All posts by jrsgoldens

I hope to contribute in these Cancer studies or theories in educating Golden people or dog people in general. Knowledge is power and even though we have not cured cancer there is so much we can do to help. Understanding Cancer In Goldens by Rhonda Hovan   is what I would like to start our journey with Please remember these are still theories. A litter of 10 pups suggests that 6 will get cancer with a rate of 60% It will be a life altering experience to find the genes that will help toward the cure for cancer  not just in dogs but also for humans.  This excerpt is taken from Rhonda’s publication: “Let’s get started with some data of how cancer affects our breed . Approximately 60% of all Goldens will die from cancer. By gender, it’s 57% of females and 66% of males.Human cancer is also skewed slightly toward   males, so it’s not surprising that dogs are too. For comparison, the rate of cancer in Goldens is just slightly less than double the rate of cancer in all dogs, which is estimated to be about  one in three (and which actually is about the same as in humans). But even though our cancer rate is nearly double the all-breed average, it’s important to keep in mind that the average lifespan of the breed is still within the same 10-11 year range as all breeds. Our two most common cancers are hemangiosarcoma, affecting about one in five Goldens; and lymphoma, affecting about one in eight”

A litter of 10 pups suggests that 6 will get cancer with a rate of 60%

A litter of 10 pups suggests that 6 will get cancer with a rate of 60%

Rhonda Hovan has personalized this by giving of her time to anyone that wants to talk with her or email Correspondence invited to: or 330-668-0044 or PO Box 1110, Bath, OH 44210.

 Since This article there have been a lot of research This is an article by Dr. Becker:

  • Golden Retrievers in the U.S. have a high rate of cancer compared to many other breeds
  • The high rate of cancer in Goldens is a relatively recent development. In the late 1980s, the breed wasn’t considered as having a high rate of cancer. But by the late 1990s, cancer was taking the lives of about 60 percent of U.S. Goldens
  • The Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is currently underway, and will track 3,000 enrolled dogs throughout their lives with input from owners and veterinarians
  • Through the study, researchers hope to identify potentially modifiable risk factors that may account for the high incidence of cancer and other diseases in Golden Retrievers and other dogs as well
  • To help prevent cancer in your own dog, keep him at a healthy weight, feed an anti-inflammatory diet, reduce his exposure to toxins, and refuse unnecessary vaccinations

By Dr. Becker

About half of humans over the age of 70 and dogs over age 10 are diagnosed with cancer. In terms of mortality, cancer accounts for about 23 percent of human deaths, and from 10 to 60 percent of dog deaths, depending on breed.

The smaller the dog, the lower the risk of cancer. In fact, the rate of cancer in small dogs like the Chihuahua and Maltese is less than 10 percent. Scientists believe a hormone that influences bone and tissue growth (IGF-1), which exists at lower levels in small breeds, may be a factor.1

One of the breeds at highest risk for developing cancer is the hugely popular Golden Retriever.

Cancer in Goldens Began to Spike in the 1990s

About 60 percent of all Golden Retrievers will die from cancer – 57 percent of females and 66 percent of males. The two most common types of cancer in this breed are hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

Surprisingly, the high rate of cancer in Goldens is a fairly recent development. In a 1988 University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine study, Goldens weren’t mentioned as having a higher rate of cancer than other breeds.2

However, just 11 years later in 1999, over 60 percent of these wonderful dogs living in the U.S. were being lost to cancer.3

European Golden Retrievers Get Cancer Less Often Than U.S. Goldens

When researchers compare the DNA of Golden Retrievers with hemangiosarcoma and other breeds with the disease, the genetic abnormalities are different. Interestingly, European-bred Golden Retrievers develop cancer at a much lower rate (under 40 percent) than U.S. Goldens.4

Their genes are significantly different, which suggests the risk of cancer in American Goldens is the result, in part, of a fairly recent gene mutation. Researchers studying cancer in the breed have identified genetic alterations common to Goldens with hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma.

These gene mutations “modify the regulation of the immune system’s surveillance for tumor cells,” says board-certified veterinary oncologist Dr. Ann Hohenhaus.5 According to canine authority Jane Brackman, PhD, writing for The Bark:

“Goldens in Europe and the U.S. may look similar, but there are enough DNA differences to separate the dogs into two distinct populations corresponding to their geographic regions. Gene pools on both continents are large, so breeding between the two populations is rare.

“When studied in the lab, genomic differences suggest that risk for some types of cancer is related to recent genetic mutations in North American Golden Retrievers.

“And this could be good news: genetic differences between European and North American Golden Retrievers may be key to understanding the etiology of canine cancer overall.”

How Cancer Genes Occur in Generation After Generation of Dogs

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and other kennel clubs require that registered dogs be the product of other registered dogs. This standard is in place to insure no new genes are introduced into a breed, however, it also insures that every registered dog is a relative of other dogs of that breed.

