more staff in the field to locate and treat dogs infected with cancer early on before it spreads.

Chemotherapy drugs are expensive and often in limited supply, and the more funds that we have, the better we will be able to respond to this awful epidemic.

Please consider sponsoring this project. Your donation will be reserved to be spent exclusively on this work and we can provide you with receipts and photos of what your money has bought.

What your Support will Go Towards: 

  1. Set up a cancer ward at KAT to house dogs undergoing chemotherapy and/or surgery for CTVT along with required barrier nursing and isolation protocols to ensure biosecurity is maintained. 
  2. Population screening survey and data will be collected on the prevalence of CTVT within the stray dog population of Kathmandu at the district level. 
  3. The use of gathered data (historical and prospective) to provide for a more targeted intervention in areas which have the highest recorded incidence rate of CTVT (hot-spot approach).
  4. Using the data collected, provide targeted sterilization in areas of high CTVT incidence to reduce the risk of transmission during canine mating.
  5. In areas identified as having high rates of CTVT, through a combined rabies vaccination program, capture and screen (physically examine) stray dogs for cancer and admit those infected for treatment.
  6. Provide education to the community and key animal welfare groups to recognise the symptoms/signs of CTVT infection and understand that it is easily treatable if reported when in its early stages.
  7. Provide material to the public on the threat of a CTVT epidemic, encourage community ownership in the program and ensure a large number of the general population know how they can report the cases to KAT.

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Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre © | Budhanilkantha | GPO Box 8975, EPC 4120, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal registration no: 994/059/060 | UK registration no: 1137647

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Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre © | Budhanilkantha | GPO Box 8975, EPC 4120, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal registration no: 994/059/060 | UK registration no: 1137647

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Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre © | Budhanilkantha | GPO Box 8975, EPC 4120, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nepal registration no: 994/059/060 | UK registration no: 1137647

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