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From tip to tail
Veterinarians at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals are looking for healthy Labrador retrievers whose owners would like them to undergo a free health screening. Eligible dogs must be at least 8 years of age, AKC-registered (or have a pedigree available), be available to spend the day at the Hospital, and have been certified as healthy by their veterinarian.
The physical screening will include a general physical examination, behavioral assessment, body measurements, complete blood count and chemistry panels, urinalysis, nutritional consultation, environmental factor screening for conditions that predispose to cancer, as well as orthopedic, oncological, ophthalmological, neurological, and cardiological examinations.
"Our black Labrador, Rod, is more than a pet," said Bev Millheim, whose Labrador was an early participant in the project. "He is a competitive field trial retriever as well as a family member. We'd be lost without him. We believe his DNA and the expertise of Cornell will help another pet stay healthy and also improve the future of the Labrador breed."
The results of the tests will be shared with the referring veterinarian and will be added to the Hospital's DNA Bank, which holds more than 4000 samples from animals with various conditions. The healthy DNA collected from these Labradors will provide a control group of "unaffected" dogs for gene discovery of multiple diseases of interest.
"The DNA obtained from the dogs in the screening program will be used in research that links health conditions to genetic abnormalities," said Dr. Marta Castelhano, research associate and the principal investigator for this project. "Because the animals' health status is documented so thoroughly during the screening, multiple researchers will be able to use the DNA collected for genetic studies that may be investigating anything from novel treatments to cures. The animals that participate in this program will be helping to improve the quality of life for future generations of Labradors."