Many people do not realize that pet cancer exists, much less that it is the number one disease-related killer of adult pets today. To make matters worse, our four-legged friends cannot simply inform us that something is wrong that could lead to an early diagnosis of cancer. While these facts can be disheartening, heroic dogs and determined scientists are working to better understand and address cancer in dogs.
3,000 Golden Retrievers to Participate in Study
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study by the Morris Animal Foundation, based in Denver, will collaborate with 3,000 participants from all over the country to help find the possible cause, or causes, of cancer in Golden Retrievers. Getting to the root of the problem is vital to reduce the number of occurrences and to better address the cases that do progress.
Cancer rates in Golden Retrievers are high – 60% of them get cancer, and without treatment, many often die early. Given their higher than average cancer rates, and intelligent dispositions, Golden Retrievers are an ideal group to study.
The study is not harmful to the dogs and is designed to collect valuable information. The dogs’ owners will fill out a 72-page questionnaire every year, and take their pet to their vet annually to collect biological samples for evaluation. The questionnaire covers details about the dogs’ diets, the environments they live in, the toys they play with, the water they drink, and even their bedding to see if any links can be found to explain the occurrences of cancer. This study will last over the course of the pet’s lifetime, and each year scientists will be able to gain more information from the results. These pets will live a normal life, yet help scientists make tremendous progress when it comes to understanding and reducing cancer in future generations.
The study will also raise awareness of pet cancer through the “3000 Strong” logo that is designed as a badge that can be placed on websites and social media pages. The logo is also available on t-shirts to raise money and awareness for the cause.
Knowledge Can Save a Pet’s Life
Knowing that pets are susceptible to cancer will help owners know what signs to watch for in order to detect it sooner. Fortunately, there are a number of promising diagnosis tips and treatment plans for cancer in dogs available today via Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center in Fort Collins. Understanding pet cancer will also provide researchers further insight in understanding how to better address human cancers.