Bark for Life Oct. 26 at College of Veterinary Medicine to raise awareness of human and animal cancer

Published: October 20, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY –The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and American Cancer Society will hold Bark for Life on Oct. 26, a community event highlighting the connection between human and animal cancer, by offering pets and their owners fun events and educational exhibits.

Activities will begin at 4 p.m. on the front lawn of the College of Veterinary Medicine on Wire Road and will include a Howl-a-Ween dress-up contest for pets and owners; a survivor walk and a memorial walk. College of Veterinary Medicine student organizations will have Trunk or Treat displays for both companion animals and children, and people and their pets can have their photos taken in a photo booth.

Educational exhibits will showcase the Auburn University Research in Cancer Initiative, or AURIC, and the Oncology Service of the Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital. In addition, several organizations, including Hills, Purina and the Morris Animal Foundation, will have displays.

AURIC embodies the "One Medicine" concept linking human, animal and environmental health, in which discoveries in one species advance health in all species. "AURIC is human medicine, animal medicine, research and diagnostics where faculty, students and staff are working together to solve the complex puzzle of cancer," said Dr. Bruce Smith, director of AURIC. "Animals and humans share many of the same cancers and what we learn in treating a tumor in a dog can teach us more about treating the same tumor in a person."

AURIC was created in 2012 to improve both human and animal health, foster an environment of excellence in cancer research, promote research that enhances competitiveness to advance the understanding of the biology of cancer and foster the translation of novel technologies from the laboratory to the clinic. Auburn University cancer research is multi-disciplinary, involving faculty from several colleges and schools as well as outside university partners.

The Oncology Service at the Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital is among the busiest of the 12 referral services in the teaching hospital, providing treatment to about 100 companion animals weekly.

The goal of the Oncology Service team is to help animals with cancer achieve longer, happier lives. The treatment alternatives are much the same as those for people with cancer – surgery, radiation chemotherapy, immunotherapy and clinical trials.

"People are taking better care of their animals and pets are living longer, so we are seeing more animals live to an age where they develop cancer," said Dr. Annette Smith, a professor of oncology in the Department of Clinical sciences and chair of the Oncology Service in the teaching hospital.

"Previously, many dogs died from common illnesses, but now we have vaccines and we keep our dogs indoors, so they are living much longer."

For a schedule of Bark for Life activities, go to http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/news-at-the-college/recent-news/college-of-veterinary-medicine-to-hold-educational-fun-bark-for-life-oct.-26.

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