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Patient of the Month

Pictured here is our Dr. Dawn Burke and her handsome dog Trace. They are helping advance the health of dogs everywhere by participating in Morris Animal Foundation’s groundbreaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. The $30 million study is the most extensive investigation ever undertaken in veterinary medicine, gathering information on more than 3,000 golden retrievers from around the country, throughout their lives, to identify the nutritional, environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs.
Every year, Dr. Burke completes online questionnaires about her dog’s diet and environment, performs an annual physical examination on Trace, and collects biological samples, like blood, urine and hair. All these samples and questionnaires are forming a massive database that will make it easier to see the correlations between risk factors and health, and refine canine veterinary research going forward. In addition to Trace, Dr. Burke is the veterinarian of record on several other enrolled golden retrievers, whose families complete the questionnaire and bring their pets to her for examination and testing. 
“It was an easy decision to become involved in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, because the impacts of this study are so far-reaching,” said Dr. Burke. “It’s rewarding to know that our contribution will help all dogs have healthier lives.” 
The study was launched in 2012, and reached full enrollment in 2015. The primary goal of the study is to reveal potential risk factors that may lead to the development of four types of cancers common in golden retrievers – lymphoma and osteosarcoma, which are dramatically similar to the same cancers in humans, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumors. However, given the scope of the study, the Foundation has the opportunity to better understand other major diseases in dogs, and the study may even help improve the health of other species.
We are proud that Dr. Burke and Trace, pictured here in a great photo by our Veterinary Tech Jen Haire, along with all our golden retriever patients that are enrolled in this study, are doing so much to advance our knowledge of the factors that can affect canine health. For that reason, we’re pleased to award Trace the coveted Suffield Veterinary Hospital Patient of the Month crown.

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