Study of golden retrievers to find why so many get cancer

  • 24/03/2018

One of the world's most popular breed of dogs is also one of those most susceptible to cancer.

Now thousands of golden retrievers are taking part in a study so they can help their friends stay healthy.

Kris Campesi's dog Nicodemus is one of 3000 golden retrievers in the study. He's perfectly healthy but she's already lost one to cancer and her seven-year-old retriever Malachi has a brain tumour, CBS News reports.

The rate of cancer in the breed is about 60 percent.

"They're such a part of your life, and when it's time for them to go it's hard," Ms Campesi said.

Nicodemus is especially important due to his role as a therapy dog for special needs children, many of whom want him to live a long life.

Now he's is involved in the study Ms Campesi's hoping to get some answers and perhaps elongate the lives of dogs known for their calm and loving temperament.

It's a goal that makes all the hard work worth it.

"I have to keep track of everything they eat, the water they drink, the chemicals I use around the house," she said.

Nicodemus' hair and nails are checked during frequent medical exams in the hopes some environmental factor will show up in the tests

He even wears a doggie fitbit, something called a "whistle" that stays on him all the time monitoring activity and sleep.

As part of the study he has to endure a lot of blood tests, but even then that famous golden retriever temperament is there, his tail wagging the whole time.