The third annual “Dog Walk Against Cancer” will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2006 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the grounds of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The event is open to the public and their pets.

Sponsored by the veterinary college’s Animal Welfare Club and the Center for Comparative Oncology, the event seeks to raise funds to support student cancer research and increase public awareness about cancer, according to Dr. John Robertson, a professor in the college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and director of the Center for Comparative Oncology, a research center that studies cancer in animals and people.

“Cancer is a major disease problem in dogs, just as it is in people,” said Robertson, who estimates that as many as 40 percent of middle-aged and elderly dogs will eventually contract cancer. “Our goal is to learn as much about prevention, treatment and cure as we can.”

Participants in the “Dog Walk Against Cancer” will complete a course that will wind through the “VMRCVM Grove” and nearby cross-country trails. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times, must be in good health and must be current on immunizations, Robertson said. People participating in the event are asked to only bring dogs that get along well with other dogs and other people in crowded conditions.

Individuals participating in the event are asked to acquire sponsors for each owner/dog team and present those funds to organizers on the day of the event. Pre-registration can be accomplished electronically on the Center for Comparative Oncology website here or by contacting Robertson at (540) 231-7666. Individuals who pre-register by April 5 will receive commemorative materials for their dog.

Local organizations, corporations and other commercial enterprises wishing to provide more substantial support for the event are encouraged to consider a $250 “Gold” level sponsorship of the “Dog Walk Against Cancer.”

Chartered in 2002, the Center for Comparative Oncology is an academic center for basic and clinical research on cancer. The center is based at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The mission of the center is to study the development of cancer in animals and in people, to develop new ways to diagnose cancer and to find new treatments to control and cure it.

For more information about registering for the event or providing corporate support, please contact Robertson at drbob@vt.edu or call (540) 231-7666.