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Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, with more than 3,000 dogs enrolled, is a groundbreaking effort to shed light on cancer and its causes, giving veterinary researchers valuable  insight to chart a course for future studies.

The study, now in its fifth year, is designed to identify risk factors for cancer and other health problems. The four major cancers targeted by the study are:


  • Most common type of blood-cell tumor
  • Similarities to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people
  • Several breeds pre-disposed to lymphoma: bulldogs boxers and bullmastiffs
  • Classified into 2 types: B-cell and T-cell
  • To date, 15 diagnoses and 7 deaths due to lymphoma in study dogs


  • One of the most aggressive tumors of dogs
  • Three common sites: spleen, right atrium of the heart and skin
  • Strong breed association with German shepherds and golden retrievers
  • Affects older dogs (average age 10 years)
  • To date, 1 death due to hemangiosarcoma


  • Most common primary bone tumor of dogs
  • Affects primarily large and giant-breed dogs
  • Height is more important risk factor than breed
  • Occurs most commonly in dogs 7-9 years of age, and 1-2 years of age
  • To date, no study dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma

Mast Cell Tumor

  • Most common skin tumor of dogs
  • Many breeds at risk; highest incidence in brachycephalic breeds
  • One of the most commonly cured cancers in dogs
  • Surgery is first and best treatment choice
  • To date, 1 study dog diagnosed with high-grade mast cell tumor

Read more from AnimalNEWS v17.2