Bart the Bear, star of films such as "The Edge" and "Legends of the Fall," has accepted another starring role. In conjunction with National Pet Week May 7-13, Bart takes the lead as spokesbear for "Paws for a Cause," a national campaign to help build public awareness of cancer in pets and the treatments available to help them.
The "Paws for a Cause" campaign also will help raise funds for a much-needed new wing to house the world-renowned Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The facility, to be built largely with privately raised funds, will be dedicated primarily to diagnosis, treatment-and possibly the prevention-of cancer in pet animals.
The Animal Cancer Center will house examination rooms, research space, tumor tissue processing and archiving, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear and complementary medicine. The Argus Center for Human-Animal Bond Resources, which offers family support and counseling services, also will be housed in the wing.
A cancer survivor himself, Bart has appeared in several television shows and feature films. In addition to "The Edge," "White Fang" and "Legends of the Fall," Bart also has had key roles in "The Gambler," "On Deadly Ground" and "The Bear." Now, Bart is starring in a public service announcement filmed for the Animal Cancer Center that will begin to air nationally during National Pet Week and continue throughout the summer. His image also will appear on posters, buttons and stickers distributed with information about cancer in pets.
For 23 years, animal trainers Doug and Lynne Seus raised Bart as one of the family and trained him with love and affection. While most people can’t claim a 9-and-a half foot, 1,500-pound grizzly as a family member, 60 percent of American families do live with at least one companion animal. Like Bart, many of these animals are likely to be stricken with cancer.
Like the American Cancer Society’s "Seven Early Signs of Cancer," the Veterinary Cancer Society and the American Veterinary Medical Association have developed a list of 10 common signs to educate pet owners about cancer. Warning signs include abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow; sores that do not heal; weight loss, loss of appetite; bleeding or discharge from any body opening; offensive odor; difficulty in swallowing or eating; hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina; persistent lameness or stiffness; or difficulty in breathing, urinating or defecating.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in cats and dogs. While treatments are available, more research is crucial. Over the years, the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State has grown from a small veterinary service unit to a major treatment, research and outreach center that now handles more than 7,000 appointments and more than 1,500 new cancer patients annually.
To make a donation to "Paws for a Cause" or to receive further information about the Animal Cancer Center, the Argus Center for Human-Animal Bond Resources or other donor programs, call toll-free 1-877-4CSUVET (1-877-427-8838) or visit the Web at www.cancercure.colostate.edu.