Questionnaires for Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study will now include a section focused on canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), thanks to a $225,000 contribution from the Purina Institute. The newly added questions will address behaviors around learning and memory, disorientation, social interactions, sleep/wake cycles, house soiling, activity, and anxiety, Morris Animal Foundation reports.
CDS is a behavioral syndrome that affects about 14 percent of dogs eight years and older. Pets with the condition may become disoriented, show a loss of housetraining, and exhibit decreased interaction with their owners.
“We are excited to partner with Morris Animal Foundation on this project and want to provide the study’s participants the tools they need to identify dogs at risk for CDS or with mild to severe cases,” says Purina Institute’s group director, Natalia Wagemans, MD, PhD. “We look forward to being able to publish impactful research results to make real, positive change in canine health.”
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is among the largest, most comprehensive prospective canine health studies in the U.S. While primarily intended to identify the nutritional, environmental, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs, extensive data collection is informing other areas of canine health as well. Last month, for example, Morris Animal Foundation announced a partnership with Elanco which added a canine osteoarthritis-focused section to the study’s client/veterinarian questionnaire.
“We collect valuable information about the dogs in this study and can use this data to learn much more about canine health beyond cancer, including dog aging and associated cognitive decline,” says the foundation’s president and CEO, Tiffany Grunert. “Right now, much is unknown about canine cognitive dysfunction, but with the observations from our dedicated owners and veterinarians, we know we can help dogs everywhere enjoy a better quality of life as they age.”
For more information on the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, click here.