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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

New Early Detection Dog Cancer Blood Test Being Developed

Updated: October 23rd, 2020


If this “rock star” veterinary oncologist has her way, we’ll be able to detect some forms of dog cancer way earlier than we can now. With a blood test!

dog cancer blood test

Well, isn’t this interesting news! Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, teacher, researcher, and veterinary oncologist at Texas A&M University, named 2017 Hero Veterinarian, is researching and developing a new test that hopefully will be the first early detection dog cancer blood test!

This is very good news, because right now, as so many of us know only too well, we usually do not detect dog cancer until it is very far advanced. And our dogs pay the price because early detection means more effective treatments. With one out of two dogs over the age of ten getting cancer, early detection would be a really meaningful advance.

Over the next year, Dr. Wilson-Robles will be working with a new blood test called Nu.Q from Volition Veterinary Diagnostics Development. The test looks for certain biomarkers in the blood left by cancer cells. While Dr. Wilson-Robles does not think that it will be able to detect each and every cancer type, anything will be better than what we currently have. (Ummm, CT scans and biopsies, which are both invasive and expensive and usually require anesthesia.)

Most of the research will be conducted at Texas A&M. Dr. Wilson-Robles will be working with blood samples voluntarily collected during veterinary appointments at the clinic.

If the test proves effective, the team hopes to make the test available within a year. The company predicts it will cost about $100 and be easy to administer in general practice veterinary visits. So as soon as a year from now, we MIGHT have a relatively affordable dog cancer blood test available to make early detection possible.

That’s some good news!

Warm Aloha,


Further Reading:

Canine cancer screening test in the works Texas A&M’s veterinary college is developing a blood test to identify early cancer in dogs October 31, 2019, Veterinary Practice News


Texas A&M enters partnership in effort to develop effective cancer screening in dogs, The Eagle, November 3, 2019

Texas A&M Veterinary School Helps Create First-Ever Cancer Screenings For Dogs


Leave a Comment

  1. Deb on November 5, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    My dogs are tested every six months. The test is called Just In Case and, it looks for markers in their blood for many different kinds of cancer. If anything is elevated, I would then do further diagnostics. I was just surprised by your article when it says that this would be the first blood test for detecting cancer because my dogs are already being tested. Thanks.

    • Molly Jacobson on November 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      Hi Deb, thanks for writing. We have never heard of that specific test, and as far as we know there is no established blood test that does this. Many veterinarians do complete blood count panels at routine checkups, and SOME forms of cancer show up in those panels. There are other things that may be tested that might point to a possible cancer problem, but the biomarkers for individual cancers are still being worked out for the large part, and our understanding is that there isn’t yet a simple blood test for dogs, just like there isn’t one for people. In fact, the test that is being investigated at Texas A&M is being developed FOR humans, and they are testing it in dogs this year because dogs are so similar to us humans when it comes to cancer.

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