This creates an isolated, closed population of dogs within each breed, which keeps the gene pool small. In addition, there is something called the “popular sire” effect, wherein certain dogs are bred over and over again.

Their descendants carry the same specific gene mutations, for better or worse, and those mutations ultimately become permanent. The result is that in some breeds, the genes that increase the risk of cancer are reproduced in generation after generation of dogs.

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is Underway

In 2012, the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) launched the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, describing it as “the largest observational study undertaken in veterinary medicine in the United States.”6

An observational study monitors participants and collects information on them. The study isn’t intended to directly affect how owners take care of their dogs, but instead to provide valuable information on how to better prevent, detect and treat cancer and other diseases.

Between the study’s launch in 2012 and 2015, MAF signed up 3,000 privately owned Golden Retrievers who were from 6 months to 2 years old and healthy at the time of enrollment.

Why Golden Retrievers?

Goldens were chosen for the study because while they don’t have the highest risk for cancer among all dog breeds, there are more of them. Large sample sizes result in more accurate data.

In addition, Goldens are highly adaptable to a variety of lifestyles. They are family pets, show dogs, hunting dogs, canine athletes, competitors in a wide range of canine events, assistance and therapy dogs, and search-and rescue dogs. As a result, the breed is exposed to an extensive range of environments.

Researchers Hope to Identify Modifiable Risk Factors for Cancer

The study will run for 10 to 14 years, and will track the dogs throughout their lives with input from owners and veterinarians who have agreed to keep records of the dogs’ health, nutritional, and environmental information. According to Brackman:

“Based on observations summarized in questionnaires, researchers hope to identify potentially modifiable risk factors that may account for the high incidence of cancer and other diseases in Golden Retrievers and, eventually, in all dogs.”7

MAF researchers are looking specifically for information about cancers that can’t be treated surgically, including inoperable mast cell tumors, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma. These four diseases account for the vast majority of cancer deaths in Goldens.

Over 2,000 Veterinarians Have Committed to the Project

Over 2,000 veterinarians are involved in the project and have agreed to perform annual physical exams on their patients (enrolled Goldens), during which they collect blood, urine, feces, hair and toenail samples and send them off for analysis.

They also report on any visits outside the annual exams, collect tumor tissue samples when necessary, and provide guidance to the dogs’ owners about necropsy (an animal autopsy) when a dog dies. According to a participating veterinarian interviewed by Brackman:

“The information we’ll gather looks at areas of potential exposure by air, contact and feeding. Owners are expected to provide information as detailed as chemicals used in the home, yard and on the dog, and drinking water sources, to name just a few.

“When all this information is put together and analyzed, we’ll have an opportunity to find commonalities that may be related to cancer and other diseases. The more data available, the more opportunity to find a connection. On the flip side, we’ll also find commonalities in dogs who live to be 15 and over.”8

The questionnaires are evaluated quarterly, and validated trends are published as they emerge. This provides real-time information to dog owners and veterinarians that may help influence the care of the dogs.

Building a Canine Health Database for the Future

From the lifetime study website:

“As the years progress, we are gathering millions of data points that will lead us to a better understanding of how genetics, lifestyle and environment impact our study dogs’ health and well-being. “We look forward to sharing the results from this study as our database grows and we are able to draw insight from what we are learning.”9

It’s difficult to grasp the enormous complexity and potential of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, but given the number of lifestyle and genetic factors under investigation, I’m very hopeful the results will help us understand how to better care for not only Goldens, but all dogs.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Dog’s Cancer Risk

Don’t allow your dog to become overweight. Studies show that restricting the amount of calories an animal eats prevents and/or delays the progression of tumor development across species, including canines.

Fewer calories cause the cells of the body to block tumor growth, whereas too many calories can lead to obesity, and obesity is closely linked to increased cancer risk in humans. There is a connection between too much glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and oxidative stress – all factors in obesity – and cancer.

It’s important to remember that fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development.

Feed an anti-inflammatory diet. Anything that creates or promotes inflammation in the body increases the risk for cancer. Current research suggests cancer is actually a chronic inflammatory disease, fueled by carbohydrates. The inflammatory process creates an environment in which abnormal cells proliferate.

Cancer cells require the glucose in carbohydrates to grow and multiply, so you want to eliminate that cancer energy source. Carbs to remove from your pet’s diet include processed grains, fruits with fructose, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Keep in mind that all dry pet food contains some form of starch. It may be grain-free, but it can’t be starch-free because it’s not possible to manufacture kibble without using some type of starch.

Cancer cells generally can’t use dietary fats for energy, so high amounts of good quality fats are nutritionally beneficial for dogs fighting cancer, along with a reduced amount of protein and no carbs. I recently learned that dogs fighting cancer can do a better job addressing this sugar-crazed disease if their protein intake is limited for 120 days, more on that later!

Another major contributor to inflammatory conditions is a diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3s. Omega-6s increase inflammation while the omega-3s do the reverse. Processed pet food is typically loaded with omega-6 fatty acids and deficient in omega-3s.

