13 Year Study of Golden Retrievers Hopes to Identify Risk Factors for Cancer

Can you imagine a world in which canine cancer is no longer a mystery?  Where the root causes are known and cancer can actually be PREVENTED in many cases?  Can you imagine that happening within the next 15 years?  It might seem impossible, but that’s exactly what researchers are hoping to accomplish through a groundbreaking, long-term study called the Canine Lifetime Health Project.

Set to be launched this year by the Morris Animal Foundation, the Canine Lifetime Health Project will try to identify the genetic, environmental and nutritional risk factors for canine cancer and other diseases by studying approximately 2,500 Golden Retrievers between the ages of 2 and 7. According to the Morris Animal Foundation, this is the “largest and longest study of dogs ever undertaken.”

You may wonder, why study Golden Retrievers and not other breeds? Likely, it’s because Goldens are diagnosed with cancer at a much higher rate than other breeds. It is estimated that as many as 60% of Golden Retrievers will die from cancer. Across the general dog population, cancer affects approximately one in every three dogs. The two most common cancers affecting Goldens are Hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels, and Lymphoma, a cancer affecting the lymph system. Also, the genetic line for Golden Retrievers is more closed than other breeds and so many believe that the original founders of the breed passed along genetic material that became concentrated over time and has lead to their descendants’ elevated risk of developing cancer as well as other immune system disorders. These two factors make them an excellent choice for a long-term study of genetic, environmental and nutritional factors that can lead to the development of cancer or other serious illnesses, and will hopefully prove beneficial for all breeds in the long-run.

If you would like to learn more about this study or find out how to enroll your dog, CLICK HERE to contact the Morris Animal Foundation to sign up for study notifications.

To learn more about cancer in Golden Retrievers, check out this comprehensive article by Rhonda Hoven, which can be found on the Golden Retriever Club of America website at: http://www.grca.org/pdf/health/cancer.pdf.


About Kerry Malak

I am a Bulldog mom, Reiki Master/Teacher, pet loss counselor and canine cancer advocate who loves working with people and animals to help them live longer, happier and healthier lives.
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