It is quite easy to understand why Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs chosen as a family dogs. This breed absolutely loves people. They do not hide it either. When they are happy and they are with those they love, there is nothing more important to the Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever has such a sweet personality, which is likely one of the main reasons that so many people choose a Golden Retriever. However, it seems that there is a negative side to being one of the sweetest and most loveable dogs there are.
Apparently, they are reporting that Golden Retrievers are more prone to having one disease than most other breeds out there. According to research, there is more evidence to show that the Golden Retriever breed does develop Cancer at a higher rate than other dogs across Europe and the United States, according to the studies done in these countries.
One study that was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine showed that out of 82 breeds, the Golden Retriever ranked second on that list. Of those GoldenRetrievers studied, half those passed due to Neoplastic disease.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association showed that Boxers and Golden Retrievers passed away much more often than other breeds of dogs.
According to researchers in London, Golden Retrievers succumb to four different forms more often than any other breed.
- Hemangiosarcoma which is an aggressive and often fatal malignancy of the lining of blood vessels.
- Osteosarcoma or bone cancer.
- Mast Cell Tumors.
The research shows that the rise in cancer begins at 6 years old, peaks at 10 to 12 years old and then once again falls off.
There is Treatment
Dogs with Cancer can and should be treated. There are often good results. In other words, if there are types of cancer that can be removed surgically, then it should be done. This could be all it takes to be curative.
However, we cannot state that it is always so cut and dried. If there is a form of cancer that surgery will not benefit from, the family is given other options and discussions are had.
Veterinary medicine and Cancer treatment are continuously evolving. Just as with humans, there are new options available all the time.
One of these options is the possibility of your Golden Retriever taking part in the Clinical Trials at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Many of these trials will require that the Golden Retriever be brought to the Campus for treatment.
These trials do offer promise, and these work well for the owners who are financially strapped for cash. This could mean that your beloved Golden Retriever will be receiving state-of-the-art treatment at no cost to the owner.
The School does caution owners that not all Golden Retrievers will respond to the treatment, however, there are many that have been called Exceptional Responders. The School has a few of these Exceptional Responders. One is a Golden who lives in Maine. He had Lymphoma, but responded very well and is a year out now.
Other available options will include treating the Golden Retriever with the assistance of a Canine Oncologist. There will be basically chemotherapy, radiation and/or whichever tests are agreed upon between the owner and the Canine Oncologist. There may even be a combination of treatment methods done. The last option is to let the dog live his or her life with the family that it loves and basically be in a hospice format. This would be when the pain is controlled with the use of pain-killing medications.
When the dog is at the point where he or she is having a more difficult or impossible time living, conversations must take place in regards to Euthanizing the Golden Retriever or continuing to medicate. However, they do warn that a Golden or any other dog that is given medications to make the pain more bearable, is not fully aware of the family that is with him or her at this point.
No matter when the decision is made to Euthanize when there is no improvement and no foreseeable improvement is obviously a discussion between the family and the Veterinarian and Canine Oncologist. They can not give personal opinions as to what they believe, especially when they are working. However, the Golden Retrievers owner can certainly ask what they would do and why if this was their family.
Death is never easy for a human, it can be just as difficult to say goodbye to a loved pet. The owners will have to take all the facts in, including how active and fun-loving their dog was, to how the dog is at this point in time. No one can make this difficult choice for them, and no one can make it any easier of a decision.
It is a terrifying situation to hear a diagnosis of Cancer. It does not matter if it is a human or a well-loved Golden Retriever. The sound of those words can seemingly rip a heart in two. However, with the advancements in technology and medicines, that diagnosis is not as frightening as it once was.
When caught early, at least 50% of Canine Cancers are treatable. For the majority, Canine Cancer is considered an affliction of the elderly. There have been numerous cases of canines younger than two years old being diagnosed with Cancer.
All those long-term studies we read about when it pertains to Cancer and Golden Retrievers are becoming beneficial now. Science is learning much more than it had before and is able to experiment with more and different forms of treatments that may help the Golden Retriever or other canines that have been diagnosed with Cancer.
Just as with all forms of cancer, Canine cancer is an alteration in the genes. The defective cell may be inherited from one of the parents, or germinate and develop when the normal genes are exposed to harmful environmental influences that are ultimately toxic to the system.
For dogs, some breeds are predisposed to certain types of cancer, and in the majority of those, the suspected cause is a strong, inherited genetic compound. The belief is that there are a small number of cells responsible for the cancer risk. Very seldom is it seen that one cell is the solely responsible cause.
More Common Than Thought
By the time a dog reaches 10 years of age, it has been shown that at least 50% of them will have had one form of cancer or another. The mortality rate of canines and cancer varies across breeds. It can range anywhere from as low as 10% to higher than 60%.
It is believed that dogs that are medium to large, those over 20 pounds are more at risk than the smaller breeds of dogs.
What the research is looking for is the commonalities in the dogs that have Canine Cancer. Factors such as exposure to air, contact or feeding. Other aspects looked at including the dog breeding practices, lifestyles and the prevalence of a myriad of diseases.
When it comes to breeding, it is thought that all the interbreeding that happened to come up with the perfect Golden Retriever, may have caused an issue or two with the genes. This is a possible reason for the high rating of Golden Retrievers and cancer.
All this interbreeding to develop a Golden Retriever is what likely predisposed the Golden Retriever to the many issues it faces, including the Cancer gene.
Spay or Neuter
There is much controversy over the procedures of Spaying and neutering Golden Retrievers and if this does indeed have an effect on the increased rate of Goldens that develop Canine Cancer. The research is also checking the correlation rates of longevity and developing cancer.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in pets, especially canine pets. As stated, both the longevity of life and the risk of cancer do vary between breeds. One recent study done abroad showed that there was a correlation between the age of when a Golden retriever was spayed or neutered and the greater risk of developing Canine Cancer or orthopaedic disease in the Golden Retriever. A joint study also showed that a gonadectomy was associated with an increased risk of cancer in the Golden Retriever.
Again, the studies are still ongoing, and they are becoming more confusing. For instance, the median age of a Golden Retriever passing on when there is no cancer is 6.93 years. However, a Golden Retriever who has developed cancer has a median age of living that is 9.15 years. This is only confusing due to the age difference between what one would consider healthy Golden Retrievers versus those that had been diagnosed with a form of Canine Cancer.
What must be remembered, there are numerous other ways in which our pets pass. Most of them would pertain to accidents with traffic and vehicles or possibly some other illness. The young Golden Retrievers are extremely active, it is not unheard of when they run into a busy road and something fatal occurs.
The median age of a Golden Retriever who is known to have passed due to Canine Cancer has lived basically a full life and was lucky enough to not have an unforeseeable incident happen when they were younger. It is possible that if those Goldens with a median age of 6.93 years had lived another year or two without the accident or other illness, they too may have been given a Canine Cancer diagnosis.