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Morris Animal Foundation steps up fight against pet cancer

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Cancer ends the lives of more dogs and cats than any other disease, according to the Morris Animal Foundation. So the Denver-based nonprofit, which invests in science that advances veterinary medicine for animals, this month launched the Unite to Fight Pet Cancer Campaign.

Besides raising money to fund more reasearch to end the affliction, Morris will be offering free information to pet guardians to keep their aninals healthy.

The foundation is making available a pet cancer information kit and will present a free mast cell tumor webinar on May 14. Mast cell tumors are the most common skin tumor of dogs and are the second most common skin tumor of cats.

Morris has been funding animal cancer research since 1962 and Dawn Kaufmann has been one of the beneficiaries. "I feel very strongly in the work that Morris Animal Foundation does," says Kaufmann."When cancer struck my own fur baby, Wrigley, I knew that even though the odds were not in her favor for survival, the money I had contributed was going to help fund ongoing research into canine cancers."

Just shy of Wrigley's second birthday, Dawn had noticed her dog had developed a limp. Despite her young age, Wrigley received a devastating diagnosis of osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer that has a high likelihood of spread (metastasis) to other organs. The average survival for dogs with osteosarcoma treated with surgery and chemotherapy is about 12 months.

Twelve years after her surgery, Wrigley defied the odds, and lived to celebrate her 14th birthday in January.

One way to support the Morris effort is to donate money. Donations made between now and June 30 will be matched up to $50,000 by the Blue Buffalo Company.

Another is to take part in the foundation's Virtual Pet Cancer Walk. Participants will pledge money to take their pets for this online walk on June 22 to support pet cancer research

"With your help, we are working to change the future," said David Haworth, president of Morris Animal Foundation. "By participating in and fundraising for the Unite to Fight Virtual Pet Cancer Walk, you can help increase Morris Animal Foundation's capacity to invest in science that will help prevent and treat cancer in pets."

Information and reservations: (www.morrisanimalfoundation.org)

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