Golden Retrievers have long been the poster breed for family pets. Friendly, obedient, and intelligent, Goldens are ranked as the third most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club. Although you wouldn’t suspect it from their care-free demeanor and smiling faces, the breed is plagued by a devastating predisposition to cancer. Approximately 60% of Golden Retrievers will develop cancer, a number more than double the average of all other breeds.
While Goldens in the United States are most likely to develop hemangiosarcoma, those from the United Kingdom are more prone to lymphoma. The cause is both genetic and environmental, but researchers are still unsure exactly which genes are involved. Cancer is the leading cause of death in all but 11 purebred dog breeds.
Additional Breeds Prone to Cancer
- Great Danes – Prone to short lifespans, dogs of this breed are most likely to die from cancer.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs – Also a breed with one of the shortest average lifespans, Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to several forms of cancer. Studies have reported that half of this breed will succumb to cancer.
- Boxers – No other breed has a higher rate of mast cell tumors, which are slow-growing and can occur at any age.
- German Shepherds – Hemangiosarcoma is the most common form of cancer in this breed. Clinical signs are often not apparent until the internal tumor ruptures, causing extensive bleeding and collapse or death.
- Poodles – An estimated 40% of all Standard Poodles will die from some form of cancer.
- Rottweilers – This breed is prone to a variety of cancers, including that of the lymph nodes, bones, soft tissues, bladder, and blood vessels.
- Cocker Spaniels – Cancer is the most common cause of death for this breed, affecting as many as 23% of Cocker Spaniels.
- Doberman Pinschers – One of the top five breeds most prone to cancer, a leading cause of death in female Dobermans is mammary cancer.
- Beagles – With 23% of Beagles affected by cancer, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and bladder cancer are the most common types in elderly Beagles.
The Boxer is highly prone to Mast Cell Tumors.
Signs to Recognize
Regularly checking your beloved companion for new or unusual lumps or bumps is the most proactive step you can take toward catching skin cancer as early as possible. Since early removal of a tumor is the best course of action, a doctor at Gardner Animal Care Center may recommend removing this mass or growth from your pet’s skin.
If you notice a major change in your pet’s health, eating habits or lifestyle, call Gardner Animal Care Center immediately to make an appointment. Cancer treatment is becoming more available for dogs due to advances in technology.
Other general symptoms of cancer include skin wounds that will not heal, weight loss and loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, any bleeding or discharge from any orifice, loss of energy, persistent lameness or stiffness, and difficulty breathing or going to the bathroom.