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Data from The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Suggests A Possible Link Between Sterilization and Hemangiosarcoma

golden retriever dog playing

As reported on, roughly 90% of dogs with hemangiosarcoma die from the disease within a year of diagnosis, making it an exceptionally fatal malignancy. A possible link between canine sterilization and the development of hemangiosarcoma has been identified by a scientific analysis of data from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study that was published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology. Although researchers have previously indicated this unexpected result, little is still known about it.

The probability of diagnosing hemangiosarcoma is continuously low in all sexes and neutering statuses up to around age eight, according to the authors. Past this juncture, male dogs who have been neutered or remain intact are equally susceptible to acquiring the illness. It's interesting to note that intact females constantly have a lower diagnostic probability than any other sex or neutering status. Meanwhile, in female spayed animals, the probability of diagnosis rises.

Among the participants in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, hemangiosarcoma is the most often diagnosed cancer. About 90% of dogs who are diagnosed with this illness die within a year, making it an exceptionally lethal disease. Not many dogs live more than two years, even with intensive treatment.

Dr. Alison Hillman, a senior epidemiology consultant at Ausvet and one of the study's researchers, stressed the need for additional investigation into any possible link between sterilization and canine cancer and urged the inclusion of more data from older dogs. She also mentioned that more research focusing on the connection between sterilization and hemangiosarcoma will shed light on additional possible causes.

"This information may also be of value in the context of transaltional research, as hemangiosarcoma is rare in humans and thus difficult to study," Hillman stated. "Lessons learned through research in dogs may inform prioritization of investigations in humans, given the similarity between dogs and humans regarding the clinical and pathological features of this tumor and the relative similarity in genetics between the two species as compared to, for example, mice and humans."

Chief Program Officer Kathy Tietje of the Morris Animal Foundation, who was also involved in the project, stated, "Analyses like these are possible because of the availability of data from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study through Morris Animal Foundation's Data Commons."

"This analysis serves as a fundamental research tool, with potential for further use by other scientists to generate hypotheses and design their own studies," she stated. "It also underscores the immense value of the study's resources for scientists actively engaged in this field."


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