August 18, 2022 – The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which opened for enrollment in 2012, has reached its 10-year mark and continues to be a groundbreaking study in veterinary medicine. The Study seeks to understand the genetic, environmental, lifestyle and nutritional risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs.
While data gathering is ongoing, new findings, publications, partnerships and nested studies continue to expand the Study’s impact portfolio – all to advance the health of golden retrievers and dogs everywhere.
As of August 1, 2022, just under 2,000 (64.3%) dogs remain active in the Study. Cancer-related deaths account for roughly 75% of the total deaths recorded. The current average age of Study dogs is 9.4 years old. Retention rate is a robust 75%, outperforming many of the best human cohort studies.
At the outset of the Study, four cancers were selected as endpoints – meaning a diagnosis of 500 or more of these cancers cumulatively. These are hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, high-grade mast cell tumor and osteosarcoma. Currently, the Study team has logged 223 cases of hemangiosarcoma, 124 cases of lymphoma, 22 cases of high-grade mast cell tumors and 13 cases of osteosarcoma.
The team also monitors all other cancer diagnoses closely. We continue to work with research teams around the world to analyze our cancer biologic samples and associated data to learn more about these important cancers affecting dogs.
Three new scientific articles were published this past year. The first reported on the prevalence, risk factors and lab work changes noted in Study dogs with internal parasites. The paper has recommendations for veterinarians when it comes to routine deworming and monitoring dogs in both urban and rural settings.
The second paper is a detailed “State of the Study report” and summarizes findings to date, the current composition of the cohort, and discusses future directions.
The most recently published paper used Study data to look at environmental pollutant sources and lymphoma risk. The group found that none of the exposures were associated with an increased risk of lymphoma but the team is continuing their research.
You can access all of Study publications online.
This year was a busy one for our companion studies. Genetic sequencing for the Golden Oldies study was completed and the data will soon be released for use by researchers around the world.
More than 1,000 Study participants enrolled in Golden Age, designed to better understand the cognitive and orthopedic changes as the cohort ages.
A new collaborative project with the Mayo Clinic in Arizona is just coming online. The study will be looking at the brain tissue of older dogs to look at neuropathology of the brain. Researchers will also access the behavioral health section of the annual Study questionnaire to see how tissue changes correlate to behavior changes over time. The project may also shed new light on Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia in people
Dozens of nested studies are in planning, underway or nearing completion, and the team is working with researchers around the world to create new partnerships. The topics under investigation are diverse and include:
- Understanding human-to-dog transmission of COVID-19 in the cohort
- Identifying molecular signatures to detect lymphoma earlier
- Exploring variations in the microbiome of dogs with and without a cancer diagnosis
If you want to know more about the Study, listen to our podcast episodes featuring Study team members.
Our Golden Zoomies webinar series is another terrific way to find out more about the Study and topics of interest to all dog lovers!
Without the help of supporters like you, the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study wouldn’t be possible. As we begin our 11th year, we want to take a minute to thank everyone who’s contributed to this incredible project!