Beloved Ohio K-9 battling cancer joins clinical trial

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A beloved Ohio police dog is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma.

“It’s been tough,” Deputy Marc Nye with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News. “Although I’m pretty upset, I feel like the best way to deal with it is to simply keep working and not really change much in our daily lives.”

It was just last week when Nye took Nero, his canine partner of four years, to a veterinary hospital after discovering a lump on the Belgian Malinois’ throat. On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office was shocked to learn that Nero was battling B-cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that affects blood cells, and had only one to two years left to live.

“If you saw him you would fall in love with him,” Sheriff Stephen J. Levorchick told ABC News. “He’s so good. That’s what makes it really sad.”

Nero is being monitored by doctors, free of charge, at The Ohio State University’s Veterinary Medical Center as part of a clinical trial program. Vets are using two different drugs to treat the four-legged crime fighter as he now fights for his own life.

“Both of the drugs have human equivalents, and are moving forward, hopefully, for approval from FDA to treat dogs with cancer,” Dr. Cheryl London, who is treating Nero, told ABC News.

“Most of our lymphoma patients will survive 10 to 14 months,” London added, explaining that some dogs may live up to two years or more with the disease.

But Nero, who has been “an instrumental part of patrol duties within Ottawa County” for more than four years,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office, isn’t ready to retire from the force just yet.

“If Nero is having a good day and Deputy Nye feels that it would be beneficial for Nero to go to work, then he’ll go to work,” Levorchick said. “If he is having a bad day and should stay home, Nero will stay home that day.”

Well-wishers have left a flood of messages on Nero’s Facebook page. “Nero is a superhero,” “Praying for Nero” and “Stay strong, Nero” are just a few of them.

“He’s not your typical canine,” Levorchick said. “Whenever he comes up and you start petting him, he leans into your leg. He loves it so much, and he loves people, and he loves kids.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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