A healthy diet for your pet – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole foods, preferably raw. It should include high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone. It should also include high amounts of animal fat, high levels of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids), and a few fresh cut, low glycemic veggies..

This species-appropriate diet is high in moisture content and contains no grains or starches. I also recommend making sure the diet is balanced following the ancestral diet recommendations, which have much more rigorous standards (higher amounts of minerals and vitamins) than our current dietary recommendations for pets (AAFCO).

A few beneficial supplements like probiotics, medicinal mushrooms, digestive enzymes, and super green foods can also be very beneficial to enhance immune function.

Reduce or eliminate your dog’s exposure to toxins. These include chemical pesticides like flea and tick preventives, lawn chemicals (weed killers, herbicides, etc.), tobacco smoke, flame retardants, and household cleaners (detergents, soaps, cleansers, dryer sheets, room deodorizers).

Because we live in a toxic world and avoiding all chemical exposure is nearly impossible, I also suggest offering a periodic detoxification protocol to your pet.

Allow your dog to remain intact (not neutered or spayed), at least until the age of 18 months to two years. Studies have linked spaying and neutering to increasing cancer rates in dogs. Even better, investigate alternative ways to sterilize your petwithout upsetting his or her important hormone balance.

Refuse unnecessary vaccinations. Vaccine protocols should be tailored to minimize risk and maximize protection, taking into account the breed, background, nutritional status and overall vitality of the dog.

The protocol I follow with healthy puppies is to provide a single parvo and distemper vaccine at or before 12 weeks, and a second set after 14 weeks. I then titer (ask your vet to run titers at a lab that uses the IFA method) two weeks after the last set and if the dog has been successfully immunized, he is protected for life.

I do not use or recommend combination vaccines (five to seven viruses in one injection), which is the standard yearly booster at many veterinary practices. In my experience, this practice is completely unnecessary and immunologically risky.

This is an article on the web for more info go to

Bower Springs

Our reunions have taken place yearly at Bower springs This years reunion will be the same day, last Saturday of September. September 29,2018 and we hope to have it at Hopkinton State Park. More info will follow

Our reunion September 28,2014 2p-5p

Be sure to put 23 Flanagan Rd, Bolton, Ma. On your Calendars and into your GPS.

The parking lot is across the street from this address.                                                            bower springs

Bowers Spring Conservation Area in Bolton is a favorite spot for dogs who want to run and swim. Wooded trails, open fields and a large pond are highlights. On a nice day, many dogs come here to play! Exit 27 off of 495; about 20 mins from downtown Northborough.

1)  Right off 495 ramp towards Bolton

2)  Right at intersection with Sugar Rd (right after passing under highway)

3)  Continue to fork, bear left onto Golden Run Rd (narrow road, stay far right) and follow to end

4)  Right onto Harvard Rd for about ¼ mile Flanagan Road on left leads to Bowers Spring parking lot.

5) The time will be 2p-5p Anyone wanting to go earlier (1pm) we are bringing our picnic basket and I will bring water for everyone. We will also have one of Jims hand made bins to raffle and donations will go towards a charity of our choice

6) We are all responsible for picking up after our dogs, any dog that will not come back to their owner should not be off leash. If you plan to let your dog swim have a towel so he/she will not shake on others. There will also be a hat contest so please bring your dogs favorite hat

This FB page has some beautiful pix of this area  Bower Springs


Neutering health effects more severe for golden retrievers than Labradors     July 14, 2014                                                                                                                                                                               Life & Non-humans                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Labrador retrievers are less vulnerable than golden retrievers to the long-term health effects of neutering, as evidenced by higher rates of certain joint disorders and devastating cancers, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Results of the study now appear online in the open-access journal PLOS ONE at (This article was the first posted and is now below this article posted)

