The real pathologists of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study
For most people, if asked to define the word “pathologist” they’ll jump to what they’ve seen on television. Those of us who remember the Sony Betamax might recall Jack Klugman’s character Dr. Quincy, while younger folks immediately think of the current crop of television pathologists such as Dr. Al Robbins of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. While the reality of what most pathologists do is not quite as exciting, they play an important role in the diagnosis of many diseases, including cancer.
Pathology is a branch of science that concerns itself with the study of diseases and the changes caused by those diseases. Pathology is further divided into several subcategories. For example, forensic pathology focuses on assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. Anatomic pathologists perform necropsies and examine tissue under the microscope. Clinical pathologists interpret laboratory tests. There are subspecialties under the subspecialties, such as dermatopathologists who only examine skin biopsies.
When we first set up the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, we knew that pathologists were going to play an integral role in data interpretation, especially in diagnosing cancer in our study participants. The study team recently started working with veterinary anatomic pathologist Dr. E.J. Ehrhart of Colorado State University to provide assistance in sample evaluation, as well as ensure biopsies and other tissue specimens are routed and categorized accurately. While Dr. Ehrhart and his team may not get to dash off to crime scenes, they are a crucial part of the study, and their involvement will continue to grow as our study population ages.
The success of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study depends on the collaboration of participants and supporters, study veterinarians, foundation staff, volunteers, and outside researchers. We are grateful to have such a dedicated group of people collaborating in one of the largest studies of canine health undertaken. Thank you!