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Golden Retrievers Have a Higher Risk for Cancer but It's Not Inevitable, Here's Why

Despite what appears to be a genetic predisposition to cancer, some goldens live to be 16 years old. Researchers set out to determine if a longevity gene exists and this is what they found.

longevity gene in golden retrievers


  • Golden retrievers have a high risk of cancer, with up to 65% dying from the disease
  • Researchers compared DNA from golden retrievers at the age of 14 with DNA from dogs who died before 12 years
  • Dogs with certain variants of the HER4 gene lived longer — an average of 13.5 years compared to 11.6 years
  • HER4 belongs to the same family as HER2 in humans, which is known to accelerate cancer growth; but it may also play a role in longevity
  • Cancer isn’t an inevitable outcome for any dog, including golden retrievers; team up with an integrative or holistic veterinarian and/or an integrative veterinary oncologist who can guide you on healthy lifestyle choices to minimize cancer risk

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