“We found in both breeds that neutering before the age of 6 months, which is common practice in the United States, significantly increased the occurrence of joint disorders – especially in the golden retrievers,” said lead investigator Benjamin Hart, a distinguished professor emeritus in the School of Veterinary Medicine. “The data, however, showed that the incidence rates of both joint disorders and cancers at various neuter ages were much more pronounced in golden retrievers than in the Labrador retrievers,” he said. He noted that the findings not only offer insights for researchers in both human and veterinary medicine, but are also important for breeders and dog owners contemplating when, and if, to neuter their dogs. Dog owners in the United States are overwhelmingly choosing to neuter their dogs, in large part to prevent pet overpopulation or avoid unwanted behaviors.This new comparison of the two breeds was prompted by the research team’s earlier study, reported in February 2013, which found a marked increase in the incidence of two joint disorders and three cancers in golden retrievers that had been neutered.                                                                                                                                                                      Health records of goldens and Labradors examined                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The golden retriever and the Labrador retriever were selected for this study because both are popular breeds that have been widely accepted as family pets and service dogs. The two breeds also are similar in body size, conformation and behavioral characteristics. The study was based on 13 years of health records from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for neutered and non-neutered male and female Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers between the ages of 1 and 8 years of age. These records included 1,015 golden retriever cases and 1,500 Labrador retriever cases.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The researchers compared the two breeds according to the incidence of three cancers: lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. They also calculated the incidence for each breed of three joint disorders: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and elbow dysplasia. The researchers also noted in these cases whether the dogs had been neutered before the age of 6 months, between 6 and 11 months, between 12 and 24 months or between age 2 and 9 years of age. Neutering and joint disorders. In terms of joint disorders, the researchers found that non-neutered males and females of both breeds experienced a five-percent rate of one or more joint disorders. Neutering before the age of 6 months was associated with a doubling of that rate to 10 percent in Labrador retrievers. In golden retrievers, however, the impact of neutering appeared to be much more severe.  Neutering before the age of 6 months in goldens increased the incidence of joint disorders to what Hart called an “alarming” four-to-five times that of non-neutered dogs of the same breed. Male goldens experienced the greatest increase in joint disorders in the form of hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tear, while the increase for Labrador males occurred in the form of cranial cruciate ligament tear and elbow dysplasia. “The effects of neutering during the first year of a dog’s life, especially in larger breeds, undoubtedly reflects the vulnerability of their joints to the delayed closure of long-bone growth plates, when neutering removes the gonadal, or sex, hormones,” Hart said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Neutering and cancers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The data also revealed important differences between the breeds in relation to the occurrence of cancers. In non-neutered dogs of both breeds, the incidence of one or more cancers ranged from 3 to 5 percent, except in male goldens, where cancer occurred at an 11-percent rate. Neutering appeared to have little effect on the cancer rate of male goldens. However, in female goldens, neutering at any point beyond 6 months elevated the risk of one or more cancers to three to four times the level of non-neutered females. Neutering in female Labradors increased the cancer incidence rate only slightly. “The striking effect of neutering in female golden retrievers, compared to male and female Labradors and male goldens, suggests that in female goldens the sex hormones have a protective effect against cancers throughout most of the dog’s life,” Hart said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Funding for the study was provided by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation and the Center for Companion Animal Health at UC Davis.Read more at

 This was the first article written I copied this from the website MOM

In contrast to European countries, the overwhelming majority of dogs in the U.S. are neutered (including spaying), usually done before one year of age. Given the importance of gonadal hormones in growth and development, this cultural contrast invites an analysis of the multiple organ systems that may be adversely affected by neutering. Using a single breed-specific dataset, the objective was to examine the variables of gender and age at the time of neutering versus leaving dogs gonadally intact, on all diseases occurring with sufficient frequency for statistical analyses. Given its popularity and vulnerability to various cancers and joint disorders, the Golden Retriever was chosen for this study. Veterinary hospital records of 759 client-owned, intact and neutered female and male dogs, 1–8 years old, were examined for diagnoses of hip dysplasia (HD), cranial cruciate ligament tear (CCL), lymphosarcoma (LSA), hemangiosarcoma (HSA), and mast cell tumor (MCT). Patients were classified as intact, or neutered early (<12 mo) or late (≥12 mo). Statistical analyses involved survival analyses and incidence rate comparisons. Outcomes at the 5 percent level of significance are reported. Of early-neutered males, 10 percent were diagnosed with HD, double the occurrence in intact males. There were no cases of CCL diagnosed in intact males or females, but in early-neutered males and females the occurrences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Almost 10 percent of early-neutered males were diagnosed with LSA, 3 times more than intact males. The percentage of HSA cases in late-neutered females (about 8 percent) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females. There were no cases of MCT in intact females, but the occurrence was nearly 6 percent in late-neutered females. The results have health implications for Golden Retriever companion and service dogs, and for oncologists using dogs as models of cancers that occur in humans.


