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Dog-cancer study hunts for more pups

Golden retrievers needed for Morris Animal Foundation effort

Golden retriever pups needed for dog-cancer study

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Burying a dog can be one of the hardest things in life to do. A new Colorado study is trying to determine if there's a way man's best friend can live longer by tackling a common dog-killer, cancer.

A Colorado Springs woman and her dog signed up for the beta test and are now a part of the actual study.

"I don't have any children so I think it's easier to react that way to my pets -- treat them like my children because they are my children and companion," said Stacie Fain.

Fain owns Rex, a golden retriever puppy that is just one of 3,000 dogs the Morris Animal Foundation and Colorado State University wants to keep tabs on over the next 10-15 years. The study is also being spearheaded by Dr. Wayne Jensen, chief scientific officer at Morris.

More than half of golden retrievers die from cancer. It is also the leading cause of death in all dogs over the age of 2.

Fain hopes by collecting information over Rex' lifetime it can help scientists discover why so many dogs die of cancer.

"My older dog was 14 1/2 when he died from cancer and I just wish I had double that amount of time with him or triple," said Fain. "I wish he could live as long as I do."

According to Morris, they only have around 300 dogs signed up so far.

The dogs that participate need to be younger than 2 years old and be purebred golden retriever puppies so researchers can incorporate their lineage into the study.

"It's mostly clippings of hair and nails and blood work and examining their urine and feces and looking at their lifestyle," said Fain of the requirements.

Fain credited Dr. Kelly McCarty of Aspenwood Veterinarian Hospital for bringing the study to her attention.

She hopes more dog owners are willing to fit the study into their lives to help the study be successful.

"Lots of folks in Colorado -- we view our dogs as our family members," said Fain.

Here's a link for more information on the study.

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