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February 15, 2018 Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, now in its sixth year, is the most extensive prospective study ever undertaken in veterinary  medicine, gathering information on more than 3,000 golden retrievers throughout their lives. This is the first Morris Animal Foundation-funded study conceived, designed and  run by the Foundation and its partners.

“The original goal of the study was 500 cancer diagnoses, based on our understanding of the prevalence of cancer in golden retrievers,” said Dr. Rod Page, Principal Investigator on the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, and Director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. “What we quickly realized is that the study represents a huge step forward in general veterinary health care.”

Animal health clinical scientists lack the population-based studies that have been so instrumental in moving human medicine forward, slowing the progress needed to solve major pet health issues. This study changes the animal health research landscape and may establish associations between dog health and multiple factors, including diet, exercise, genetics and environmental dynamics, such as pesticides and water sources.

This study provides an important base for establishing new paradigms in treatment...

“Right now, we don’t have robust evidence-based veterinary care,” said Dr. Page. “This study provides an important base for establishing new paradigms in treatment, helping us to support or deny long-held casual assumptions in such areas as early spay/neuter, obesity, exercise and dental hygiene on cancer development as well as other non-cancer health outcomes.”

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study will provide unique insights into the onset of naturally occurring health conditions in real time and on a large scale. 

The data  collected will help us learn more about:

  • CANCER
  • AGING
  • HEART DISEASE
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASES
  • JOINT DISEASE AND INJURIES
  • GASTROINTESTINAL DISEASES
  • NEUROLOGIC DISORDERS
  • KIDNEY AND BLADDER DISEASES
  • SKIN CONDITIONS AND ALLERGIES
  • TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
  • HYPERTHYROID AND OTHER ENDOCRINE DISEASES

Dr. Page noted that as the years roll by, the study team is looking forward.

“We are asking ourselves, where do we want to look next?” said Dr. Page. “Can we identify a constellation of risk factors around a particular or a specific subpopulation of study participants that might represent a significant  advance we can make quickly? The opportunity to obtain genetic information on this cohort of dogs is particularly exciting as veterinary medicine moves toward individualized medicine.”

(photo featuring Clancy, Hero #2882)