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April 23, 2021 – As the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study enters its ninth year, we are expanding its scope to help investigate two common health issues in aging dogs – canine cognitive dysfunction and osteoarthritis.

The Foundation is partnering with the Purina Institute and Elanco to learn more about these conditions in our aging dogs. What we learn will help dogs everywhere age with greater health and quality of life.

While the Study was primarily intended to identify risk factors for canine cancer, many other research opportunities exist using the Study’s biological samples and observational data provided in annual questionnaires. The two organizations are sponsoring additional questions to those surveys that will help assess normal aging in Study dogs. The questions also will evaluate signs that may be associated with disease development that are not a normal part of aging.

Study participants can opt in to the new portion of the survey and will be asked to complete the new portions twice per year – once with their regular questionnaire and again six months later. The new questionnaires launched April 1, 2021, and the Foundation produced two webinars, one for owners and one for veterinarians, with information on the new questions.

Canine cognitive dysfunction (also know as cognitive dysfunction syndrome) is a behavioral syndrome that affects about 14% of senior dogs. Dogs with CCD may become confused, show a loss of housetraining and exhibit decreased interaction with their owners.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic pain in dogs, affecting approximately 14 million adult dogs in the United States alone. However, there is limited information available about which dogs it impacts and how severely.

Answers to the new questions could close the knowledge gap in both issues, allowing researchers to learn more about their incidence and prevalence, and improve diagnosis and monitoring. Eventually, dogs’ later years might be more golden, no matter the breed.