Cancer is the focus of the Cancer Committee.  

Cancer is a condition common to all dogs, not just Portuguese Water Dogs. It is commonly fatal, depending on the type of cancer and how early it is detected. Treatment frequently consists of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, nutritional support and homeopathies.

Why the PWDCA is addressing this:

Cancer is currently the number one cause of death of the Portuguese Water Dogs. It is also currently the number one non-traumatic killer of dogs in general.

How the PWDCA is dealing with this:

The PWDCA will continue to support ongoing cancer research in the hope it will someday lead to answers to or treatments for canine cancers. The PWDCA and the Cancer Committee will be looking to raise funds to continue supporting outside research.

What the PWDCA is doing:

The PWDCA is supporting cancer research through a variety of organizations, such as:
  • Dr. Jaime Modiano VMP, PhD. is working on a project that is looking at treatment and a test for the early detection of Hemangiosaracoma. Dr. Modiano is in need of blood and tissue samples from dogs affected with hemangiosarcoma for his research. In the event that your dog is suspected of having hemangiosarcoma, please have your vet contact Dr. Modiano’s lab at 612-626-6890. If time allows, they will send supplies and complete instructions to your vet for the collection of the tissue to be used in their research. They will provide your vet with a pathology report for the tumor samples provided to them. More information on this research can be found at Modiano Lab at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Modiano provided the PWDCA with an article that describes the current knowledge of Hemangiosarcoma and it was published in the January/February 2007 issue of the Courier — the Official Publication of the PWDCA, and the full text of this article is available at Modiano Lab Selected Publications.
    Information on how to submit a tissue sample:
  • The Georgie Project was an autopsy project participation. The PWDCA, along with owners who generously made their dogs health information available, was working to unlock information regarding cancer in the Portuguese Water Dog. This effort involved more than 600 Portuguese Water Dogs and was in existence from 1996 to 2016. The Georgie Project was a collaboration between owners and breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs and scientists at the University of Utah and was named in memory of Georgie, a Portuguese Water Dog that died of an autoimmune disease. The Georgie Project Phase II ended August 31, 2016.



The PWDCA and its members continue to help fund important research projects with the hope of helping to finding some answers to the treatment and/or prevention of cancer in our dogs.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog Foundation, Inc. is involved in providing funds for cancer and other health research. Contributions to the Foundation are needed to help fund this research. To view the research grants that have been funded, go to the Foundation's website.
Other Important References – Articles, Books, Research Projects, Websites:
  • "Pets Living With Cancer: A Pet Owner’s Resource" by Robin Downing
  • Modiano Lab of the University of Minnesota. This site has quite a bit of useful information and links to other sites:
  • Information on how to submit a tissue sample -
  • The American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation. For detailed information on active and completed research projects see their web site at
  • Guide to Internet Resources for Cancer--Cancer in Animals--Veterinary Oncology:
  • American Veterinary Medical Association:
  • VetInfo-A Veterinary Information Service:
  • Colorado State University—Researchers at the University are looking for dogs that have cancer to participate in a study to make chemotherapy more powerful. People interested in having their dog participate in the cancer drug trial should contact the Animal Cancer Center in Fort Collins at:
  • American Animal Hospital Association—2006 Vaccination Guidelines:
  • The Golden Retriever Club whose dogs are also affected by cancer has a very informative website. Look under their Health Section-"Health Concerns" & "Ongoing Research" for information regarding Lymphoma and Hemangiosarcoma. Most informative is the Hemangiosarcoma FAQ’s. View the website at
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