The overwhelming majority of companion dogs maintained in the U.S. are spayed or castrated (both referred to herein as neutered) [1]. Increasingly in the U.S. neutering is being performed early, demarcated in the present study as prior to one year of age. The impetus for this widespread practice is presumably pet population control, and is generally considered responsible pet ownership. However, this societal practice in the U.S. contrasts with the general attitudes in many European countries, where neutering is commonly avoided and not generally promoted by animal health authorities. For example, a study of 461 dogs in Sweden reported that 99 percent of the dogs were gonadally intact [2], and an intact rate of 57 percent was reported in a Hungarian study [3]. In the United Kingdom, a 46 percent intact rate was reported [4].In the last decade, studies have pointed to some of the adverse effects of neutering in dogs on several health parameters by looking at one disease syndrome in one breed or in pooling data from several breeds. With regard to cancers, a study on osteosarcoma (OSA) in several breeds found a 2-fold increase in occurrence in neutered dogs relative to intact dogs [5]. Another study on OSA, to explore the use of Rottweilers as a model for OSA in humans, found that neutering prior to 1 year of age was associated with an increased occurrence of OSA; 3–4 times that of intacts [6].Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer that is affected by neutering in females. A study of cardiac tumors in dogs found that cardiac HSA for spayed females was greater than 4 times that of intact females [7]. A study on splenic HSA found the spayed females had more than 2 times the risk of developing this tumor as intact females [8]. Neither of these studies separated early- versus late-spayed females with regard to increased risk, and neither focused on just one breed. A study on the epidemiology of LSA (lymphoma) in dogs, for comparison with human lymphoma, found that intact females had a significantly lower risk of developing this cancer than neutered females or neutered males or intact males [9]. Another cancer of concern is prostate cancer, which occurs in neutered males about four times as frequently as in intact males [10]. A study on cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCT) in several dog breeds, including the Golden Retriever, examined risk factors such as breed, size, and neuter status. Although early versus late neutering was not considered, the results showed a significant increase in frequency of MCT in neutered females; four times greater than that of intact females [11].In contrast to the rather strong evidence for neutering males and/or females as a risk factor for OSA, HSA, LSA, MCT, and prostate cancer, evidence for neutering as protection against a dog acquiring one or more cancers is weak. The most frequently mentioned is mammary cancer (MC) [12]. However, a recent systematic review of published work on neutering and mammary tumors found the evidence that neutering reduces the risk of mammary neoplasia to be weak, at best [13].With regard to joint disorders affected by neutering, one study documents a 3-fold increase in excessive tibial plateau angle – a known risk factor for development of CCL – in large dogs [14]. A paper on CCL found that, across all breeds, neutered males and females were 2 to 3 times more likely than intact dogs to have this disorder [15]. In this study, with sexes combined, neutering significantly increased the likelihood of HD by 17 percent over that of intact dogs. Given the widespread practice of neutering in the U.S., especially with public campaigns promoting early neutering, and the contrast with neutering practices in other developed countries, the objective of this project was to retrospectively examine the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in the same breed, distinguishing between males and females and early or late neutering versus remaining intact using a single hospital database. Because neutering can be expected to disrupt the normal physiological developmental role of gonadal hormones on multiple organ systems, one can envision the occurrence of disease syndromes, including those listed below, to possibly be affected by neutering as a function of gender and the age at which neutering is performed. The study focused on the Golden Retriever, which is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe. In this breed, HD, CCL, LSA, HSA, MCT, OSA, and elbow dysplasia (ED) are listed as being of particular concern [16].


Ethics Statement

No animal care and use committee approval was required because, in conformity with campus policy, the only data used were from retrospective veterinary hospital records. Upon approval, faculty from the University of California, Davis (UCD), School of Veterinary Medicine, are allowed restricted use of the record system for research purposes. The final dataset used for statistical analyses is available to qualified investigators, upon request, from the corresponding author.

Data Collection

The dataset used in this study was obtained from the computerized hospital record system (Veterinary Medical and Administrative Computer System) of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) at UCD. The subjects included were gonadally intact and neutered female and male Golden Retrievers, 1 to 8 years of age and admitted to the hospital between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. Data from patients less than 12 months of age and 9 years or older were not considered. Additional inclusion criteria were requirements for complete information on date of birth, date of neutering (if neutered) and date of diagnosis (or onset) of the joint disorder or cancer. Patients were classified as intact or neutered; the neutering was sub-classified as “early” if done before 12 months of age and “late” if done at 12 months of age or older. For all neutered patients, the neuter status at the time of each visit was reviewed to ensure that neutering occurred prior to onset of the first clinical signs or diagnosis of any disease of interest. While the study set out to estimate incidence rates related to age at the time of neutering, patients were diagnosed at different ages and with differing durations of the disease as well as varying years of exposure to the effects of gonadal hormone removal. For those intact, early-neutered and late-neutered dogs diagnosed with a disease, the age of diagnosis was recorded. Follow-up times were recorded for each patient and determined by age of the dog at the initial clinical signs or diagnosis, minus the age of the dog when first included in the study. For dogs with no disease, follow-up times were the age at the last visit to the VMTH minus the age when the dog was first included in the study. With the goal of obtaining a sample size sufficiently large for statistical analysis, the database records were initially screened using disease-related keywords to evaluate the frequency of occurrence of HD, CCL, HSA, LSA, MCT, ED, OSA, and MC. Extensive reviews of patient records were then performed for specific evidence and information on each joint disorder or cancer for every patient included in the study. Only diseases with at least 15 cases found using this screening were included in the study. For all patients where age at time of neutering was not available in the record, an effort was made to obtain the information by telephone from the referring veterinarian. At the same time, age of onset of the disease in question was also sought. If the information was not available from the referring veterinarian, an attempt was made to reach the dog owner for this information. In order to optimize success in obtaining information, these efforts were focused on patients born in 2000, or later, and that were admitted to the VMTH between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2009.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Table 1 defines the categories of diagnoses based on information in the record of each case. A patient was considered as having a disease of interest if the diagnosis was made at the VMTH or by a referring veterinarian and later confirmed at the VMTH. Patients clinically diagnosed with HD and/or CCL presented with clinical signs such as difficulty standing up, lameness, or joint pain; diagnosis was confirmed with radiographic evidence and/or orthopedic physical examination. Clinical diagnoses of the various cancers were accompanied by clinical signs such as enlarged lymph nodes, lumps on the skin or presence of masses, and confirmed by imaging, appropriate blood cell analyses, chemical panels, histopathology and cytology. When a diagnosis was suspected based on clinical signs, but the diagnostic tests were inconclusive or not done, telephone calls were made to referring veterinarians and owners to confirm the diagnosis. Lacking a conclusive confirmation, the case was excluded from the analysis for that specific joint disorder or cancer. Finally, body condition scores (BCS), ranging from 1 to 9 and obtained from the patient records (when available) were taken into account because BCS, as an indication of weight on the joints, is considered to play a role in the onset of these joint disorders [17], [18]. Also, neutering has been implicated in an increase in body weight, especially as indicated by body condition score [18].

