Last Updated on July 9, 2024 : :


A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the survey

There were 137 UK cancer cases reported. Although the sample number is small, three types of cancer predominated.

These were:

Lymphoma 37 [27%]

Haemangiosarcoma  19 [12%]

Osteosarcoma 17 [12%]

All of these percentages are above those of these cancers within the general dog population. Lymphoma is15% and haemangiosarcoma 5%. Osteosarcoma varies at 0.2-8%, being more prevalent in some breeds.

Some of the dogs were reported to have affected siblings or close relatives;

lymphoma 5, haemangiosarcoma 3 and osteosarcoma 3.

Also of note is that these cancers appear to be more prevalent in neutered dogs, particularly spayed females.

All of the above data warrants further investigation. What can we do?

Research into these cancers in the UK is currently mainly based in diagnosis and treatment. We have however found a research establishment in the USA that can hopefully help investigate the genetics of these cancers.

We are also going to contact the Golden Retriever Club  to see if they have any information regarding genetics as there is a similar problem within this breed.

Regarding the effect of neutering we will be contacting the owners of affected dogs who have kindly given us permission to do so. We are aiming to see if there is any correlation between the age of neutering and the development of cancer.

Our gene pool is small which means that any mutated genes responsible for cancer are more likely to manifest. We can all look at our breeding programs and do our best to maintain as much genetic diversity as possible.

In terms of screening for cancer there is a test called NuQ, available through your vet.

A simple blood test can detect the early presence of lymphoma or haemangiosarcoma.

Whilst some of these cancers can manifest extremely quickly regular home checks on our dogs can help early detection in many cases.

C   colour. Check the gums, they should be nice and pink. Pale may mean a problem.

L   lymph nodes and lumps. Check for abnormalities at grooming time

E  energy. Monitor for lethargy or reluctance to exercise

W  weight. Monitor for any unexplained weight loss.

We will keep you updated of any developments.