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Dog cared for by UW vets to be featured in Super Bowl ad

(UW Madison via YouTube)
(UW Madison via YouTube)(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 28, 2020 at 10:32 AM CST
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A dog named Scout being treated for cancer at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine will be featured in

on Sunday, February 2nd.

Scout is a golden retriever who also serves as the unofficial mascot for the company “WeatherTech”. Weathertech makes automotive accessories like customized floor mats. They also manufacture home and pet care products. Scout belongs to the company’s founder and CEO David MacNeil.

"Most people know what we do," MacNeil said. "But [we asked] what can we do that's going to have a bigger impact?"

In the summer of 2019, an ultrasound found a tumor on Scout’s heart. He was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer of his blood vessel walls. The prognosis was not good. Scout was given about a month to live.

MacNeil remembered, "There he was in this little room, standing in the corner... and he's wagging his tail at me. I'm like 'I'm not putting that dog down. There's just absolutely no way.'"

Scout was eventually brought to UW where he immediately underwent chemotherapy and radiation that specifically went after his tumor. About a month later, Scout’s tumor had shrunk by about 78 percent. A little while later, that tumor was down 90 percent. Today, the tumor is pretty much gone.

“Scout is kind of the perfect patient in that he’s tolerated multiple modes of therapy very well, his primary tumor has responded beautifully to treatment, and we’ve been able to maintain his quality of life at a very high level,” says David Vail, professor of comparative oncology at the School of Veterinary Medicine. “At the end of the day, Scout’s quality of life is his family’s most important concern, as it is ours.”

So WeatherTech decided to celebrate Scout’s new “leash” on life by putting him in a Super Bowl commercial alongside members of the UW team who helped him get better.

“This is an amazing opportunity not only for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the School of Veterinary Medicine, but for veterinary medicine worldwide,” says Mark Markel, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “So much of what’s known globally today about how best to diagnose and treat devastating diseases such as cancer originated in veterinary medicine. We’re thrilled to share with Super Bowl viewers how our profession benefits beloved animals like Scout and helps people, too.”

MacNeil said the commercial cost about $6 million. Instead of writing a check to the school in appreciation, he said he wants viewers to show their support through donations.

He added, he hopes the commercial will shed light on cancer commonly affecting dogs. According to the UW, cancer is the number one cause of illness and death in aging dogs.

The ad opens with Scout running on the beach with a stick in his mouth. He is then seen getting medical care and some hugs from members of the UW staff. The commercial was filmed in Madison in December.

The 30-second ad will air during the second quarter of the big game on Fox.

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