Thursday, January 2, 2014

Learning More About Cancer in Golden Retrievers and Other Dogs

I find it quite shocking and sad that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. One breed of dog that is particularly prone to cancer is the Golden Retriever. According to the Morris Animal Foundation, more than half of all Golden Retrievers die from cancer.

I have personally witnessed many Golden Retrievers come down with cancer in the past. And I've now "met" several online blogging friends who have experienced cancer with their own Goldens. It's heartbreaking when our beloved pets become sick, but there are ways to help.

Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

The Morris Animal Foundation is currently conducting the largest and longest observational study ever that is dedicated to improving the health of dogs. The study is called the "Golden Retriever Lifetime Study" and will last 10-14 years and involve 3,000 Golden Retriever dogs. The study will not only help researchers understand cancer in Golden Retrievers better, but will help them understand cancer in all dogs. The study will also help researcher's learn how to prevent other diseases.


If you are over the age of 18, live in the United States and have a Golden Retriever, you may be eligible to participate in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Click here to learn more about how to participate in this program.

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study
Photo by Dirk Vorderstrabe

Still not sure if you should join? Here are some compelling reasons why you should enroll your Golden Retriever in this groundbreaking research project:

  • Identify ways in which genetics, environment and diet may affect a dog's risk for cancer
  • Determine risk factors for other major health disorders in Golden Retrievers
  • Learn how to better prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and other canine diseases
  • Improve the health of future generations of Golden Retrievers and help create a healthier tomorrow for all dogs

I think it's amazing that the Morris Animal Foundation has put this study together and hope that they are able to gain valuable knowledge from it. Thank you to those who have already enrolled in this project and to those of you who will enroll in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

We may not have the answers to beat cancer just yet, but one day maybe we can figure out a much needed solution.

25 comments:

  1. We too hope the studying helps us learn more and help prevent and or treat better. Have a tremendous Thursday and we hope you had an awesome start to the new year.
    Best wishes Molly

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  2. Such an interesting study. Although, I am not sure that their numbers aren't a bit inflated. I know several goldens who lived to old age and none got cancer. With a number like "more than 1/2" you would think I would have run into one. I am not disputing that currently Goldens as a breed seem particularly prone (and that wasn't the case when we researched the breed 20 years ago). Such a puzzle. I hope they are able to discover something. I know there was a study (not sure who was conducting it, but I think it was an MSU study) and they were collecting DNA of various breeds of healthy dogs for a cancer study. I never heard the findings from that one, or maybe they found nothing helpful.

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    1. I've seen a lot of Golden Retrievers working at the vet clinic, and I would have to say that less than half got cancer. But, cancer was still something that seemed pretty common in the breed from my observations. I only saw some of these dogs once in their life and others I saw for several years, but they were still young. One of my favorite Goldens named Guapo came down with melanoma unfortunately. I am also hopeful they can figure some things out from this study...

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  3. My understanding is that a lot of the problem in goldens is a genetic predisposition to cancer, now very common due to inbreeding. Because of the way particular champions are used to establish huge bloodlines, perpetuated by the need to have an AKC pedigree, unfortunately lymphoma in particular is common in Golden Retrievers. I hope this study will lead to changes in the way breeders certify 'purebred' goldens AND some new ways to treat canine cancers.

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    1. Thanks for your input Amy. I would say that lymphoma is actually very common in all dogs, unfortunately =/ and it seems like it's even more common in cats. Those are just personal observations though and I have no facts to back them up.

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  4. What a sad problem. we hope the study helps save lives. Lee and Phod

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  5. We shared. We aren't goldens, but have heard a lot about Goldens and cancer. So very sad.

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    1. Thank you Emma. It is very sad, and hopefully this study can help.

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  6. We sure hope progress gets made soon. Our dear friend Sugar was just diagnosed with cancer and we are very sad about that.

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    1. Yes, I had Sugar in my thoughts as I was writing about this. I hear she is having surgery today so I hope she's able to beat that nasty cancer!

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  7. We sure are glad to see research happening like that. I have know some Golden's that had cancer. I think it does happen in a lot of them. Sure hope it helps. They are wonderful dogs.

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  8. This is so sad but I'm glad there's a study looking into it. I've had two kitties who both got cancer and died from it. I would love to see more research be done.

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    1. I also had a cat with mammary cancer who died from it.

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  9. Interesting study!! Scariest stuff in the world, cancer :(
    ((husky hugz))
    "love is being owned by a husky"

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  10. We never knew that! The mom had a lovely, beautiful golden with a sweet personality when she was younger, but some idiot shot him. Some people have no respect for life, or other people's pets. It was a senseless, hurtful thing, and since the dog was on his own property, unwarrented.

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    1. Oh no! That's unbelievable... I just don't understand how people can just shoot dogs and cats like that... :(

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  11. I hope they can find out why. That’s very sad.

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  12. Wow! It's to great to hear that The Morris Animal Foundation will be going forward with this study! I will share this post because I know a few Golden Retriever mommies and daddies! :-)

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  13. If the study had been started back when Callie and Shadow were still puppies, I'd have enrolled them. But now they're almost 10 and 9-1/2. Thank goodness, no signs of cancer as of right now. Shadow's littermate, Emma, lost a hind leg to osteosarcoma nearly 2 years ago and is doing great.

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    1. I'm sure it's not easy finding candidates for this study. Which is why I am glad to spread the word. Good that your pups are healthy right now! Hope they stay that way!

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  14. My 2 & 1/2 year old golden retriever just passed away this past week from bone cancer. I am very confused on why this can happen at such a young age,

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    1. Hi Greggory, so very sorry for your loss. That is such a young age... I personally do not have the answer for you. The study mentioned above was put in place so that maybe we can learn more about cancer in this breed of dog as well as other dogs.

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  15. Hi my 2 1/2 year old American Red Golden Retriever just passed away from a large Mass tumor in which ruptured and she was bleeding internally. We couldn't save her in time, the vet said she needed a blood transfusion or maybe a couple of them because she was losing a lot of blood. They said her prognosis was 3-6 months if she survived the blood transfusion as well as the surgery. We are completely heartbroken.

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