Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study commemorates 10 years
Celebrating a decade of obtaining data and biological samples to inform canine health studies for future years
The Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) Golden Retriever Lifetime Study has achieved its 10-year milestone. This study is among the most comprehensive to be completed in veterinary medicine, following the lives of over 3,000 golden retrievers. Additionally, it’s the largest study to be funded by MAF.1
"We're proud of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and how it is advancing canine health," expressed Tiffany Grunert, president/CEO, in an organizational release. "It's taken an incredible amount of commitment from our Study families, partner veterinarians and, of course, our hero dogs. Without their dedication, this study simply would not be possible."1
Annually, pet owners and veterinarians complete questionnaires while veterinarians obtain biological samples at dogs’ annual visits. Plus, all dogs have been genotyped, contributing important data to better understand genetic connections with disease and health. The dedication from the study's participants offers researchers with valuable data and samples, resulting in extensive research opportunities in cancer and other realms, including1:
- Detecting molecular signatures to detect lymphoma earlier
- Exploring variations in the microbiome of dogs with and without a cancer diagnosis
- Genetic factors that affect weight gain and obesity
- The connection between DNA damage and canine lymphoma as it relates to environmental chemical exposures
- Understanding human-to-dog transmission of COVID-19 in the cohort
Since the study’s initiation, 7 scientific papers have been published, shedding lights on topics including structure of the study and a deeper look at the baseline demographics of the cohort. A 2019 paper from Embark Inc. used data from the study to display the impact of inbreeding on fertility. An additional paper examined the relationship between timing of spay/neuter and the development of obesity and non-traumatic orthopedic injury. The most recent paper focuses on on environmental exposures and lymphoma risk in dogs using data from the study.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in study dogs, accounting for 75% of all deaths, according to the release.1 The largest contributor to those deaths is hemangiosarcoma, of the primary cancer endpoints. Based on current outcomes, MAF will be funding future work to create diagnostics and therapeutics, and to detect genetic contributors to hemangiosarcoma. Researchers will be able to use the samples collected from dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma to possibly develop early screening and/or diagnostic tests plus understand potential genetic links.
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study team supports collaborative research utilizing study data and samples with scientists worldwide to accelerate the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and more canine health conditions.
"The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is such a rich source of scientific data," added Grunert. "We're encouraged by what we have accomplished thus far but know it's the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can learn."1
Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study celebrates 10 years. News release. Morris Animal Foundation. August 29, 2022. Accessed August 30, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/morris-animal-foundation-golden-retriever-lifetime-study-celebrates-10-years-301614028.html