June 11, 2020 – Dr. Julia Labadie recently joined the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study team as the Study Epidemiologist. Dr. Labadie is new to the Foundation but an old friend of the Study.
Like so many veterinarians, Dr. Labadie is a long-time animal lover. She grew up in northern California and describes her young self as “obsessed with horses.”
“My love for horses made me think about becoming a veterinarian,” said Dr. Labadie. “However, I remember thinking as I was getting ready to go to college that I wasn’t sure I could deal with blood, so I became a math major first. I ultimately switched to biology and then discovered epidemiology for graduate school. It was during my master’s degree program that I realized how much I missed working with animals and decided to become a veterinarian.”
Dr. Labadie knew she wanted to advance her interest in epidemiology and she searched for a combined DVM/PhD program. She ended up at Colorado State University, one of the few veterinary colleges that offer this unique program. During her interview, she met Dr. Rod Page who told her about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
“I knew I wanted to be part of this great study,” said Dr. Labadie. “It was a big reason I chose to come to CSU.”
Dr. Labadie’s PhD project was focused on looking at risk factors for T-zone lymphoma in older golden retrievers. As part of her study, she recruited dogs from a research database set up by the Foundation. The dogs were too old to be enrolled in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study but were perfect for her project.
Her findings about T-zone lymphoma have helped veterinarians understand more about this unusual cancer. Another publication is due soon and Dr. Labadie is excited to be able to dive into the Study’s database to look for more information that could help not only golden retrievers but all dogs live healthier lives.
“I always wanted to be involved in this study since I first heard about it,” said Dr. Labadie. “It’s such a unique opportunity to help so many animals. There’s no other dataset like this one!”
Dr. Labadie says the Study “feels like home and is my dream job.” She’s already hard at work on a new paper and is planning further research projects. In addition, she’s mentoring Dr. Erin Hales, the Study’s postdoctoral fellow, as well as providing support to the Foundation’s other teams.
Dr. Labadie and her husband, Andy, have a rescue golden retriever named Maggie, Cotton the cat and two really old horses, Foxy and Promise.
We’re so happy to have Dr. Labadie join our Foundation family!