Morris Foundation Launches Hemangiosarcoma Initative

The Morris Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study started enrolling dogs more than 10 years ago, a few months before Cali was born.

The Foundation recently sent an update with the sad news that they’re nearing the original endpoint of the study: 500 cancer diagnoses in Study dogs. They’re extending the endpoint and continuing the study.

Additional news that was a shock to me, despite close experience with hemagiosarcoma — three-quarters of the study dogs who have died had cancer … and 70% of the cancers were hemagiosarcoma.

So the Foundation is launching a ” multi-year, multi-million-dollar endeavor to dramatically change the story of hemangiosarcoma from one with an ending of almost certain death to one with a new beginning.”

Researchers can submit grant applications beginning in January.

Though Study Exam Day has never been a favorite day for Cali (or most of the “Heroes,” as participants are called), the study has gathered a vast amount of data that will help dogs of all breeds in many ways.

I’m hopeful that this initiative will find new ways to extend the lives of dogs with hemagiosarcoma.

Join the Fight Against Canine Cancer

Cali’s superhero cape was at the cleaners …

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that canine cancer is on my mind. Not only Alberta’s, though. Cali, as many readers know, is a Hero. That’s what the Morris Animal Foundation calls participants in its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

Cali does her bit to fight cancer by “enduring” a very thorough annual physical, which is coming up next month. She blogged about  last year’s visit. She pretends it is awful, but the nonstop tail (and butt) wagging gives her away. Anything that involves that many cookies can’t be all bad.

Cali’s one of 3,000 goldens in this study. Morris started signing dogs up a few months before she was born. Two of her brothers are also in the study. The oldest dogs accepted were two years old. The study will examine a huge amount of data and try to identify genetic and environmental factors that lead to canine cancer.

Why am I saying all of this? Some of the participants, none of whom could be older than six, have already gotten cancer. Some are in remission; a few have died. I don’t know how many. I follow the experiences of participants whose humans post on the group’s Facebook page; it’s a very unscientific sample. Some participants have older sibling-supporters (like Jana!) and some of them, too, have died of cancer in the three and a half years that I have been part of this group.

It’s too much!

What can you do? Funny you should ask that …

You can register your dog for the draft. The Morris Animal Foundation Canine Lifetime Health Project draft, that is. It is a registry of dogs /  humans willing to participate in future studies. Morris is not registering for a specific study right now, but the re-opening of the registry might mean that they soon will be. It’s a chance for your dog to be a hero too. And for you to help fight this killer disease that takes too many of our dogs too soon, and causes millions more to suffer. In fact, their research is not limited to cancer, so your dog might be able to help researchers understand other serious canine illnesses.

Think about it. Take a look at the website. Cali, Alberta, and thousands of other dogs will thank you.