It’s a Dog’s Life: Doggy Database Aims to Define Pet Health

Australia is a nation of pet lovers — but what do we know about the health of our pets? To date the long term (longitudinal) study of canine diseases has been patchy, relying on information from referral centres. Details about pet illnesses, which are not reported to a vet, have never been studied before.

An internet-based project ( was organized in conjunction with the Kennel Club in the UK. From the 1st July 2010 the owners of all Labrador Retrievers born after 1st January 2010 and registered with the Kennel Club in the UK were invited to be part of the project. In the first year of the study 1407 dogs were enrolled in the study.

Early results to come out of this study show that four out of ten of all dogs were ill at some point. Analyzing the data, the researchers estimated that about 80% of dogs had been ill by the time they were one year old — but that only half were considered by their owners to be ill enough to need to visit the vet.

Discussing the project, Dr Dylan Clements from the University of Edinburgh, and lead author of the study said, “We hope to follow the health of these dogs throughout their lives so that we can identify aspects of care which might reduce the risk of dogs developing disease in the future.”

The Labrador is a very popular dog in the Canberra / Queanbeyan region and with over 80% sick in the first year – I think I would look at Pet Insurance!