Archive for October, 2012


Half of all dogs that live to the age of ten will eventually die of cancer.    And for those breeds that are genetically predisposed to cancer the percentage that die is even higher.   It is extremely important to catch developing cancer as early as possible if you want to have the greatest chance  for successful therapy.

For most owners discovering that their dog has cancer is a moment filled with fear and uncertainty.   Unfortunately, cancer is usually discovered in its later stages when the treatment options are more limited, less effective, and more expensive.  All too frequently the diagnosis of cancer typically ends in disaster.   If cancer can be caught early prior to the appearance of outward signs more effective treatment options become available.   Even the more aggressive cancers like hemangiosarcomas can  be treated cost effectively when caught in very early stages.   Unfortunately, routine annual or even semi-annual health exams will not catch cancer in its very early stages.    Even annual blood and urine screens are unlikely to detect cancer early.  An ultrason or MRI are not commonly used as screening test because they are expensive and do not always give a definitve diagnosis.   Biopsies are not performed until an actual mass has been identified by manual palpation, radiographs, ultrason, or MRI.   Up until a few years ago there really was no way to catch cancer early before the mass was felt or other symptoms were present   By the time symptoms are detected there is a good chance the  cancer has already spread from the original site to lymph nodes, the lungs or other distant organs.

The exciting news is that there is now a simple, painless cancer blood screen for the “apparently” healthy dog with no signs of disease.   The name of this cancer screen  is “INCaSe” and it utilizes dual “biomarkers”,  Thymidine Kinase (TK) and C-reactive Protein (CRP).  TK levels have been shown in numerous studies in animals and humans, to correlate with the development of cancer.   CRP is a protein produced in the liver in response to inflammation .   By coupling the results of the TK and CRP test values, the INCase cancer screen can detect  the presence of cancer in its very early stages before any signs of disease are apparent.    A negative INCase finding is a strong indication that the pet is cancer free.

There has been a long standing study showing the relationship between cancer and inflammation.   Research has shown that inflammation plays an important role at each stage of cancer development. That is why in addition to the TK marker for cancer, the INCase Screen also tests for CRP which is the most accurate method for detecting hidden inflammation in the body.    Therefore even if the TK marker shows negative for cancer,  if the CRP is significantly elevated it is  awarning sign that more diagnostic work needs to be done to discover the site of inflammation and eliminate it.

The combining of these two “biomarkers”, the TK and CRP, provides a “Neoplasia (cancer) index”.   By detecting   the presence of both abnormal cell division and abnormal levels of inflammation in an apparently health pet,  the ability to identify the presence of cancer is greatly amplified over using just one or the other test alone.  It is this unique  way of combining and interpreting these two tests that is now being evaluated for a patent.

INCaSe has the unique intended use as a wellness screen for the “apparently” healthy dog prior to the onset of visible signs of cancer.     For a product to make this claim, it must be clinically studied for this specific use and this is what separates INCaSe from other cancer screen tests.    In an ongoing clinical study involving the University of Missouri, 327 “apparently” healthy dogs of high cancer risk breeds and over the age of 5 years were collected for analysis and followed for 9 months. Of the 327 dogs, 10 developed cancer, and INCaSe was able to detect 100% of all these cancers  up to 109 days prior to the onset of visible signs.  The test is very accurate and has a very low chance for false positive and for false negative results.

If a dog is found INCaSe positive then a confirmatory test called  “VDI-TKcanine+” should be run.   If a dog  is suspected of having cancer based on physical exam or other findings then the VDI-TKcanine+ cancer test  should be run in place of the INCaSe test.  The VDI-TKcanine+ can also be used to monitor the progress of dogs with confirmed cancer.
While middle aged and older dogs have a much higher risk of developing cancer, dogs of any age are at risk.  All breeds are susceptible for cancer but some breeds show a particularly high incidence.  The following is a partial list of breeds more susceptible to cancer:

Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, Pointers, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, English Setters, Doberman Pinschers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Standard Poodles, Scottish Terriers, Schnauzers,  West Highland White

At Woodside Animal Clinic we are recommending that all dogs over 5 years of age be given the INCase cancer blood screen at least once yearly.   Dogs over 10 years of age should be tested every 6 months.   If a dog is from one of the breeds that have a high risk for cancer then this dog should be checked twice yearly starting at the age of 5 years.

At Woodside, if cancer is detected early before the patient  is displaying overt signs of disease then we will recommend a number alternative therapies which may include anyone or all of the following:  nutritional therapy including homemade diets, orthomolecular therapy, systemic enzyme therapy, and antioxidant therapy.   Additional approachs include: gastro intestinal support, immune system support, liver detoxification,  pH and voltage support,  acupuncture and microcurrent therapy, oxygen therapy,  alkaline water and  sea salt therapy, Neoplasene therapy,  as well as intravenous vitamin C,   IV glutathione and IV phosphytidyl choline therapy to name just a few of the ways Woodside is prepared to help your pet combat cancer.

Presently there is not an INCase Screening test for apparently health cats but the company tells me there will be one in the not too distant future.

For more on alternative / holistic medicine visit us at



Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.   Visit us at

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties.   Cities in these counties including Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Beverly Hills, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Clarkston, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe,  Romeo,  Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint, Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio