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Solving Mysteries

Study Relying on Expert Pathologists to Get Diagnoses Right

As the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study enters its fifth year, the scientific team is starting to see a small uptick in the number of participating dogs developing cancers, both benign and malignant. Accurate and consistent evaluation of the tissue samples collected from study dogs is crucial to the study’s success; without the same people evaluating each sample, diagnoses can vary enough to impact study findings. 

In order to maintain consistency, the study has two pathologists poised to evaluate tissue specimens and provide a base of reference for other researchers. Drs. E.J. Ehrhart and Mike Betley ensure that study biopsies and other tissue specimens are reviewed and categorized accurately, and their involvement will grow as the study population ages.

Dr. Betley is the recipient of the first Pathology Residency training grant in support of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and is based at Colorado State University. In addition to the normal duties expected of pathology residents, Dr. Betley works with Dr. Ehrhart, formerly at CSU, to evaluate samples from the study, providing an extra hand in what will eventually be a lot of samples.

“I truly appreciate receiving my Morris Animal Foundation training grant,” said Dr. Betley. “I really wanted to come to Colorado State University for training, and this unique grant is allowing me to not only pursue my dream of becoming a boarded pathologist, but I’m getting a chance to participate in this incredible study. ” 

Collected tissue samples add to the large body of other materials from the cohort, including questionnaire answers, genetic data and other banked biologic materials such as blood, urine and feces. Plans are underway to allow collaborative researchers to request samples, including tissue, for specific research projects. The power of this study is the vast range of material available from each dog – something that most researchers simply don’t have access to under normal circumstances – which should advance our understanding of canine health. 


Categories: Animal studies, Canine cancer , Dog diseases, Dog health, Animal health, Canine health
December 18, 2017