Breed profiling: What does it mean for your dog’s health?

April 25, 2011

While racial profiling is considered taboo, when it comes to our patients, veterinarians profile breeds like there’s no tomorrow.

Sure, knowing the breed helps us predict the behavior we will encounter when we enter the exam room, but where “breed profiling” is most helpful is as it pertains to predicting disease. Show me a senior Saint Bernard and I’ll show you a dog with arthritis. Show me an English Bulldog with normal upper airway anatomy and dinner’s on me!

Such breed-specific knowledge is gleaned from years of practicing veterinary medicine but, more and more, these impressions are becoming evidence-based. The March/April Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine featured an article titled “Mortality in North American Dogs from 1984 to 2004: An Investigation into Age- Size- and Breed-Related Causes of Death.” The data was collected from information provided by veterinary teaching hospitals and recorded in the national Veterinary Medical Database. The cause of death for more than 70,000 dogs and 82 breeds was scrutinized. The categorization went as follows:

  • which organ system failed (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, etc.)
  • pathophysiologic process (trauma, infectious disease, cancer, etc.).

For example, if one were to look at all of the Boston Terriers in the study, 22 percent died with neurological symptoms and cancer was the cause of death in 30 percent.

Here are some other tidbits from this study:

  • Forty percent of Dachshunds die from traumatic neurological disease   (intervertebral disk disease).

That represents a staggering percentage. To have a Doxie is to expect disk disease, but this is generally considered a treatable condition. My assumption is that financial hardship (treatment often requires expensive diagnostics and surgery) and the decision to euthanize are the sad truths behind this high percentage.

  • The breeds with the highest proportion of deaths caused by heart disease included Newfoundland, Maltese, Chihuahua, Doberman Pinscher, and Fox Terrier.
  • The top five breeds that died as a result of musculoskeletal diseases included Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, and Greyhound.

This makes sense. When such large dogs have a tough time getting around because of sore bones, joints, or muscles, they become management nightmares and hasten the decision to euthanize.

  • Cancer was the leading cause of death across all breeds within the study population.

Interestingly, the relative frequency of cancer peaked in the age group that included ten-year-old dogs, then declined within the oldest age group. Is the incidence of cancer increasing, or are we getting better at detecting cancer? Or perhaps both?  The answer is not clear, however we feel certain that cancer is commonly inherited within certain breeds (Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever, Boxer, Bouvier des Flandres) in which approximately half of the population will succumb to the “big C.”

  • Cancer occurred less commonly in smaller breeds of dogs (Boston Terriers being an exception).
  • Larger breeds more commonly died due to diseases affecting the musculoskeletal or gastrointestinal systems.
  • Traumatic causes of death were equally prevalent among larger and smaller breeds.

So, beyond the simple curiosity factor, how does all of this data help us?

Perhaps it will influence one’s decision-making when adopting a new dog. My current canine family members are both small mutts. Yes, I have to bend over more, but I’d grown weary of getting burned by the heartache that accompanies the diagnosis of cancer.

On a more global scale, this data is key to directing new and ongoing breed-specific research such as looking for ways to prevent musculoskeletal abnormalities in large breed dogs and tracking down the genetic basis for cancer in particular breeds.

Additionally, the information presented in this article serves as justification for veterinarians to recommend more comprehensive early disease-specific screening tests based on breed.

Last, if you share your home and your heart with a Dachshund, this data should entice you to invest some of your hard-earned money in a good pet health insurance policy (one that does not exclude coverage for disk disease in Dachshunds) or a large doggie-piggy bank reserved for medical matters. This way, when your little Doxie “slips a disk” you’ll be able to treat this treatable disease.

Curious about what this article had to say about your dog’s breed? Feel free to ask and we’ll let you know if it was included in the study.

