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Image of Maestro, a black dog with a pink tongue out in the snow.

Maestro is involved in TWO OVC Clinical Trials!

Study Investigator: Dr. Michelle Oblak

Study Title: Evaluation of agreement between computed tomography lymphangiography and the combination of methylene blue and indocyanine green for sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs with oral tumours

Generously Supported by: OVC Pet Trust


Study Investigators: Dr. Brenda Coomber and Dr. Paul Woods

Study Title: Collection of Biological Specimens from Dogs Scheduled for Biopsy or Surgery for Suspected or Known Cancer

Generously Supported by: PetDx

Maestro was diagnosed with an oral fibrosarcoma. Oral fibrosarcoma is the 3rd most common oral tumour in dogs! These tumours are locally aggressive into the gingiva (gums) and often cause destruction of the underlying bone. The metastatic rate is variable, only about 1/3 of oral fibrosarcomas will spread to other organs in the body.

Surgical removal by either a mandibulectomy (removal of a portion of the lower jaw) and/or maxillectomy (removal of a portion of the upper jaw) is the standard method for treating oral fibrosarcomas.

The spread of cancer (metastasis) often occurs via the lymphatic system. For many cancers, the first place of spread is to the local lymph nodes. The status of the draining lymph nodes or sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) is an important part of disease evaluation before and during surgery.

This improved staging can provide better follow-up treatment recommendations and the technique may decrease surgical invasiveness for future patients. Visualizing the SLN can be done before surgery by performing a specialized CT lymphangiogram (CTL) and during surgery with fluorescent dyes like indocyanine green (ICG) and a specialized near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) camera (which makes the dye visible).

This is a CTL image of Maestro’s head. It is a sagittal view; meaning that the the image is a ‘slice’ through the side of his head. The SLN is indicated by the arrow.

A sagittal view of a dog's (Maestro's) specialized CT lymphangiogram (CTL). The sentinel lymph node can be seen.
A dog's (Maestro's) removed (ex-vivo) sentinel lymph nodes. The sentinel lymph nodes are glowing due to the addition of indocyanine green and a specialized near-infrared fluorescence camera.

These are removed sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) from Maestro. He had multiple lymph nodes removed for best treatment of his disease. During surgery, Dr. Oblak uses ICG and a NIRF camera to make the tumour and lymph nodes ‘glow-in-the-dark‘! These are the images of the removed (ex-vivo) SLN under NIRF light.

Maestro’s mom wanted to participate in our veterinary studies because of her love and passion for the Flat-Coated Retriever breed,“Flat-Coated Retrievers have one of the highest incidences of cancer. They are truly stalwart and only let us know they are suffering via a chance discovery on our part or when it is often too late to help them. In my case, I found the tumour and Maestro’s behaviour had remained unchanged. I would gladly pay for a simple blood test to let me know right away cancer was brewing somewhere. I wanted a chance to give Maestro’s suffering and experience to have a legacy value in hopes of helping other Flat-Coats and dogs in general. Maybe even people someday”.

Maestro was able to participate in 2 clinical studies both with the goal to improve diagnosis of cancer in our pets!

Image of Charly and Maestro, a black flat coated retriever outside the Animal Cancer Centre

Maestro was able to participate in 2 clinical studies both with the goal to improve diagnosis of cancer in our pets! Maestro is pictured here with Research Manager OVC Clinical Trials, Charly.

He is doing well and is eager to get back to competitions for rally, agility, tracking, field, heelwork to music, trick dog, stunt dog and nosework. Maestro is the first dog to ever earn UKC’s Grand Champion Nosework title! Not only is Maestro himself a champion, but so is his offspring… he has a son that is the #1 Flat-coated Retriever in Canada for 2020 in the show ring!

Celebratory ribbon that has "Champion" written on it.