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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Chubby Golden Retriever Has Less Cancer Protection

Updated: October 1st, 2018

Golden Retriever Cancer risksI was talking to one of my clients today in the exam room.  She owns an awesome Golden Retriever named Baloo.   Like his namesake in the movie “The Jungle Book,” Baloo is happy, friendly, goofy and….chubby.

I started telling Baloo’s owner about the cancer rate in the breed. It is estimated that around 2/3 to 3/4 of all deaths in Goldens are due to cancer.  This is the effect of breeding over many generations.  Very, very scary  stats if you own a Golden Retriever.  Lymphosarcoma (a white cell cancer), osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and hemangiosarcoma (usually in the spleen) are common cancers they get, but others are possible too.

So here we have a Golden, one of the big cancer breeds, and he is getting fat.  I couldn’t even feel his ribs when I pressed on the side of his chest.  His owner told me his brother is 100 lbs…just big boned, you know…

Too much food, not enough exercise…and another cancer risk is created.  Most of us know naturally that a lot of body fat is not healthy.  But cancer in dogs?? Yep, it increases odds. Turns out that fat cells secrete a substance called adiponectin. Adiponectin has a cancer protective effect.  So more fat, more protection, right?? Wrong.

Adiponectin is released only in very small amounts if there is STORAGE of fat, in overweight dogs. When fat is getting BURNED, adiponectin is released.  Lean animals secrete more adiponectin than chubby ones.

So the take home message is that exercise and good body condition lower odds of cancer and this applies to dogs. Hate to sound like a broken record, nag nag, but true.  So get outside and get your dog’s adiponectin up.

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. Jana Rade on June 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, so it’s that how it works? The adiponectin is released when fat is being burned?

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