Photo credit: Dunja Oertel

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Filed under: pets, connected,veterinary medicine — Dr. Nancy Kay @ 9:30 am

80 Comments »

  1. Dr. Nancy did it say anything regarding Min. Schnauzers?

    Comment by VJ — April 25, 2011 @ 9:49 am

  2. What about Beagles?

    Comment by Katelyn — April 25, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  3. Hi VJ,

    In the Miniature Schnauzers studied in this report the organ system most commonly implicated as a cause of death was the urogenital tract (17%). Neoplasia (cancer) was the most commonly diagnosed disease (22%).

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  4. Hi Katelyn,

    For Beagles, the neurological system was most commonly implicated (13%) and cancer was the most commonly diagnosed disease process (23%).

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  5. Any information about Australian Shepherds?

    Comment by HollyAnn — April 25, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  6. Were American Eskimo Dogs or Sheltland Sheepdogs included in the study?

    Thanks!
    Donna

    Comment by Donna — April 25, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  7. Sorry so many breeds, but I have a house full of odd rescues:

    German Shepherd?

    Poodle?

    Shih tzu?

    Comment by Rori — April 25, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  8. what about German Wirehaired Pointers?

    Comment by mary murray — April 25, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  9. Must ask — miniature pinschers?

    Comment by Sheyna Steiner — April 25, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  10. Pugs?

    Comment by Kara — April 25, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  11. Cavaliers are my thing – I’m sure heart murmurs are mentioned! But I must admit curiosity…

    Comment by Julie E — April 25, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  12. And Dalmatians?

    Comment by straybaby — April 25, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  13. Here’s the scoop on the various breeds mentioned above: For each breed I will provide the organ system most commonly failed along with the most common disease process listed as the cause of death- the percentages represent the percent of that breed affected in the population of dogs studied.

    Aussies: 13% musculoskeletal disease; 24% cancer
    Eskies: 14% gastrointestinal disease; 24% cancer
    Shelties: 14% urogenital disease; 30% cancer
    German Shepherds: 15% gastrointestinal disease; 28% cancer
    Shih tzu: 14% urogenital disease; 15% cancer
    German Wirehaired Pointer- not included
    Min Pins: 22% neurological disease; 20% trauma (isn’t this interesting- why in the world would Min Pins be predisposed to trauma?)

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  14. Hi Rori,

    Which type of Poodle are you interested in?

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  15. Hi Straybaby,

    Dalmatians: 16% urogenital disease (no surprise there); 18% cancer

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  16. Thanks Dr Kay! I have an at least 11yo female and was wondering if there was something else major to watch for besides the obvious with the breed :)

    Comment by straybaby — April 25, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  17. Weimaraner and cairn terrier owner here. I’m definitely curious what the study says.

    Thanks for providing such a nice, concise summary of this study!

    Comment by Diane_N — April 25, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  18. How about Rottweilers?
    My guess is cancer :(, they’re a bit like cancer magnets sadly…

    Comment by Alison — April 25, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  19. Was there any cut-off for lower age group? If not, and they were including puppies in the “trauma” category, I wonder if some of the variation was due to puppies being dropped/trodden on etc. That might explain why smaller, more delicate breeds were over-represented.

    Not a scientific survey, but we were discussing the number of staffies we get with injuries due to falls or being dropped and one of the vets suggested that there might be a real difference between dogs who go limp and ones with a more rigid muscular construction who’d be more likely to break something.

    Comment by Rosemary — April 25, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  20. Oops. Miniature Poodle. :D

    Comment by Rori — April 25, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  21. Were Japanese Chins in the study?

    Comment by Laurie — April 25, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  22. I’m more curious as to what diseases are included in the various categories, particularly neurological and urogenital.

    Comment by Mary — April 25, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  23. Hi there,

    Here is some more information on the breeds mentioned in your comments:

    Miniature Poodle: 14% neurological disease; 19% cancer
    Japanese Chins: not studied (sorry)
    Rotties: 17% musculoskeletal disease; 30% cancer
    Weims: 18% GI disease; 25% cancer
    Cairns: 15% neurological disease; 32% cancer
    Pugs: not studied (can you believe that!)
    Cavies: also not studied, but I’d bet the family ranch that cardiovascular disease is, by far, the leading cause of death. There I go with my breed profiling!

