Landmark study looks at dogs’ health for life
• A landmark study of a popular breed of dog is expected to produce information that will likely help set medical research priorities in pets and people. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study was developed by the Morris Animal Foundation, the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University and the Golden Retriever Club of America and will track the health status of goldens as they age and the environment in which they live. This includes everything from food and exercise to exposure to pesticides to the water they drink. The study will also collect data on cancers, diabetes, arthritis and epilepsy, among other health issues common in pets and people both. Golden retrievers under the age of 2 are being sought, with more information available at caninelifetimehealth.org.
• Search-and-rescue dogs don’t need to be worrying about their jobs. Researchers at the University of Dortmund in Germany are working to determine reliable scent markers to help find people who are lost or caught in collapsed buildings after a disaster. The study identified 12 chemical compounds that could be identified by a machine for the purpose of finding someone. That’s a long way from having a machine that works with the speed, agility and highly developed scenting ability of a dog under difficult and ever-changing conditions in the field.
• Keeping dogs and cats continues to be very popular, according to the findings of the American Veterinarian Medical Association in its newly released “U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.” The survey of 50,000 households puts the number of cats in the United States at 74.1 million and the number of dogs at 70 million — both figures down slightly from the last survey five years ago. The most dramatic drop has been in the number of horses, down 2.4 million in the same period to 4.8 million in 2012. — Gina Spadafori