Breed of the Month: Golden Retriever


Description: Golden Retrievers are strong, large, long-hair dogs. Their inner coat provides warmth while spending time outdoors, and their top coat helps to keep out water. The color of the coat is golden, red, and slightly wavy. Golden’s have dark eyes, a strong jaw, and muscular neck.

History: The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland and was developed by Lord Tweedmouth. He bred a yellow retriever with a tweed water spaniel, which is now extinct. Later on the Irish setter and the Bloodhound were bred into the mix, which helped to create the Golden Retriever we see today.

Size: Males weigh an average of 65-70lbs and are 23-24 inches tall. Females weigh 60-70lbs and are about 21 1/2 – 22 1/2 inches tall.

Temperament: Golden’s are very loyal and loving dogs. They are ranked the 3rd most popular family dog in the United States. Most Golden’s are known for their kind and friendly temperament. This breed is known for many different jobs. Golden’s make great service dogs for the blind and deaf, but also great hunting companions. Golden’s great around children.

Grooming: They should be brushed once a week and every day during heavy shedding. This helps prevent the amount of hair shed. Golden’s should be bathed about every two months. It is also important to keep their ears clean. This helps to prevent ear infections.

Health: In 1998, a study was done by the Golden Retriever Club of America. It was found that 61.4 percent of Golden’s died from cancer. Due to Golden’s having a large appetite, they are prone to obesity. Golden’s also have hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, heart disease, joint disease, and ligament rupture. Due to having a large list of health issues, it is recommended that you take them in for yearly vet checkups.

Exercise: The Golden should have a daily exercise routine. They enjoy being active outdoors. Taking them for walks, playing fetch, or even participating in an agility course are just a few examples. Golden’s also enjoy relaxing, it is important for them to enjoy their free time too.

Lifespan: About 10 to 13 years.

Trivia: Golden Retrievers have made special appearances in films such as Homeward bound, as ‘Shadow’ and the Air Bud series as ‘Buddy’.


Canine Lymphoma

Lymphoma, also known as Lymphosarcoma, is one of the most common types of cancers to effect dogs. Dogs of any breed or age are susceptible to lymphoma but, there are certain breeds that are more genetically predisposed to an increased risk of developing lymphoma. Scottish Terriers, German Shepherds, St. Bernards, Boxers, Poodles, Rottweilers, and Golden Retrievers are breeds that are much more likely to be effected. In fact, one in every eight Golden Retrievers will get lymphoma. Even more disturbing, 60% of Golden Retrievers will die of some form of cancer.

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell thats helps make up the immune system of vertebrate animals. Lymphoma is the reproduction of cancerous lymphocytes within various organs such as bone, stomach, intestines, and lymph nodes, therefore, this proliferation of malignant cells can lead to many different forms of lymphoma.

There are many types of lymphoma that can effect many different parts of the dog. Extranodal lymphoma, the most rare type of lymphoma, can effect eye, liver, skin, bone, mouth, and breast tissue. Mediastinal lymphoma can effect the thorax and lungs. Gastrointestinal lymphoma is cancer in the stomach and intestines. The most common type of lymphoma, making up 85% of all cases of lymphoma, is multicentric lymphoma which effects the lymph nodes.

For the most part, symptoms of lymphoma are generic and can mimic the symptoms of other diseases or illnesses. Some of these symptoms include, but are not limited to: depression, lethargy, weight loss, fever, cough, labored breathing, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea, vomiting, disorientation, changes in behavior, melena, increased thirst, and increased urination.

Signs and symptoms of lymphoma will differ depending on the area effected by the condition. Mediastinal lymphoma, for example, is lymphoma in the mediastinum located in the middle of the chest cavity so, a dog with that condition may see symptoms of labored breathing, fluid around the lungs, and other symptoms that resemble congestive heart failure.

Gastrointestinal lymphoma can be present anywhere along the digestive tract, from stomach to rectum. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weight loss, loss of appetite, and melena, or tarry black feces indicating a gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Multicentric lymphoma is the most common type of lymphoma in canines. Multicentric lymphoma is an enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck, behind the knees, in the groin, or in other lymph nodes located in the body such as lymph nodes located near the spleen and liver. The malignant growth isn’t necessarily painful in the beginning stages.

If a person suspects that their dog has enlarged lymph nodes, after confirmation by a veterinarian, a urinalysis and blood tests would be conducted. Also, to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma, a biopsy is taken of the enlarged lymph node(s).

While radiation therapy and surgery are used to treat canine lymphoma, chemotherapy is the most common and most recommended form of treatment. Since lymphoma is highly variable in it’s severity and how it effects an animals health, effectiveness of treatment is also highly variable. Treatment of lymphoma is largely palliative, since a cure for lymphoma is extremely rare. However with a combination of chemotherapy drugs, a remission of 6 – 8 months is achievable, with a total survival time of about 9 – 12 months.

If left untreated, a dog diagnosed with canine lymphoma has a prognosis of about 60 days.

Lymphoma is a progressive cancer which is fatal in most every case. Identifying the cancer in its early stages is key to helping a dog have a longer and pain free life. If your dog is experiencing symptoms that I mentioned above, consult your veterinarian.