Citation: Torres de la Riva G, Hart BL, Farver TB, Oberbauer AM, Messam LLM, et al. (2013) Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers. PLoS ONE 8(2): e55937. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055937

Editor: Bart O. Williams, Van Andel Institute, United States of America

Received: August 3, 2012; Accepted: January 4, 2013; Published: February 13, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Torres de la Riva et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: Supported by the Canine Health Foundation (#01488-A) and the Center for Companion 330 Animal Health University of California, Davis (# 2009-54-F/M). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


They Studied Dogs That Had Extreme Longevity and Guess What They Found?

  • A new study of German Shepherd Dogs adds to a growing body of research on the damaging effects of spaying and neutering on dogs
  • Earlier studies on other breeds, including Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, and Vizslas, suggest that desexing can dramatically increase the risk for serious diseases and behavioral disorders in these dogs
  • When dealing with 100 percent responsible pet owners, my preference is to leave dogs intact whenever possible to avoid unnecessary risks of anesthesia. When pets must undergo a sterilization procedure, I advocate an alternative procedure to a full spay or neuter that spares the gonads and ovaries, which produce hormones essential to good health
  • Ovary sparing spays are equally as effective as traditional spays at preventing unwanted litters, but they are less invasive and eliminate the risk of endocrine damage
  • Veterinary schools need to teach less damaging sterilization methods to students, as research shows our current surgical approach to controlling unwanted pregnancies can permanently affect dogs in negative ways. In addition, the surgical technique used by high volume spay clinics and shelters to sterilize very young dogs could easily be updated to a less damaging technique, while still accomplishing the goal of preventing unwanted litters

By Dr. Becker

There is a growing body of evidence — including new research on German Shepherd Dogs (which I’ll discuss shortly) — that indicates spaying or neutering, in particular as it relates to large breed dogs desexed early in life, significantly increases the risk of serious health problems.

For Female Rottweilers, Ovary Removal Significantly Increases the Risk for a Major Fatal Disease

In 2009, a Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation study found a correlation between the age at which female Rottweilers are spayed and their lifespan.1 The study compared female Rotties who lived to be 13 or older with a group who lived the expected lifespan of about 9 years.

According to lead researcher Dr. David J. Waters, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS) at Purdue University:

“Like women, female dogs in our study had a distinct survival advantage over males. But taking away ovaries during the first [four] years of life completely erased the female survival advantage.

“We found that female Rottweilers that kept their ovaries for at least [six] years were [four] times more likely to reach exceptional longevity compared to females who had the shortest lifetime ovary exposure.”2

Because death from cancer is so prevalent in Rotties, researchers conducted a subgroup analysis of only dogs that did not die of cancer. This focused research further proved the strong association between intact ovaries and longevity.

Even in dogs that did not die of cancer, the females who kept their ovaries the longest were nine times more likely to achieve exceptional longevity (13+ years). Simply put, study results indicate removal of a Rottweiler’s ovaries significantly increases the risk for a major lethal disease.

Did You Know That in Europe, Intact Dogs Are the Norm?

A more recent study conducted at the University of California (UC), Davis provides additional evidence that spaying or neutering, and the age at which it is done, may increase a dog’s risk of certain cancers and joint diseases.

The U.S. takes a very different approach to spay/neuter compared to many European countries. In this country, not only are most dogs spayed or neutered, increasingly the preferred timing of the procedure is before the animal is a year old.

The motivation is for desexing is pet population control, and owners are considered responsible only if their pet has been sterilized. However, in many European countries, dogs remain intact and animal health experts do not promote spaying or neutering. The UC Davis study was undertaken, according to the researchers because:

“Given the importance of gonadal hormones in growth and development, this cultural contrast invites an analysis of the multiple organ systems that may be adversely affected by neutering.”3

In Desexed US Golden Retrievers, the Rates of Joint Disease and Cancer Are Much Higher Than in Intact Goldens

The researchers looked at the health records of 759 Golden Retrievers. Goldens were chosen because they are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe, are often used as service dogs, and are also susceptible to various cancers and joint disorders.

