Golden Retrievers remain one of the most popular dog breeds in America, which is why it’s so hard for many to hear that more than half of these dogs die of cancer. And while Golden Retrievers seem to be extremely susceptible to the disease, they are by no means alone. Cancer is the leading cause of death for all dogs over the age of 2.
These statistics are what have driven the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Lifetime Health Project to begin a massive study that will study 3,000 Golden Retrievers over the span of their lifetimes (10 – 14 years).
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the first study for the Canine Lifetime Health Project, and will focus on identifying risk factors for the development of cancer and other diseases in Golden Retrievers. While Golden Retrievers are the main focus of the study, the results will likely help determine risk factors for dogs of any breed.
Own a Golden Retriever? Get Involved.
The study is currently accepting participating dogs and owners for the study. There are certain parameters you and your dog must meet in order to participate, including:
- The dog owner must be at least 18 and live in the contiguous US
- The dogs must be under the age of 2 at the time of the application
- The dogs must have a three-generation pedigree
- You, the owner, must agree to participate for the life of your dog
- You must agree to use a veterinarian who will also participate in the program
- You must complete online questionnaires regarding your dog’s food type, feeding habits, environment exposures, behavior and more
- You must be willing to consider a necropsy (post mortem exam) on your dog
That sounds like some pretty heavy commitment for any dog owner, so why would you want to participate? Canine Lifetime Health truly believes that the results of this study will pave the way for future generations of Golden Retrievers. By studying a large number of dogs, the organization hopes to identify how genes, diet, and the environment trigger cancer symptoms, so that better preventions and diagnostics can be put into place.
Basic facts about Golden Retrievers and cancer
About 60% of Goldens will die of cancer. The breakdown is roughly 66% of males and 57% of females. That is nearly double the rate of cancer in all dogs (which is at around 1 in 3). It’s important to note, however, that even with that high rate of cancer, the average lifespan of Golden Retrievers is around 10 – 11 years.
The two most common cancers are hemangiosarcoma (1 in 5 Goldens) and lymphoma (1 in 8 Goldens). Combined, these two cancers represent about half of all the cancers in the breed.
You can learn more about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study here