By Dr. Becker
As most Golden Retriever devotees are painfully aware, too many dogs belonging to this fabulous breed suffer from a number of serious health problems, including cancer.
In fact, 60 percent of Goldens die of cancer, including lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma. And the age at which dogs acquire cancer is getting younger and younger.
Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Now Open for Enrollment
The Denver-based Morris Animal Foundation, as part of its Canine Lifetime Health Project, has recently launched the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. It's the largest and longest observational study ever attempted to positively impact the health of dogs, and will involve up to 3,000 Goldens for 10 to 14 years.
An observational study is one in which participants are monitored and information is collected on them. The study isn't intended to directly affect how owners take care of their dogs, but instead to provide valuable information on how to better prevent, detect and treat cancer and other diseases.
The study intends to enroll Goldens over the next two years, and track the dogs for their entire lives with input from owners and veterinarians, who will keep records of the dogs' health, nutritional and environmental information.
In order to participate, dogs must be Golden Retrievers with a three-generation pedigree, who are healthy and under the age of 2 at the time the owner submits his or her application.
Requirements of Study Dog Owners
According to study director Dr. Michael Guy, participation in the study requires a long-term commitment of both the dog owner and their veterinarian.
Owners must agree to:
- Participate for the life of their dog and select a vet who also agrees to participate
- Complete online questionnaires about their dog's food and feeding habits, environment, behavior, temperament, and health problems
- Visit their vet for annual exams and for collection of blood, urine, feces, hair and toenail clipping samples
- Allow collection of tumor samples, if applicable
- Consider a necropsy at the end of their dog's life
Owners of dogs in the study will be responsible for the cost of annual exams, sample collection and test results. Morris Animal Foundation will reimburse owners up to $75 of these costs per year once it verifies the exam and sample collection has been accomplished.
If you'd like more information or want to register your dog for the study, visit the Canine Lifetime Health Project.