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DENVER/March 16, 2021 – Morris Animal Foundation, a leader in advancing animal health, is partnering with the Purina Institute to advance the knowledge of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), through the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. By collecting data from the Study’s dog owners and veterinarians on signs of CDS, the two organizations are working to improve understanding of CDS incidence, prevalence and types of risk factors.

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is one of the largest, most comprehensive prospective canine health studies in the United States. Though primarily intended to identify the nutritional, environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs, extensive data collection is informing other areas of canine health as well.

“We collect valuable information about the dogs in this study and can use this data to learn much more about canine health beyond cancer, including dog aging and associated cognitive decline,” said Tiffany Grunert, President/CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. “Right now, much is unknown about canine cognitive dysfunction, but with the observations from our dedicated owners and veterinarians, and the Purina Institute’s help, we know we can help dogs everywhere enjoy a better quality of life as they age.”

Canine cognitive dysfunction is a behavioral syndrome that affects about 14% of dogs 8 years and older. Dogs with CDS may become disoriented, show a loss of housetraining and exhibit decreased interaction with their owners, among other signs.

“We are excited to partner with Morris Animal Foundation on this project and want to provide the Study’s participants the tools they need to identify dogs at risk for CDS or with mild to severe cases,” said Dr. Natalia Wagemans, Group Director at the Purina Institute. “We look forward to being able to publish impactful research results to make real, positive change in canine health.”  

With a gift of $225,000, the Purina Institute is sponsoring the addition of CDS-focused questions to the current data collection process. The new questions address behaviors around learning and memory, disorientation, social interactions, sleep/wake cycles, house soiling, activity and anxiety.

Each year, with the help of veterinarians and dog owners, the Foundation collects questionnaire data and biological samples from all enrolled golden retrievers. At the start of the Study, 3,044 dogs were enrolled. Now, approximately 2,300 dogs remain due to deaths and owner attrition.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Headquartered in Denver, and founded in 1948, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding more than $136 million in critical studies across a broad range of species. Learn more at

About the Purina Institute

The Purina Institute is a global professional organization with a mission to advance nutrition science to help pets live better, longer lives. As the voice of Purina’s science, the Purina Institute represents a diverse team of more than 500 scientists and pet care experts around the world. The Purina Institute shares Purina’s groundbreaking research and latest scientific findings in pet nutrition so veterinarians and other pet professionals can make nutrition a foundational element of their conversations with pet owners. For more information about the Purina Institute, please visit: