DAVIS (CBS13) — The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is looking for healthy dogs for a canine cancer vaccine study.

UC Davis spokesperson Rob Warren said the school is one of three national participants in the Vaccination Against Canine Cancer Study (VACCS trial).

The goal of the study is to evaluate a new vaccine strategy designed to prevent, rather than treat, cancer in dogs. The university said cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs, accounting for approximately 30% of all canine deaths.

Dogs being sought for the study must meet the following criteria:

  • Healthy, with no history of previous cancer
  • Aged between 6 and 10 years
  • Weigh at least 11 pounds (5kg)
  • Be mixed breed, or of certain pure breeds only (see complete list)
  • Live within 150 miles of UC Davis
  • Have visited a veterinarian within 12 months of study entry, and have three years of previous medical history available for review

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UC Davis said participating dogs will be chosen at random to receive either placebo vaccines or a series of vaccines similar to other routine vaccines that are currently given. Dogs will live at home and will be checked two to three times yearly for five years after enrollment into the study.

The three schools, including the University of Wisconsin and Colorado State University, are looking to enroll a total of 800 dogs into the study nationwide. UC Davis said they currently have 28 out of 275 total dogs enrolled on their part.

UC Davis said a financial incentive will be offered to cover the cost of treatment and diagnostics of any dog that may develop cancer during the study.

To see if your dog is eligible, visit the UC Davis Veterinary Center for Clinical Trials website.