Researchers investigate common risk factors that can contribute to disease in humans and their pets

An article in Scientific American says that researchers are now looking into common risk factors for diseases that pets and their owners share. No, they don’t mean zoonotic diseases — think obesity, cancer, and diabetes instead.

Researchers believe environmental factors and pollutants may have something to do with higher incidences of pets developing diseases like lymphoma. They’re investigating lawn chemicals and household chemicals as possible factors, and hope to find some answers about the causes of disease through the Canine Lifetime Health Project, in which 3,000 golden retrievers will be studied for their entire lives to determine risk factors for cancer and other diseases.

“The opportunity will be quite seminal and transformative in terms of exposure science, because it will offer a new set of data with which to evaluate similarities with human exposure data,” said Rodney Page, director of the Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center, in Scientific American.

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