The intent of the study was to investigate the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in a single breed of dog, distinguishing between males and females, and between dogs that had been neutered or spayed early (before one year), late (after one year), or not at all.

The dogs ranged in age from 1 to 8 years and had been seen at the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for one or more of the following problems:

The researchers focused on joint disorders and cancers because desexing removes the testes or ovaries and disrupts production of hormones that play an important role in body processes like bone growth plate closure.

Study results indicated that for all five diseases, the rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered or spayed (before or after one year of age) compared with intact dogs.

Of special concern was that results showed a 100 percent increase in the rate of hip dysplasia in male Goldens neutered before 12 months of age.

Ten percent were diagnosed with the condition, which was double the rate of occurrence in intact males. Past studies have reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all intact dogs.

The UC Davis researchers suggest that neutering male Golden Retrievers well beyond puberty will help prevent an increased risk of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament injury, and lymphosarcoma. For female Goldens, the research team concluded that:

“ … [T]he timing of neutering is more problematical because early neutering significantly increases the incidence rate of CCL from near [zero] to almost 8 percent, and late neutering increases the rates of HSA to 4 times that of the 1.6 percent rate for intact females and to 5.7 percent for, which was not diagnosed in intact females.” 4

Vizsla Study Suggests a Significantly Increased Risk for Cancer and Behavioral Disorders in Spayed or Neutered Dogs

A 2014 study of Vizslas included over 2,500 dogs and revealed that dogs neutered or spayed at any age were at significantly increased risk for developing mast cell cancer, lymphoma, all other cancers, all cancers combined, and fear of storms, compared with intact Vizslas.5

Dogs of both genders neutered or spayed at 6 months or younger had significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder, including separation anxiety, noise phobia, timidity, excitability, submissive urination, aggression, hyperactivity, and/or fear biting.

When it came to thunderstorm phobia, all neutered or spayed Vizslas were at greater risk than intact Vizslas, regardless of age at neutering. The younger the age at neutering, the earlier the age at diagnosis with mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms.

Spayed female Vizslas had a nine times higher incidence of hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females, regardless of when spaying was performed, however, no difference in incidence of this type of cancer was found for neutered vs. intact males. Neutered and spayed dogs had 4.3 times higher incidence of lymphoma, regardless of age at time of neutering, and a five times higher incidence of other types of cancer.

Spayed females had 6.5 times higher incidence of all cancers combined compared to intact females, and neutered males had 3.6 times higher incidence than intact males. The Vizsla researchers concluded:

“Additional studies are needed on the biological effects of removing gonadal hormones and on methods to render dogs infertile that do not involve gonadectomy.”6

German Shepherds Desexed Before 1 Year of Age Triple Their Risk of Joint Disorders

As I mentioned earlier, another very recent study was conducted at UC Davis, this time involving German Shepherds Dogs (GSDs). The study results suggest that spaying or neutering before 1 year of age triples the risk of joint disorders, in particular cranial cruciate ligament tears, in these dogs.7

The researchers analyzed the veterinary records of 1,170 GSDs, both neutered or spayed and intact, for a 14.5-year period. They looked for joint disorders and cancers already linked to desexing, and separated the dogs into categories that included intact, desexed before 6 months, between 6 and 11 months, and between 12 and 23 months.

The study found that 7 percent of intact males were diagnosed with one or more joint disorders compared with 21 percent of males neutered prior to 1 year of age. Five percent of intact females developed joint disorders, compared with 16 percent of females spayed before 1 year.

Intact female GSDs were found to develop mammary cancer at a rate of 4 percent, compared with less than 1 percent of females spayed before 1 year. Intact females had no diagnosed incidence of urinary incontinence, compared with 7 percent of females spayed before 1 year. According to lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Hart of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine:

“Debilitating joint disorders of hip dysplasia, CCL and elbow dysplasia can shorten a dog’s useful working life and impact its role as a family member. Simply delaying the spay/neuter until the dog is a year old can markedly reduce the chance of a joint disorder.”8

My Preference Is to Sterilize, Not Desex

Since simply delaying a spay or neuter until a dog is older doesn’t address all the health challenges we see in desexed versus intact pets, I like the Vizsla researchers’ conclusion above that we need to investigate alternative methods of sterilizing dogs that do not involve removing the ovaries or testes.

As I explain in this video, over the years I’ve changed my view on spaying and neutering dogs, based not just on research studies, but also on the health challenges faced by so many of my canine patients after I spayed or neutered them. These were primarily irreversible metabolic diseases that appeared within a few years of a dog’s surgery.

These days I work with each individual pet owner to make decisions that will provide the most health benefits for the dog. Whenever possible, I prefer to leave dogs intact. However, this approach requires a highly responsible pet guardian who is fully committed to and capable of preventing the dog from mating (unless the owner is a responsible breeder and that’s the goal).

