The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. (Canine Health And ReGistry Exchange) initiative includes a first-of-its-kind national Canine Cancer Registry, a Gallup dog owner survey, and the determination of a Canine Cancer Care Index. These program components are designed to provide the veterinary community and dog owners important incidence and prevalence data and insights into the impact of canine cancer on dogs and their owners to help guide canine cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Currently there is no published state-by-state canine health registry in the United States, whereas there are multiple regional European registries that inform both the veterinary and human oncology communities. We believe that we have to do better for our dogs, and that Take C.H.A.R.G.E. will finally give us the tools we need to advance canine cancer care. According to the Gallup Dog Owner Survey, more than 8 in 10 dog owners favor the creation of a U.S. canine cancer registry maintained with data from veterinary clinics to better understand the disease and advance treatments.
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Registry and Cancer Care Index will initially access information about canine cancer from two key sources: a nationally representative multi-year Gallup survey of U.S. dog owners, 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, all uploaded into a secure customized database. The database will continue to grow as veterinary clinics and pet owners upload medical records of dogs with cancer, which are de-identified and anonymous, at no cost to the clinic or pet owner. Information on the association of canine cancer with dog breed, age, gender, and location is included on an open-access, easy-to-use interactive dashboard. All data is protected following General Data Protection Regulation guidelines to ensure participant information privacy. Data will be used for research purposes only.
A registry is an organized system that uses observational study methods to collect data to evaluate specified outcomes for a population defined by a particular disease, condition or exposurei. Registries exist for many human conditions, including many cancer types, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. They are important tools for tracking changes in disease incidence and prevalence over time, and generating real-world data on safety and efficacy of various therapies.
iGliklich RE, Dreyer NA, eds. Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide. (Prepared by Outcome DEcIDE Center [Outcome Sciences, Inc. dba Outcome] under Contract No. HHSA29020050035I TO1.) AHRQ Publication No. 07-EHC001-2. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. April 2007. Accessed May 20, 2022.
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Registry is a first-of-its-kind U.S. Canine Cancer Registry. Even though this initiative has just begun, it is starting with more than 35,000 anonymous canine patient records, including more than 830 confirmed cancer diagnoses across three states: Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. As more veterinary practices and dog owners provide additional canine patient records, the Registry will grow to help better assess the status of canine cancer in the U.S. as well as by regions and states, and by breeds, cancer types, gender, and age.
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. national Gallup survey of dog owners, conducted in March 2022, estimated that the 2021 prevalence (the percent of U.S. dogs with cancer that year) was 3.4 percent, less than the approximately 5 percent prevalence in humans that year. The survey also found that the 2021 incidence (the percent of U.S. dogs newly diagnosed with cancer that year) was 2.8 percent, which is approximately five times the 0.57 percent incidence of newly diagnosed cancer in humans that year. This finding is startling since researchers have assumed that canine cancer rates mirror human cancer rates.
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 three 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.
Other key findings from the Gallup survey include:
The complete results of the Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Gallup survey of pet owners can be found here.
Currently, only rough estimates are available. The National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute estimates six million new cases of canine cancer are diagnosed each yeari. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates about 25% of dogs will develop cancerii at point in their life, and that 50% of dogs over age 10 years will develop cancer. However, we don’t really know how accurate these numbers are, or if they change over time, because no system has existed before to actually measure them. This lack of accurate and timely information is another reason we created Take C.H.A.R.G.E.
Conducted in March 2022, the Take C.H.A.R.G.E. national Gallup survey of dog owners estimated that the 2021 prevalence (the percent of U.S. dogs with cancer that year) was 3.4 percent, less than the approximately 5 percent prevalence in humans that year. The survey also found that the 2021 incidence (the percent of U.S. dogs newly diagnosed with cancer that year) was 2.8 percent, which is approximately five times the 0.57 percent incidence of newly diagnosed cancer in humans that year. This finding is startling since researchers have assumed that canine cancer rates mirror human cancer rates.
According to the Veterinary Cancer Societyi, the six most common types of cancer in dogs are:
i Veterinary Cancer Society. Frequently asked Questions. Accessed May 20, 2022.
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. One of the Take C.H.A.R.G.E. Scientific Advisory Board’s first and most important activities is driving a consistent canine cancer diagnostic coding system and supporting the goals of the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute’s Comparative Oncology Program.i 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-1i, which is based largely on the most recent version of the human cancer coding system, ICD-O-3.2ii.
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 researchers 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.
iPinello K, Baldassarre V, Steiger K, et al. Vet-ICD-O-Canine-1, a System for Coding Canine Neoplasms Based on the Human ICD-O-3.2. Cancers (Basel). 2022;14(6):1529. Published 2022 Mar 16. doi:10.3390/cancers14061529. Accessed May 20, 2022.
The Take C.H.A.R.G.E. SAB members include:
Jaguar Health, a plant-based pharmaceutical company, provides major funding for the program. Co-sponsors include Jaguar Animal Health; TogoRun, a health care communications company named after the 1925 hero sled dog Togo; and Ivee (Intelligent Veterinary Enhanced Experience), an animal health data-focused software company. Jaguar, TogoRun, and Ivee are all led by and/or owned by #DogMoms who are committed to protecting our dogs from cancer in gratitude for all the love they give us every day.
Each company has made a multi-year commitment to support Take C.H.A.R.G.E. We also are seeking support from like-minded partners to help expand Take C.H.A.R.G.E., including companies, foundations, and the government. Interested partners can contact us at TakeCHARGE@TogoRun.com to learn more.