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Additional Veterinary Visits FAQS

What happens if a study dog gets sick?

Because the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is an observational study, the owner should care for the enrolled dog as usual and schedule additional veterinary visits at the owner’s discretion, with the guidance of the veterinarian. The veterinarian can log on to caninelifetimehealth.org to complete a health report for any major health events as needed.

What if cancer is suspected in a study dog?

Obtaining samples and accurate diagnoses of malignant cancers are necessary components of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. If an FNA or examination suggests malignancy, communication with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study team is required before a biopsy is performed, 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647). A biopsy should ideally be performed by the study veterinarian or a veterinary oncology specialist as instructed below. As always, the decision to pursue a biopsy or any other veterinary care is the owner’s decision.

When clinically feasible, sample(s) of the tumor as well as surrounding normal tissue are requested. A tissue sample should be submitted to Antech Diagnostics at no cost to the veterinarian for histopathology. Also, when feasible, additional diseased and healthy tissue will be shipped to a long-term storage facility to be preserved for future analysis. The biopsy supplies, including postage, shipping and packaging materials are provided at no charge to the clinic. To request a biopsy kit or for questions, please call the study team at 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647).

If a dog has a presumptive diagnosis of malignant cancer and the owner is unable to afford the procedure to collect a biopsy, the study offers a reimbursement of up to $500 per dog over the life of the study to collect a biopsy. This money is specifically intended to help an owner pay for a biopsy procedure that he or she could not afford otherwise.

Additionally, the reimbursement may be used to offset the cost of a necropsy. A necropsy, usually performed by the dog’s study veterinarian, will allow the study team to gain valuable information from this important, final step in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

Who is responsible for reporting additional veterinary visits?

When an additional veterinary visit occurs, the veterinarian should log on to his or her study account, report the date the visit occurred, and report the visit findings. Only one visit can be reported at a time, so a veterinarian’s additional veterinary visit report must be completed, saved and locked before another new visit can be reported.

When should a veterinarian use the Additional Veterinary Visit form?

The veterinarian should use the Additional Veterinary Visit form any time a study dog is examined for a major medical concern. What constitutes a major medical concern is up to the discretion of each veterinarian, but can include incidents such as: tumors with concern for malignancy, major organ dysfunction (e.g. kidney or heart failure), endocrine disorders (e.g. diabetes or hypothyroidism), etc. Minor illnesses such as ear infections or GI upset that respond to standard treatment(s) need not be reported, as they can be noted in appropriate detail on the next annual veterinarian questionnaire.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study team at grdogs@caninelifetimehealth.org or 855.4GR.DOGS (855.447.3647). We appreciate your dedication and feedback as we strive to collect meaningful data, while keeping the process as convenient as possible for our study participants.

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