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Old 12-05-2008, 10:19 AM
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How do I escape the Gold Rush line?

First, a little background.

My wife and I have had three dogs from Gold Rush. They are beautiful, smart, awesome dogs.

However, I am beginning to wonder whether they are cursed to die young of cancer. Maybe we have just been unlucky, but our first dog, Charlie, died at 8 years due to lung cancer. Our second dog, Savannah, just passed away last night due to hemangiosarcoma. She was almost 8 years old. I can only hope our remaining golden from Gold Rush escapes this fate.

Now, I understand statistics, and I understand that 60% of goldens die due to cancer and that the median life span for goldens is about 10.5 years. So there is about a 10% chance that I could have two dogs that die at less than the median age due to cancer.

So, am I just unlucky or is the Gold Rush line at higher risk of dying early due to cancer? Is the probability of a Gold Rush dog dying due to cancer essentially much higher than for the breed as a whole?

I have heard a lot of stories about Gold Rush dogs dying due to cancer, but with 60% of the breed dying due to cancer and Gold Rush being the biggest breeder in NJ, this alone is not surprising.

Regardless, though, I don't think I am willing to take the risk.

Now, living in NJ am I basically going to find that all the breeders around here have some Gold Rush in them? Do I need to essentially parachute into the West Coast and get a Golden from there? Does anybody know a breeder close to Northern NJ that has a non-Gold Rush line?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Including names of any breeders anywhere that could perhaps have longer living dogs.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:21 AM
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welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear about your girl. RIP sweet Savannah.

I was concerned about that 60% cancer risk too, my vet explained (much better than I can) that yes, goldens do have a higher rate of cancer, but the % is greatly inflated due to the great number of goldens. consider how many more goldens are born compared to other breeds...
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:28 AM
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I'm sure you'll find the names of some good Breeders in your area that are 'Gold Rush' free once others chime in. I'm sorry about loosing your Golden's at such a youngish age. I lost Sam at 12 years, not long enough for me either. Good luck finding your next pup. Maybe some of our Breeders will see this and have an answer for you.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:27 AM
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The genetic components of cancer aren't well understood at all, so it may not be something that can be bred out of the dogs. Even if there are strong genetic factors that could be bred for, any one breeder's dogs don't comprise a large enough statistical sampling to provide definitive or even strong proof that there's cancer in a line or not in a line.

It may be true that an individual breeder has had relatively low incidences of cancer in his or her dogs, but it's not statistical proof that the breeder's dogs won't die of cancer or even that they are less likely.

Overall longevity in the ancestry of a perspective dog is worth looking at, but the common cancers aren't something you can really avoid by studying heredity at this point.

That said, there's no reason not to change up breeders. I'm from CT, and I got my dogs in Maine and NY, so if you're willing to drive, there are some AWESOME breeders to be found in New England. Educate yourself on what makes a great breeder and interview them and inspect their facilities yourself. Some of the best can only be found by word of mouth, not on the web. And good luck!
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:03 PM
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Are you familiar with Rhonda Hovan, the breeder of the Faera line of goldens? She is very well known for her research and work to learn about and fight cancer in goldens. Thru her "Starlight Fund" she has donated I believe over $40,000 to research for cancer in goldens.
Here's a link to one of her articles, which is on the UC Davis website. I suggest you read about Rhonda, then click the pdf link for her article about cancer. It's very informative.
http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/CCAH/c...retrievers.cfm
and here is a short piece of her email to me when I inquired about cancer in her line, the Faera dogs:
"...As you will see, cancer in Goldens is widespread, not only in the US, but around the world. There are no lines that have been identified as having a greater or lesser incidence, and thus far, such claims have always been shown to be inaccurate when data is gathered. Specifically, Faera dogs seem to be affected at no higher or lower rate than the rest of the breed. And yes, Star is alive and well at 9 years old (although in all honesty, this has no direct bearing on your dog's predicted longevity.)
I hope this will help to answer some of your questions, and perhaps you can also help to educate others with the facts instead of rumor. It is important for breeders to understand that we are all in this together, and to help us by supporting research instead of trying to make us adversaries by pointing fingers...."
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:28 PM
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In humans, some cancers have been shown to be genetic so it could be possible in goldens. Especially when our breed is so prone. I would go with another breeder who has had no dogs so far develop cancer. No one can predict the future but after having two dogs die from it, I would surely take every precaution if I were you.