My clients are incredibly responsible and educated. I’ve never had a single unplanned pregnancy in my veterinary career. But I realize I’m not providing medical care to the entire world, and the world is full of irresponsible people.

My second choice is to sterilize without desexing. This means performing a procedure that will prevent pregnancy while sparing the testes or ovaries so they continue to produce hormones essential for the dog’s health. This can be done at any age, and could easily replace the current standard of desexing by high volume spay/neuter clinics and shelters around the country.

This typically involves a vasectomy for male dogs, and a modified spay for females. The modified spay removes the uterus while preserving the hormone-producing ovaries. This procedure is less invasive, requires shorter time under anesthesia, and yields the same results with no negative side effects.

Natural Tick Spray



Formulated By: Teri Roche, Canine Nutrition

Background: This safe, non-toxic solution is quite effective against ticks, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes.

Formula: Mix the following together:

1 cup distilled water

1 heaping teaspoon dried organic catnip

7 drops organic olive oil

Add one heaping teaspoon of catnip to one cup of distilled water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat.

Steep catnip in hot water and let cool.

Once cool you may strain out loose herb material with a coffee filter.

Add 7 drops organic olive oil to room temp infusion.

Add a few drops of Rose Geranium this smells wonderful and ticks hate it.

Mix well and store in glass bottle.  After you mix and prepare the formula, ensure that you label all ingredients and record the date.

Suggested Use: Liberally spray your dog or cat taking care to avoid exposure to the eyes.  You can apply daily.  This is also very effective for humans.  Spray on clothes and body before going out for a walk.





Lg, Apollo and Gemma  our new international Champions. We are very proud of their achievements.

We had a  really great time at the IABCA shows. All the dogs below is being shown by my dear friend Susan. Aberdean was shown at our Specialty June 2017

International Ch. Chrys Haefen's Gemstone to JRS

International Ch. Chrys Haefen’s Gemstone to JRS

Gemma at 7mos. old taking Reserve Best In Show

Gemma at 7mos. old taking Reserve Best In Show

Int. Ch. Apollo

Int. Ch. LG

Apollo and LG after obtaining their titles

Ch. LG and Apollo

Gemma’s daughter Abby at our YGRC Specialty

Aberdean at YGRC Specialty took 4th out of 10 American Bred dogs


 This is one of my favorite Poems. Gene Hill also has written these stories which I liked as well Tears & Laughter: A Couple of Dozen Dog Stories

                                                                                   “He Is Just My Dog”

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself.

He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.

His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever — in case I need him. And I expect I will — as I always have. He is just my dog.  ”      / Gene Hill /


Keira pups and my friends,the Jacaruso family

Keira pups and my friends,the Jacaruso family

Daisy a Quinn/Sadie pup















Arya (Shooter and Luna) and Kodi a Luna and Quinn pup

Arya (Shooter and Luna) and Kodi a Luna and Quinn pup

Coach a Zoey/Logan pup

Coach a Zoey/Logan pup                   

NEADS, provides service dogs I have had many people call to ask if I would have a pup they could train to be a service dog. My heart aches when I receive these calls. A father asking for a pup to be trained for diabetic issues. A mom wanting a pup for an autistic child. I listen to their stories and then spend time explaining why no one can predict which dog will be suitable for service work. As they hang up I wonder if I reached through to them or if they will just try another breeder that will sell to them and not explain that a service dog is born not made. This is not a special breed but a special dog that was born with intuition a sixth sense so to say. I have of course seen these pups and have had pups that I knew would be great for this type of work. The problem is there is no magic wand telling us when this pup will appear. I hope with this article to reach out to the people whose insurance doesn’t cover a service dog because. I am truly sorry that this is so. Try to get insurances to pay for this, write to congress, Call Neads and ask about special programs. Put it out on Facebook for donations, just don’t throw your money away trying to make a wonderful pet pup into something he just wasn’t born with. This too worries me because then what happens to the pup when it doesn’t make the grade. Is the breeder asked to take back and rehome a pup that has done nothing but love their family. Please call Neads, in Princeton,MA., they are one of the largest assistance dog providers in the US and the professionals, not the breeder and not the trainer. Thank You , My humble regards for all those looking for such an animal. RM

“A breeder who has no interest in rescue of what he has produced is of no value to anyone, and of even less value to his breed.” — Dr. Malcolm Willis


Puppy Photo-shoot fundraiser raised $130 for NEADS today! We have passed our goal of $500 and raised a total of $750 for NEADS, a nonprofit that provides service dogs for deaf and disabled Americans! Huge thanks to everyone who donated and helped out — with Kirsten Noonan and Michaela Colarossi. — with Abby Jacaruso.



2nd place at the DECA state conference for our OUR FUTURE BUSINESS WOMEN YEAH!!! GO GIRLS NEADS Community Service Project! Nationals here we come  #AtlantaBound

2nd place at the DECA state conference for our NEADS Community Service Project! Nationals here we come #AtlantaBound NEADS: Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans,