Why Does Golden Retriever Get Cancer?

Why Does The Golden Retriever Get Cancer_

Undoubtedly, the generous attribute and intelligence of the Golden Retrievers make them the most popular dog breed in the USA. Yet, since the dogs are susceptible to various health issues, raising a Golden Retriever needs a lot of care and attention. Moreover, cancer is the storming problem of Golden Retriever nowadays. But why does the Golden Retriever gets cancer is still a question.

Although there are factors that may induce cancer, main reason why Golden Retriever may get cancer is still anonymous. However, aging, genetics, unhealthy nutrition, and the environment may be some of the causes of cancer in your pet. Apart from this, viruses, carcinogens, and some diseases may also result in cancer induction in your pet.

Since the Golden Retriever fits perfectly in every family, it becomes a vital member of your house. Therefore, I guess you want to do every possible thing to promote a happier and healthier lifespan for your Golden Retriever. Do not you?

I will disclose some causes of cancer in the Golden Retriever and ways to mitigate them further in this article. But before that, do you know about cancer status in Golden Retriever?

What Is Cancer In The Golden Retriever?

Golden Retriever cancer is a disease that involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body that affects the functions in the body of the Golden Retriever. And it is one of the most common causes of death in dogs. Moreover, there are two types of cancer in this dog breed. i.e.:

  1. Benign Cancer- It is slow-growing abnormal cells that are removable from the body of Golden Retriever through surgery.
  2. Malignant Cancer- In this cancer, the abnormal cells spread throughout the dog that affects multiple organs.

Furthermore, since cancer is a fatal disease, it is hard to cure once it occurs. Above all, the unknown causes make the treatment of the disease more difficult.

Do You Know The Status Of Cancer In The Golden Retriever?

Since the Golden Retrievers originated from interbreeding, they have a high risk of cancer. And to prove this fact, Europe and the US did several studies on the Golden Retriever and risk for cancer.

Moreover, the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, published in 2011, stated that out of 82 other dog breeds, the Golden Retriever is more likely to die from cancer. Furthermore, the BMC Veterinary Research in 2018 also confirmed that their puppies are more susceptible to tumor cell development than any other dogs.

Along with this, the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is a yearly comprehensive health study of dogs in the USA that identifies the effect of nutrition, lifestyle, environment, and genetics in cancer. And according to a recent study, about 60 % of the Golden Retrievers are cancer victims.

Furthermore, in 1998 the study of Purdue University with American Golden Retriever club also indicated that 61% death of Golden Retriever in the US is due to cancer. Similarly, the UK Kennel Club survey showed 38% deaths of European Golden Retrievers from cancer in 2004.

And as time passes, the risk of Golden Retriever is also increasing at a high rate. As a result, the lifespan of the Golden Retriever declined to 10-12 years from 15-17 years over one century.

But what might be the reason behind the increasing cases of cancer in the Golden Retriever?

I will give a brief description of all the causes further in the article. Before that, do you know the symptoms of cancer?

What Are The Symptoms Of Cancer In The Golden Retriever?

Since the Golden Retrievers cannot speak, they give several signs to indicate their illness. Though most symptoms of cancer may contradict the other diseases. Yet, the most common signs that indicate your pet is having health issues are.:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Lethargy and restlessness
  • Eating disorders
  • Aggression
  • Weight loss
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Foul-smelling discharge from ears, eyes, rectum, or mouth
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Barking and trembling
  • Lumps or bumps in the skin coat
  • Redness or swelling in the body

Is your pet showing these signs?

If yes, then it might be suffering from serious health issues like cancer. However, there are also many other disease conditions when your Golden Retriever shows the above signs. And they are:

Thus, you should be cautious and seek help from professionals immediately.

What Are The Common Types Of Cancer In The Golden Retriever?

According to the veterinary clinical trials program at the University of London, the Golden Retriever is more prone to four types of cancer. Further, the cases of cancer rise at the age of 6 and maximize at the age of 10 to 12. But after 12 years of age, these cases decline gradually.

However, there are four types of cancer most common in the Golden Retriever. And they are:


Osteosarcoma (Bone cancer) is a malignant type of cancer that spreads throughout the body aggressively and affects different limbs. And the larger dog breeds like the Golden Retriever are most susceptible to this type of cancer. Moreover, the signs of bone cancer are:

  • Lameness or limping
  • Swelling in the limbs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of interest in playing
  • Lumps in the legs.

Generally, there are three stages of this disease according to its seriousness.

  • First stage- low-grade stage
  • Second stage- proliferating stage
  • Third stage- advanced stage

Tumors of Mast Cells

Mast cell tumors are cancer developed in white blood cells. Moreover, this disease can be benign to aggressive malignant type spreading in all the blood cells. And the symptoms of this disease are:

  • Small isolated lumps in the skin
  • Inflammation
  • Large ulcerated lumps
  • Whimpering or yelping


Since hemangiosarcoma is the malignant tumor of the blood vessels, it is the deadliest cancer. Furthermore, these tumors develop aggressively in the areas rich in blood supply (heart or spleen) and spread rapidly all over the body.

In addition, the tumors cause excessive bleeding when ruptures that may be fatal.


Although lymphoma can affect any organ, it mainly deteriorates the functioning of the lymph node in your pet. Furthermore, since cancer attacks lymphocytes, it affects the immune system. As a result, your Golden Retriever is also susceptible to other diseases.

Besides this, the malignant lymphoma tumor develops in a lymph node, bone marrow, and spleen. Yet, the death rate of the Golden Retriever due to this cancer is not high.

However, there are 30 types of lymphoma in dogs, out of which four are common in the Golden Retriever. And they are:

  1. Multicentric lymphoma- most common lymphoma accounting for 80-85 % of the cases, where all the lymph nodes in the body of the Golden Retriever damages.
  2. Alimentary lymphoma- the lymphoma that affecs the gastrointestinal tract of your Golden Retriever.
  3. Mediastinal lymphoma- this lymphoma creates lesions in the chest that causes breathing problems.
  4. Extranodal lymphoma- a rare type of lymphoma that affects the eyes, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system.

Why Does The Golden Retriever Get Cancer?

Although the actual cause of the cancer is unknown, the possible reasons that may induce Golden Retriever cancer are:

Spraying and Neutering May Cause Golden Retriever Cancer

According to the study report of the University of California, Davis, Dr. Benjamin Hart suggested that when you use birth control measures in the puppies before maturation. The puppies may develop a different type of cancer due to hormonal imbalance.

Furthermore,  the research paper by Dr. Benjamin Hart published in 2013 proves that there is about 3-4 times higher risk of cancer in the spayed or neutered Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retriever Is Susceptible to Due To Genetics

Although the Golden Retrievers are pure-bred dogs, they are prone to several health issues. Since their gene pool is small, cancer-inducing genes pass in the generation. So, the dogs inherit the characteristics of both their parents.

And if anyone the parents have cancer, they will also be prone to cancer. Thus, dog breeds like the Golden Retriever and Boxers are at higher risk of cancer.

Unhealthy Food Habits Induces Golden Retriever Cancer

Since Golden Retrievers are fond of food, they love eating. Any and every meal enlightens their moods. Therefore, this dog breed has a higher chance of being obese.

And with obesity, the dogs are prone to various other diseases like diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disorder, hip dysplasia, joint disorders, etc. Furthermore, an overweight female Golden Retriever has a higher risk of mammary cancer.

Older Golden Retriever Are More Prone To Cancer

Like humans, the functioning of the Golden Retriever also declines with age. Therefore, the immunity of the older Golden Retriever is comparatively less than the young puppies. And there is a higher risk of mutant gene development in older dogs.

As a result, the cells of the older Golden Retriever proliferate uncontrollably. So, dogs over the age of 10 have a higher risk of cancer.

Environmental Conditions Induces Golden Retriever Cancer

Due to the recklessness of humans with the increasing access to technology, the environment is deteriorating. As a result, the Golden Retriever gets cancer due to smog and air pollution. Besides this, the Golden Retriever prefers moderate environmental conditions.

When the Golden Retriever is in an extreme environment, it may suffer from various skin disorders. Further, these disorders damage the skin tissue of your pet. And eventually, your pet may get cancer.

Exposure To Carcinogens Cause Cancer In Your Golden Retriever

Since the Golden Retriever is a family dog, it has access to various household things that induce cancer. And continuous exposure to such carcinogen items leads to cancer. However, the cancer-causing agents present in the house are:

  • Household cleaners
  • Fertilizers
  • Cosmetics
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides

Besides this, if you are a smoker, smoking can have a second-hand effect on your pet. Thus, it induces cancer in your Golden Retriever.

However, after you are familiar with the causes of cancer in your pet, I guess it is easier to prevent.

Do you know how to prevent your pet from cancer?

How Can You Prevent Cancer In The Golden Retriever?

Since cancer is a fatal disease without specific treatment, preventive measures are essential. Apart from this, the Golden Retriever is prone to cancer. So, to promote healthier and longer life with your pet, you should be cautious.

Here are the measures that reduce the risk of cancer in your pet:

Choose A Good Breeder

The selection of a reliable breeder is vital to eliminate the chances of cancer in your pet. A good breeder analyses the characters and health of the dogs before breeding. As a result, the produced offspring is healthier and lives longer due to fewer health issues.

Apart from this, good breeders also understand the problems of mixed breeding. Thus, they always opt for pure-bred. So, the chances of health hazards like cancer decline in the puppies.

Provide Nutritious Food

The food you feed your pet determines the longevity and health of your pet. Thus, the Golden Retriever has a balanced diet with all necessary nutrients has higher immune power than the dogs with unmanaged diet plans. Furthermore, foods rich in antioxidants and omega-acids prevent the damage of cells in the Golden Retriever.

However, treats are the foodstuffs that could spoil the health of your pet. Thus, feed your Golden Retriever with natural snacks as treats. Along with this, giving nutritional and herbal supplements enhances the immunity of your pet.

Therefore, due to higher immunity, the Golden Retriever will have a lower risk of cancer.

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

The lifestyle of the pet influences a lot in the health and mood of your pet. Therefore, you should schedule all the activities of your pet. The process of arranging all the activities makes your pet engage and ensures that your pet gets proper exercise.

Moreover, the exercises and training enhance the physical and mental strength of your Golden Retriever. Thus, your Golden Retriever has a higher defense mechanism to fight against cancer. However, the training empowers and disciplines the Golden Retriever are:

Take Advice From the Vet

Since the Vet is an expert, he helps to diagnose the disease of your pet. And the diagnosis process involves:

  • X-Rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • MRI Scanning

After the diagnosis, the Vet analyses the intensity and severity of the diseases. And thus, he prescribes the medications to treat the diseases. Apart from this, the Vet also gives several suggestions about the lifestyle and diet. And It eliminates the chances of cancer in your pet.

Therefore, if you observe any abnormal behavior in your pet, visit the Vet as soon as possible. Since early prognosis leads to faster treatment, take advice from the Vet as soon as the disease develops. So, it helps in the complete elimination of cancer.

How often do you visit your Vet?

What Are The Treatments For The Golden Retriever With Cancer?

The above ways can help to prevent cancer in your Golden Retriever. But do you know what you should if your pet is suffering from cancer?

Firstly, you must visit the professional because earlier treatment is proportional to successful treatment. And the Vet may diagnose the disease through various techniques of heath testing. After this, he will analyze the following things:

  • Stage of the cancer
  • Type of tumor
  • Health condition of the Golden Retriever
  • Age of the pet

The Vet thoroughly will examine the stage, type of tumor, age, and health condition of your pet. Finally, he will prescribe appropriate treatment for your Golden Retriever. And the treatments may be either one or more of the following:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Herbal medicines
  • Radiotherapy

Although these treatments do not ensure the complete cure of cancer in your Golden Retriever, they are helpful to increase the lifespan of your pet.

Since a Golden Retriever is naturally susceptible to health issues, you cannot control it. However, you can provide the pet with adequate care and attention to ensure a healthier life.

Which of the above cause do you think leads to more cancer cases?

Do you think all the preventive measures were effective?

Do you have any suggestions about this article?

Please share them in the comment box.

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