Two years down, 10 to go.
Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study this month entered the third year of a project designed to document the long-term health of one of the United States’ most popular dog breeds.
More than 1,900 golden retrievers are enrolled in the study, which uses owner questionnaires, veterinary exams, blood tests and genetic sequencing to provide researchers with an in-depth look at the breed and help them better understand cancer and other canine diseases.
Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Denver, hopes to ultimately enroll 3,000 dogs. Owners of golden retrievers younger than 2 years old and living in the contiguous United States may apply at caninelifetimehealth.org.
David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., the foundation’s president and CEO, volunteered his golden retriever, Bridger.
“It is not easy, but it is so important,” he said.
Information gleaned from the study will grow over the years as the dogs age, become sick and die.
“When one group of dogs develops a disease—cancer or diabetes, for instance—there will be another group that doesn’t,” the foundation reported. “With the data collected, scientists can identify the differences between the two groups’ nutrition, genetics and environments, allowing them to piece together risk factors that cause dogs to develop a specific disease.”
The study’s 12-year timeline is roughly the life expectancy of a golden retriever, but Morris Animal Foundation stated that the research could be extended to 14 years or, if funding allows, to the dogs’ offspring and beyond.