A study based in Colorado has discovered the unthinkable — that golden retrievers die of cancer more than any other breed.

One of the world’s friendliest and most loyal breeds of dog is cut down by the worst of diseases. But, why are goldens more prone?

And – is there anything that can be done?

Scientists are studying the popular breed to find out why their lifespans have gotten shorter over the years and why the breed is so prone to the disease.

Back in the 1970’s, golden retrievers could live up to 16 or 17 years old.

But nowadays, they usually only live to be 9 or 10. Golden retrievers die of bone cancer, lymphoma and a cancer of the blood vessels more than any other breed in the country.

The Colorado-based Morris Animal Foundation gathered 3,000 purebred golden retrievers in order to produce a study.

The foundation says the review of health conditions and environmental factors facing goldens across the U.S. can help other breeds and even people, because humans carry 95 percent of the same DNA. I did not know that. Wow.
The vets haven’t learned enough yet to really improve the goldens’ life span, but key factors could lie anywhere, said Dr. Michael Lappin.

Early exams showed 33 percent of the dogs, which are 1 to 5 years old, had skin disease or ear infections; 17 percent had gastrointestinal illnesses; and 11 percent had urinary disease.

Sad Pup.Sad Pup.

Picture taken from: https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/

The dogs get medication to treat the conditions, but vets can’t treat them differently because it would skew the results, Lappin said.

Marla Yetka of Denver says her nearly 2-year-old golden retriever, Snickers, joined the study and has been suffering from skin problems. Yetka uses oatmeal shampoo on her pet, but she’s looking forward to talking with other participants about their remedies.

‘I have too many friends who have lost goldens,’ she said. ‘Is it what we are feeding them, their environments, their breeding?’

The vets collect blood, waste, and hair and nail samples annually to test if the dogs get sick, hoping to uncover a common thread or early warning sign among dogs that develop cancer or other diseases.

Doctors also check for changes in temperature, blood pressure, energy, diet, sleeping patterns or other factors that could explain illnesses.

So far, seven goldens have died of conditions such as cancer and gastrointestinal problems, and one was hit by a car, Haworth said. Another dropped out when its owner died.

The dogs come from every state; about half are male and half are female; and half are fixed and half are not.

Those who brought dogs into the study, including both veterinarians, hope goldens get a shot at the longer life they used to enjoy.

The information for this article was originally from http://www.dailymail.co.uk. Check your local charities that also fight against cancer, whether people or animal related.

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