Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs older than 2 years. Especially Golden Retrievers seem to be more predisposed to it (lymphoma, melanoma, osteosarcoma, etc) compared to other breeds. This might have to do with genetics, but the influence of outside factors such as nutrition and environment might be playing a big role as well. The lack of understanding of the surroundings of this disease process had veterinary oncologists initiate a project with the goal of “creating a comprehensive database of 3,000 purebred golden retrievers during the course of their lifetime”. The Morris Animal Foundation was willing to take on the study. The Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit that has invested more than $70 million in veterinary research since its inception in 1948. It has funded about 240 studies at any given time and it is believed that this is the biggest study in veterinary medicine to date.
Participation in the study is a big commitment for both the dog owner and the veterinarian.
Mike Nolan (owner of Miga) committed to this study and Dr. Neumeister committed to performing the annual exams for the life of the dog. This includes the collection of blood, urine, hair, feces, and nail clippings in designated containers at each of the visits. Additional comprehensive questionnaires covering many aspects of a pet’s routine activities are completed as well. Any other visits associated with illness or injury, particularly in the evaluation of any masses or suspected cancers, will include sample collection as well. Dr. Neumeister does not receive compensation for the visits, but the possibilities this study has for improvements in health for all dogs make it an inspiring and exciting project for her.
Although the study was initially conceived by veterinary oncologists, it will give insight into many other diseases, from hypothyroidism and heart failure to renal disease and epilepsy.
For more information about the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study visit www.caninelifetimehealth.org.
Update from “AnimalNEWS” publication from Morris Animal Foundation Volume 15 Issue 1:
Genetic regions identified for two cancers in Golden Retrievers
Up to 40 percent of Golden Retrievers will be diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma in their lifetime. Currently, the relationship between heritability and susceptibility for these tumors in Golden Retrievers remains unknown. With Foundation funding, a multi-institutional research team from Uppsala University in Sweden, The University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University recently identified two genetic regions associated with a higher risk for these two cancers in this breed. This is a critical step toward designing strategies for earlier and more accurate diagnoses of these common cancers.
Miga came in for her yearly Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
Doctor Neumeister filled out the yearly questionnaire and sent samples of Miga’s blood, urine, hair, feces, and nail clippings to the Morris Foundation.
We are proud to be part of this important study!