I have been lucky so far and hope I am not jinxing myself I've had three goldens live to 12,14 and 12, none died from cancer. Selka and Gunner are 9 and 5 and we chose a breeder with no history of cancer in either dam or sire's pedigree and with longevity. Selka's dad lived to just shy of 17!
But shortly after we got Gunner their maternal grandmother developed cancer at age 11 and I can't recall what kind or how long after she lived. I think she was PTS.
I am praying that was a fluke.
Good Luck. There are many wonderful breeders on the east coast and I am sure many don't have Goldrush lines. Delmarva from GRF is in Maryland. Their goldens are extraordinary! I think they have a long waiting list.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:37 PM
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Hello and welcome! So glad you found us. I am sorry about the loss of your Charlie and most recently, Savannah. I got my first golden from a breeder in NJ (who no longer breeds) and he had Gold Rush in his ancestry. He died of Lymphoma at just under 11 years of age. Even though that is near the average...losing a golden at any age is difficult to say the least. We got our current golden Jester from a breeder in central NY. Even though I feel like I did my homework about buying a new puppy the cancer statistics still weigh heavy on my mind. I feel that you just have to hope for the best and in the meantime enjoy every single moment these sweet angels have to give during their all too brief time with us on this earth.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:13 PM
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I am so very sorry for your losses of your beloved companions. I completely understand your desire to avoid that pain again. I hope you find what you are looking for in your next pup.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:42 PM
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I can't believe what you have been through with the loss of your precious dogs, and my heart goes out to you.

K9data.com is partially helpful in checking the lines of future pups for longevity, and it is a tool that will help you find your pup. Unfortunately, many causes of death and death dates are not recorded, but quite a few are. You can ask the prospective breeder directly to fill in dogs you cant find information about.

There is no doubt many cancers have a genetic component in dogs and humans. Raleigh's oncologist told me that, in choosing a puppy, dogs in the background who suffer cancer before age 7 are especially statistically significant bc then it is not a disease of older age past nature's reproductive period, but a prime of life cancer with grave implications for offspring. My vet thinks Boxers,Bernese MT dogs, and Goldens do have a higher propensity for 4 types of cancer than other breeds they see frequently or mixed breeds.

There are several threads here about Gold Rush- both for and against the efforts of that influential kennel to address the cancer issue. You can read them by searching. Since it's a sensitive topic for several people, I'm not going to comment.

I do know I went way too far in the other direction as a knee-jerk reaction to losing Raleigh to hemangiosarcoma. I looked fanatically for a very outcrossed breeding with no cancer in the pedigree in a dog under ten - however, I sacrificed orthopedics and conformation in exchange. Next time, I hope to be more balanced in looking for a pup who, yes, has longevity in parents& grandparents and their littermates, but also has a breeder who knows their lines through and through and through on both sides. I just considered a beautiful first pick puppy, but then there were too many young deaths for me to feel comfortable.

I want to second Hotel4Dogs' commendation of Rhonda Hovan's kindness and work ethic revolving around cancer prevention in goldens. She took the time to write me two detailed emails about what she herself does concretely with the Faera dogs now- things studied and things promising but not yet proven. I dont want to quote it here without her explicit permission, but I will email and ask if I can. Tally is Starlight and Future Classic, and QB is linebred on Thunder. A few things: keeping dogs lean, buffered 81 asprin daily with a stomach guard, vitamin D, good tick&flea prevention, age of neutering, low carbs (one theory is cancer feeds on carbs)no golf courses/lawn chemicals seem promising to at least help. My vet believes the low dose asprin will one day be recommended for cancer-prone breeds, but right now there is too much risk of stomach bleeding and no definitive proof.

Whenever I get too worried, I like to think about my golden Joplin who lived, basically, forever. And about dogs like Benjamin (http://www.everythinggolden.com/new_page_131.htm )who saw 16. It does happen that goldens from familiar lines to thrive into the oldest of old age.
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:03 PM
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My vet decided against a golden because their health is so bad,even though she loves them.She,also,said,it was the most common breed seen at the vet for allergy and cancer!.Instead,she went for a poodle!.
GoldenRush being such a large breeder will automatically have more cancer and health problems than a smaller breeder but she does have beautiful dogs!.When I lived in NJ,most of the goldens,I met, came from her!.
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