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Research Grant Policy and Procedures


The Golden Retriever Foundation actively seeks opportunities to fund health studies that further the understanding of diseases, genetic defects, injuries and other ailments that afflict dogs in general and Golden Retrievers in particular. Since its inception, the GRF has awarded health related grants exceeding a total of $880,000. By working with the Canine Health Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation, expenses are often shared with other breed clubs that have a vested interest in similar health issues.

The funding process begins in the hands of research scientists when they apply directly to the CHF or MAF for financial support in the form of grants. Once one of these organizations approves a proposal through their own rigorous process, those that focus on Goldens or diseases that affect our breed may be forwarded to the Golden Retriever Foundation for funding consideration. The GRF relies on the expert advice and counsel of the GRCA’s Health and Genetics Committee, chaired by Ann Hubbs, DVM, PhD. This committee evaluates the proposal and summarizes its strengths and weaknesses based on several criteria, including relevance to Golden Retrievers, strength of the preliminary data, abilities of the researchers and quality of the facilities, scientific approach, and the strength of the hypothesis. Based heavily upon the committee’s recommendations, GRF completes the process by approving or declining funds to support the grant.

Two notable research projects that are currently being funded in part by GRF grants are noted below. Please visit the Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation websites, as well as the links to CHF and MAF grant projects on this page. We welcome research professionals to contact us with questions in regard to the grant policy and process.

The MADGiC Study

Principal Investigators: Drs. Jaime F. Modiano (NC State University), Matthew Breen (Univ of Minnesota) and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Co-sponsors: Golden Retriever Foundation & Morris Animal Foundation; American Spaniel Club Foundation; Flat-Coated Retriever Foundation

Hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma account for more than 30 percent of the deaths of Golden Retrievers. Although breed susceptibility to cancer was first reported 30 years ago, the relationship between inherited traits and susceptibility for these cancers is still not known. The Golden Retriever Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation are funding MADGiC (Making Advanced Discoveries in Golden Cancers), a study that aims to discover and characterize heritable and somatic cancer mutations in Goldens. The three-year, $1 million project will examine heritable (genetic) traits that contribute to risk and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in the breed. The long-term goal is to understand what causes these diseases. The development of reliable genetic tests would allow breeders to avoid high-risk combinations of factors. In addition, effective strategies could be developed to control and treat hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in Golden Retrievers and other dogs, and as importantly, what is learned from this research also may be applicable to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies for these diseases in people.

Treatment of Canine Allergy

Principal Investigator: Dr. Bruce Hammerberg, DVM PhD (NC State University)

Treatment of chronic allergic diseases in dogs, often seen as recurring dermatitis, frequently results in less than optimal outcomes. Goldens are particularly susceptible to allergies and the all too common “hot spot”. When the disease can be linked to exposure to specific allergens, desensitization injections can be effective in some individuals when carried out over an extended time; however, most cases are not resolved by desensitization and require a combination of allergen avoidance and anti-inflammatory drugs. The prolonged use of these drugs, such as corticosteroids, can result in severe side effects. These same challenges exist for human allergy suffers, but recently there has been a major breakthrough in the development of a new, safe and effective therapy. There are two obstacles remaining in providing the canine equivalent for treatment of allergies in dogs and they are the Objectives of this proposal. The expected outcome will be to provide a new, safe and highly effective treatment option for canine allergic diseases that is affordable to use for maintenance therapy.

Detailed information regarding all canine health studies to which the GRF has contributed may be found in the CHF and MAF grant summaries.

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