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  24. Hi Mary,

    Great question- unfortunately this paper does not specify which specific diseases are included in the various categories. One can suspect based on breed- for example, the way I surmised that intervertebral disc disease was likely the basis for 40% of Doxies dying from neurological disease- but this data is not presented within the paper.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  25. Hi Straybaby,

    When it comes to Dalmatians, one must always be on the lookout for urinary tract stones. Dalmatians also have a propensity for developing skin allergies- fortunately rarely a live threatening disease. Just like any other larger breed of dog, Dals are prediposed to developing cancer- based on this, it might be wise for senior screening panels to include chest radiographs and abdominal ultrasound. Worthy of discussion with your veterinarian.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  26. Hi Rosemary,

    The study clearly documented that trauma was more likely to be life ending in juvenile dogs (up to one year of age)-23% compared to adult dogs (greater than one year of age)-10%. The paper reports trauma to be the leading cause of death in the following toy breeds- Chihuahua, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Toy Poodle. This makes sense because by nature such small dogs are more susceptible to getting under foot and/or drop injuries. Trauma was also the leading reported cause of trauma for Australian Heelers (given the way these dogs latch onto car tires and bovine back legs, this is no surprise to me).

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  27. Might as well join the queue. How about rough collies?

    Comment by Susan Fox — April 25, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  28. Could you tell me the specifics about Dobermans and Labs? My dog is a mix of the two. Would that make her more or less susceptible to the known problems of the breeds?

    Comment by Mandy — April 25, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  29. They didn’t study pugs because they probably assumed they die because they can’t breathe. I heard of a couple that died when the power went out so the a/c stopped running and they overheated. Seriously! Have you seen a show ring pug lately? Sorry, it’s a sticking point with me. Thankfully there are some fanciers in Germany breeding them with noses again. I only hope some breeders here jump on the same boat.

    Comment by Marie — April 25, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  30. What? They didn’t study PUGS? Insane! We have two rescue pugs. Greatest little dogs ever.

    Comment by Kara — April 25, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  31. I agree, given the popularity of the Pug, I cannot fathom why they would have been left out. And, when I chose the photo to accompany this blog, I’d not yet realized the paucity of Pugs in the article!

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  32. Did they include Frenchies (French Bulldogs). I can guess spine or breathing, but would be interested to hear if they were included in the study. Thanks!

    Comment by Carrie — April 25, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  33. Show me an APBT, Am Staff, Staffy Bull or any prime mix of those with OUT any allergies and I will tell you that you have not looked far enough! :)

    Comment by Cindy Steinle — April 25, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

  34. Standard Poodle if you would please?

    Our rescue St. Poodle at aprox 9 yrs of age died from IMHA. Broke our hearts to say the least.

    Our 10 yr old St. Poodle, is finally in recovery from Chronic Pancreatitis. A better diagnosis than the other possibilities that were tossed around by our FORMER Vet.

    Our 15 yr old Silky Terrier had IVDD. Not a common disease in the Silky.

    I don’t suppose there are numbers on the Tibetan Terrier?

    Comment by Anita B. — April 25, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  35. Here are some more breed related specifics:

    Standard Poodle: 17% gastrointestinal disease; 27% cancer
    Tibetans: not included in this study
    Silky Terriers: not included either
    Am. Staffs: 16% gastrointestinal disease; 22% cancer
    Dobies: 17% cardiovascular disease; 26% cancer
    Labs: 15% musculoskeletal disease; 34% cancer
    Rough Collies: not included in this study
    Frenchies: not included in this study

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 25, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  36. “Interestingly, the relative frequency of cancer peaked in the age group that included ten-year-old dogs, then declined within the oldest age group.”

    This is true of breast cancer in women also. If you get past a certain age, you’re less likely to have it.

