Press release: Petco
Petco Health and Wellness Company, a complete partner in pet health and wellness, today launched Together Strong, a pet cancer awareness campaign that brings two- and four-legged survivors together to highlight how routine preventative care is as vital for pets as it is for humans in the fight against cancer.
Along with the campaign and in partnership with PetDx, a molecular diagnostics company aiming to revolutionize the detection, characterization and management of cancer in pets, Petco will begin offering OncoK9 – a groundbreaking multi-cancer early detection test for dogs – at its full-service vet hospitals in select locations on May 26. OncoK9 is a liquid biopsy test that enables Petco veterinarians, for the first time ever, to detect a variety of cancer types with a simple blood draw. OncoK9 is recommended as an annual screening test for dogs at a higher risk of cancer based on age or breed, and as an aid in diagnosis for dogs suspected of cancer based on clinical signs. Following the initial launch this month, Petco plans to roll out the test to its growing network of vet hospitals across the U.S. throughout 2021 and beyond.
“Approximately one-in-three dogs and one-in-five cats will get cancer in their lives – and my dog, Yummy, was one of them in 2019,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “Thankfully, with the expertise and care of one of Petco’s own veterinarians, we moved quickly from diagnosis to treatment, and three months later, my best friend became a cancer survivor. By adding OncoK9 to our Petco veterinarians’ toolbox, we’ll help more pets and pet parents move quicker from suspicion to diagnosis and treatment, and hopefully from patient to survivor, just like Yummy.”
Routine check-ups with a licensed veterinarian are recommended to keep pets healthy and help detect cancer early, when treatment is more effective and affordable. A consistent relationship with a trusted veterinarian and knowing the warning signs – like swollen lymph nodes and chronic weight loss – can help identify cancer early so pets have a better chance at avoiding becoming cancer statistics. As part of the Together Strong campaign, pet parents can receive a coupon, accessed at the Petco website, for a free general wellness exam at their pet’s first visit to any Petco vet hospital, and coverage from Petco Insurance will help subsidize the cost of care.
“Cancer is by far the leading cause of death in dogs, and we know from human medicine that early detection saves lives,” said Daniel Grosu, MD, MBA, PetDx founder and CEO. “OncoK9 is the world’s first clinically validated, next-generation sequencing-based noninvasive test for canine cancer detection. We are delighted to partner with Petco in bringing the latest technological advances from the human cancer genomics space to veterinarians and their patients across the country.”
With help from actress and dog mom Jamie Chung, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, Petco is seeking #TogetherStrong stories to call attention to human survivors who have overcome cancer with the help of their pets and celebrate the lives of pets who have either lost or survived a battle with cancer. For every individual photo and story of hope, optimism, strength and companionship shared using “#TogetherStrong,” Petco will donate $2 through the end of May to Petco Love to help fight pet cancer and provide life-saving care to pets in need. Together, Petco Love and Blue Buffalo have invested more than $16 million to support pet cancer research and treatment since 2010.