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Health Issues

SHARON MYERS HEALTH COMMITTEE

Health Manual Questions to Ask Your Vet
Sharon Myers Health Clearinghouse Form Cancer Research Samples

Mary Young wrote a tribute to Sharon Myers which said, in part, "Sharon Smith Myers was an active member of the FCRSA from approximately 1970 until her premature death from cancer in 1990. She served the Society in numerous capacities" and "had a strong influence in building the FCRSA into the strong national organization it is today." When Sharon died, her husband, Jerry, made a donation to the FCRSA in memory of Sharon. The Sharon Myers Health Committee was formed to put that contribution to work in a way that would honor Sharon's concerns about "improving the working ability of Flat-Coats, maintaining type and soundness, and in safeguarding their health."

The Sharon Myers Health Committee was organized in 1995. The committee proposed a three step project to improve the genetic health of Flat-Coats which consisted of a survey, a health manual, and an open database. The health survey was conducted in 1996 with results reported to the FCRSA at the 1997 Specialty. Work on the health manual began in 1997 and should be finished in 1998. In 1997, the committee decided to start collecting health information in a voluntary, confidential database which is the Clearinghouse. Membership cooperation in the Clearinghouse process is crucial to its success and to accurate data management. Members are encouraged to submit information in as timely a manner as possible, but we will accept delayed reports. We are sensitive to the emotional and confidential concerns of each owner and have developed a form to make reporting become an easy process. The health information is summarized and reported to the membership in the FCRSA newsletter. This we hope will be an intermediate step to establishing the open database which could be used to identify top health concerns, enable the tracking of health problems, be available to breeders to assist them in making breeding decisions, and supply information to researchers.

The members of the Sharon Myers Health Committee are chairman Doris Ehret, and members Dave Bunde, Mary Jo Gallagher, Cheryl Kistner, Kim Holmes, Tanya Roche, and Colleen DeVore. In addition, Mary Young and Linda Randall contribute as advisers.

Please use the Sharon Myers Health Clearinghouse Form for submitting information to the Clearinghouse Database. Send as much information as you have available. You can send updates later that will be added to your initial information if you choose to identify the dog.

SEND TISSUE SAMPLES FOR CANCER RESEARCH TO:

Drs. Couto and McLoughlin, Veterinary Teaching Hospital
The Ohio State University, 601 Vernon L. Tharp Street, Columbus OH 43210
Phone: 614.292.3551 Fax: 614.292.0895

Send samples in a well-sealed and labeled container in 10% formalin. Put in a ziplock bag for extra protection. Be sure to include information such as: sex, age, where tumor came from, how long it had been present, whether it had been rapidly growing, etc. (brief history). Include also your name, address and phone/fax as well as your veterinarian's name, address and phone/fax. Include also a copy of the pedigree, if it is available. If you have older copies of biopsy reports, they can be sent in place of a formalin sample. The same information must accompany biopsy reports.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR VET

Items to Check After Cancer Diagnosis

  • Complete Exam
  • Blood Work
  • X-Ray (spleen, lungs, heart, liver) and Ultra-sound if there is anything unusual
  • If medicine is prescribed discuss the interaction with other drugs the dog is taking (thyroid, rimadyl, adequane, etc.). Are there any side effects? What to watch for. What to expect.

Emergency Care

  • Who will give after hours care? Is your Primary Vet and Pharmacy available?
  • Know before hand what options you have if the dog crashes during the night.

General Considerations

  1. Dogs can have more than one type of cancer at the same time.
  2. If possible, take a family member or friend who will help ask questions, be persistent, ask until you feel you are prepared and understand the alternatives to different treatments including euthanasia. Unfortunately a few of the cancers spread rapidly and there is not much time to make decisions.
  3. Ask questions about the cost of the tests and treatments as they can quickly escalate.
  4. Ask questions about the care required for each of the treatment options. Will the dog need help walking, will the dog be able to potty on his own, what will be required.
  5. What will the quality of life be for each of the treatment options. Will the dog be "normal" after the treatment or disabled. What type of long term care will the dog require.
  6. While being treated for cancer, be aware that the immune system is vulnerable and your dog could contract other diseases.
  7. Decide whether you would want an autopsy to be performed.
  8. Contact your breeder before making final treatment decisions.
  9. Contact the Sharon Myers committee as there are people who have recent experience dealing with different types of cancer (Mary Jo Gallagher at 316-744-2860 or mjgallag@dtc.net).


Copyright © 1999, Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Inc.
Last Revised: May 21, 1999
Hosted by The American Kennel Club
http://www.akc.org/clubs/fcra/health.html