    Comment by CathyA — April 26, 2011 @ 3:46 am

  37. Is the Siberian Husky included?

    Comment by Terri — April 26, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  38. Hi Terri- yes the Siberian Husky was included: 13% gastrointestinal disease and 30% cancer. Quite discouraging to see how much cancer shows up as the leading cause of death in virtually each and every breed studied. It would be interesting to see how this compares to causes of mortality in other countries.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 6:05 am

  39. Any chance Havanese were included? A fairly small population in this country.

    Too bad the detailed results aren’t available online.

    Comment by PN NJ — April 26, 2011 @ 6:50 am

  40. Were Rat Terriers listed in the study?

    Comment by Marcy — April 26, 2011 @ 7:06 am

  41. Were brittanys included?

    Comment by Rachel — April 26, 2011 @ 8:34 am

  42. Hi there,

    Neither Rat Terriers nor Havanese were included in this study.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 8:44 am

  43. Could the amount of cancer in household pets be due to the foods they are feed, or is it like most biological units, cells break down and go haywire?

    Thanks.

    Comment by Gail Ogden — April 26, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  44. I would like to know about poodle toy. Do you have some information? My poodle died from breast cancer.

    Comment by Sofia — April 26, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  45. Here is some information from the study pertaining to Toy Poodles and Brittany Spaniels:

    Toy Poodles:16% neurological disease; 12% trauma
    Brittany Spaniels: 13% musculoskeletal disease; 27% cancer

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  46. Believe it or not, of the 82 breeds studied, cancer was not the leading cause of death in only 11 of them! In response to Gail’s question about what causes cancer, we truly don’t understand the underlying cause in the vast majority of cases diagnosed. Clearly, in some breeds (as mentioned in the article) the cancer seems to be genetically pre-programmed. By the way, Flat-Coated Retrievers were not included in the study (sorry Gina), but they are another breed in which cancer appears to be an inherited trait. As to what may be causing so much cancer- could it be the food, could it be environmental carcinogens, could it be genetic predisposition, or perhaps a combination of all of the above. We do know that cancer is more common in dogs and cats with exposure to second hand smoke (yet another good reason for smokers to give up the habit).

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  47. Did they include the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis?

    Comment by Claire — April 26, 2011 @ 9:56 am

  48. Sorry, but not a valid study- it should be titled “Mortality of dogs in North American Veterinary School Hospitals” as it does not include anything but the serious cases that end up at the 27 NA Veterinary teaching hospitals. What about all the dogs that die at their local vet’s because, due to one reason or another -age, cost, locale- the dog is not referred to a vet hospital? Naturally it makes things like disk disease in Dachshunds look high- those go to the vet school. Cancers? Sure. Things your local vet can easily treat or diagnose would be under-represented.

    Comment by Bobbie Mayer — April 26, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  49. Were Chinese Shar Pei included in the study? Cancer seems to run rampant through the breed unfortunately.

    Comment by francine — April 26, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  50. Is there anyway to get a copy of this study?

    Can you tell me what they had to say about French Bulldogs?

    Thank you.

    Comment by Linda — April 26, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  51. Anything on Vizsla or Hungarian Vizsla as they are known in most of the world?

    Comment by Sherryanne — April 26, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  52. I just downloaded the pdf here
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x/pdf

    Hopefully that link works for you. If not, I got to it by clicking on Dr. Nancy’s link above, went to the top right icon that says “full text online”, found the icon for the pdf download (middle of the page to the right) and clicked on that. Save to desktop and you are all set :)

    Comment by Laura B — April 26, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  53. What did it say about Goldens?

    Comment by Lynn — April 26, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  54. Great sleuthing Laura B. Thank you!!

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  55. In case you are unable to access the site provided by Laura B (see above) here is the information about the breeds you asked about:

    Chinese Shar Pei: 20% gastrointestinal disease; 30% cancer
    Vizsla: 14% respiratory tract disease; 36% cancer
    Pembroke Welsh Corgi: 16% neurological disease; 30% cancer
    Cardigan Welsh Corgi: 17% neurological disease; 22% cancer

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  56. Hi Bobbie,

    Your points are well taken. The authors of the study issue forth several disclaimers including acceptance of the “breed” as reported by the owner even if a mixed breed was suspected. The authors stated, “Each VTH (Veterinary Teaching Hospital) manages a patient population derived from its geographic location, with little overlap among their constituent areas. Breed preferences, as well as disease prevalence, vary among discrete regional populations.”

