As the controversy over the use of animals in research wages on, Morris Animal Foundation has embarked on a study that should engender no objections.

Called the “Golden Retriever Lifetime Study,” the foundation is looking for 3,000 volunteers to participate in what is described as “the largest and longest study ever conducted to advance veterinary medicine for dogs,” to track dogs’ health for life in order to gain insights into preventing and treating cancer and other canine diseases.

Participants and their veterinarians will be asked to collect information, data, and samples from their Goldens over the next 10 to 14 years.  Data collected will be analyzed to determine if certain genetic, environmental and/or nutritional factors contribute to the development of cancer and other canine diseases.

This type of long-term study is rarely performed using pets.  The logistics can be difficult to manage; the data must be carefully analyzed to minimize the impact from variable environments in which the dogs were raised.  Equally challenging is obtaining long-term commitment from dog owners who are asked to submit data and samples over the life span of their dogs.

Despite these challenges, the potential to obtain significant information from this study is great. No doubt, the data gathered will benefit all dogs, regardless of breed, and help scientists, veterinarians, and pet owners prevent the incidence of disease and increase the longevity of dogs.

Studies like this may even help identify some risk factors for humans.

This is another great example of how the interests of human and animal health are aligned.

Anyone interested in participating should visit Morris Animal Foundation’s website.

Jasmine, our 11 week-old puppy, will hopefully become part of this promising study soon.