Landmark canine cancer study enrolling veterinarians
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study officially began enrolling veterinarians and dog owners on August 30, marking the launch of a canine health study of unprecedented size and scope.
Over a period of 10-14 years, veterinarians and pet owners participating in the prospective cohort study undertaken by Morris Animal Foundation will continuously monitor the health of 3,000 golden retrievers. This ongoing collection of data will give researchers deeper insight into how genetics, environment, and diet affect the onset and progression of cancer and other canine diseases.
According to Canine Lifetime Health Project Study Director Michael Guy, DVM, MS, PhD, veterinarians who have discussed the study with him have expressed enthusiasm about the amount of knowledge that will be gained.
“The veterinarians I’ve talked to are excited because they feel that a comprehensive study like this in dogs is very necessary,” Guy said. “We expect to see a lot of information coming out of this study about canine health that will be good for dogs in general.”
How the study aims to improve canine health
To ensure a diverse sample, researchers divided the United States into five geographic zones from which they will recruit a set number of dogs, as well as identified other variables such as male versus female, and spayed versus neutered dogs. Enrollment will be capped for each of these variables once the quota has been reached.
Following the study, data will be shared with the worldwide research community to encourage collaboration in finding:
How veterinarians can participate
Once the veterinarian and pet owner have signed up online and been accepted into the study, over the course of the next 10-14 years the veterinarian will:
Besides the valuable knowledge that researchers expect to gain from the study, Guy said veterinarians can benefit from the close collaboration with their clients who are participating in the study.
“The clients who participate are very committed to their dogs. To me, that’s the type of clients a veterinarian wants. Working with a client for 12 years on an annual basis helps to cement a relationship with long-term, committed clients,” he said.