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  57. Anything on Norwegian lundehunds?

    Comment by Karen — April 26, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  58. Standard Poodles?
    Wire Fox Terriers? Were Smooth Fox Terriers ? Were the two listed as one breed or studied separately?

    Comment by Diane R. — April 26, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  59. “Only breeds represented by [greater than or equal to] 100 individuals are shown.”
    So it’s not that they discriminated, they just didn’t get enough information on other breeds.

    Also, they do have “dutch pug” listed. Whatever that is, they did get over 100 of them, so I’d imagine that’s what they’re calling regular pugs, unless there is a large percentage of “dutch” pugs visiting school hospitals. Odd.

    I bet they merged smooth and rough collies into “collie”… it probably doesn’t make a HUGE difference in mortality causes.

    Comment by Melissa Duffy — April 26, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  60. As sort of a follow up though on Dr. Kay’s article is that it may cause folks to think what we can do for our dogs.

    Inquire in the breed who is actively involved in pre mating DNA screening tests, for example in Aussies, CEA, prcdPRA, HSF4-HC, MDR1. Who runs OFA hips and elbows, and the results published in the OFA Open Database. Who has run PennHIP imaging and analysis with results available to all.

    Then offer hope for the future generations by donating to the great organizations like Morris Animal Foundation, Canine Health Foundation, the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Toby’s Foundation (epilepsy) and to the regional research facilities like Breenlab and UMinn. etc.

    Comment by Bill Dakin — April 26, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  61. @ CathyA – “This is true of breast cancer in women also. If you get past a certain age, you’re less likely to have it.”

    Less likely to have it? Or more likely to have died of something else prior to breast cancer being diagnosed?

    @Bobbie Mayer – “… it should be titled “Mortality of dogs in North American Veterinary School Hospitals” as it does not include anything but the serious cases that end up at the 27 NA Veterinary teaching hospitals. What about all the dogs that die at their local vet’s because, due to one reason or another -age, cost, locale- the dog is not referred to a vet hospital? Naturally it makes things like disk disease in Dachshunds look high- those go to the vet school. Cancers? Sure. Things your local vet can easily treat or diagnose would be under-represented.”

    I agree that the study is mis-titled, and for exactly the reason that Bobbie stated. Thanks for this observation. If it were true that 40% of dachshunds die because of IVDD, I would have people lined up at my door asking me to pick their lottery numbers. I have bred dachshunds for 40+ years and have NEVER had a dog with IVDD. I certainly don’t believe my dogs are immune, this curse could appear at any time with no apparent triggering event. Thoughtful breeding and attention to dog health has surely been a factor, along with luck, but of dachshunds that belong to people I know, only a handful of dog deaths have been IVDD-related.

    Comment by elaine — April 26, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  62. I wonder if the neurological disease deaths for Cardis and Pems are DM OR IVDD?

    Comment by Claire — April 26, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  63. What about golden retrievers. I did not see mention of them here. I have a healthy 10 yr old golden.

    Comment by Liz Rizzo — April 26, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  64. For those of you interested in genetic health and your respective breed, the OFA has breed health surveys available at http://www.offa.org/surveys/

    Not every breed is available; breed clubs contact the OFA when they want a health survey and the OFA works with the breed club on formulating survey questions/answers specific to that breed (so, for instance, there are a lot of cancer questions in the Golden survey, and deafness questions in the Boston Terrier survey).

    While of course results are anecdotal since these are self-reported, the data is still pretty interesting to look at. Breed clubs can use this data to keep tabs on what is happening in the breed, identify trends they may not have known about, and help figure out where their research dollars need to go. If you have a breed with a survey you can click on “results” to see aggregate numbers of respondent answers.

    If your breed is not represented, you can contact the breed club and see if it’s something they are planning (this is a free service the OFA offers to breed clubs).

    Also as kind of a side note, the OFA has what I believe to be the most current and comprehensive listing of available DNA tests for dogs, sortable by breed, test, and laboratory offering that test. New developments and tests are coming online very rapidly.

    Comment by Robin — April 26, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  65. Is there anywhere in the study that points to the cause of these varioius system failures? In particular, I am wondering if they can tell how often dogs die from complications from tick-borne diseases which can affect all the systems mentioned?

    Comment by Jan Pauly-Bray — April 26, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  66. I can’t believe there were no pugs in the study… but maybe this means we’re immortal. Y’know, like cockroaches? Can’t wait to share this news on my blog!

    Comment by Puglet — April 26, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  67. Dr Kay ~

    I just looked at the pdf of the study. Looks like pugs are listed as ‘Dutch Pugs’.

    So much for immortality….

    Comment by Puglet — April 26, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  68. Unfortunately, this study does not present information that is more specific than the types of numbers I’ve posted. For example, as Claire questioned, it would be fascinating to know if the more common neurological disease diagnosed in Corgis is intervertebral disk disease or degenerative myelopathy. This study simply doesn’t take it that far. For those of you who asked about other breed-specific data, here they are:

    Golden Retrievers: 15% hematologic disease; 50% cancer
    Fox Terriers (doesn’t specify smooth vs wirehaired): 16% cardiovascular disease; 24% cancer
    Norwegian Lundehunds: not included in this study

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  69. per Puglet’s comment- I’ve never heard of a Dutch Pug! Is this the same breed we commonly refer to as the plain and simple Pug?

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  70. What about boxers?

    Comment by Kim — April 26, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  71. Hi Kim,

    In this study, 18% of Boxers died with neurological disease and the incidence of cancer in Boxers within the study population was 44%.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 26, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  72. Melissa – re Rough/smooth collies – in the US, the two varieties are interbred to a very significant portion- there are plenty of roughs with rough-only pedigrees but the same isnt’ true for smooths.

    There *is* a downside to breed-specific profiling. It can make it harder to get a vet to really LOOK at a problem. I swapped vets in 2007 (during the food recall) when my vet insisted that Mal’s gastro issues were just the result of him being a collie.

    Comment by Cait — April 27, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  73. anything on spinone italiano?

    Comment by andie — April 27, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  74. Great point Cait- all too easy for veterinarians to wear blinders when breed profiling, the same way people can wear blinders when racial profiling.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 27, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  75. Sorry, no Spinones in the study!

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — April 27, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  76. I wish this study had included an average age for each of the breeds, something more than anecdotal. Isn’t that hugely related to mortality and widely varying among breeds?

    They obviously had approximate ages in order to show that longer living dogs had a lower cancer rate.

    Comment by Melissa Duffy — April 29, 2011 @ 7:15 pm

  77. On a more positive note :
    Did the study indicate the healthiest ,longest living dogs?How about healthiest mixed breeds?

    Comment by David Samer — April 30, 2011 @ 12:01 am

  78. You can look at http://users.pullman.com/lostriver/breeddata.htm under the vet school data column. They make use of the same database although that study uses data from 1980-1990 while this study uses data from 1984-2004.

    Comment by dodo — April 30, 2011 @ 3:25 am

  79. any studies on yorkshire terriers?

    Comment by D. Brooks — May 5, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  80. This is a great “explainer” about the study, I’m glad I finally found it. I noticed that Cardigan Welsh Corgis were among the “top five” breeds whose reason for death was infectious disease. I’m not putting it right, I’m sure. Top five makes it sound like an honor, but in general does this indicate that these breeds are more likely to die from an infectious disease or just that more dogs of this breed in this study died of infectious diseases than other breeds or that these breeds are relatively free of the other diseases so more often die of something infectious or …. or what? It’s wonderful to have access to knowledgeable vets who understand statistics. (And Dr. Kay, your book is GREAT. Thank you.)

    Comment by Layne Evans — May 13, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

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