he sizes of dogs impact the future development of certain adverse health conditions, as revealed by a study from the University of Washington in the United States, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The research examined over 25,000 American dogs of 238 breeds, correlating the size of the dog with various risk patterns related to the development of critical health events over the animal’s lifespan.
To delve deeper into knowledge on this topic, Yunbi Nam from the University of Washington and colleagues analyzed data from a survey of 27,541 dogs reported by those who own a four-legged friend participating in the ongoing Dog Aging Project. Overall, larger dogs showed higher probabilities of encountering certain types of health conditions at some point in their lives, including cancer, bone-related diseases, gastrointestinal issues, ear, nose, throat, neurological and endocrine conditions, and infectious diseases. Smaller dogs, on the other hand, had higher probabilities of suffering from ocular, cardiac, liver, pancreas, and respiratory diseases.
The story of kidney and urinary diseases did not significantly differ between larger and smaller dogs. For many types of pathologies, including cancer, ocular, cardiac, orthopedic, ear, nose, throat diseases, the different sizes of dogs were associated with different risk patterns over the dog’s lifespan.
The results remained unchanged even after researchers statistically accounted for the dogs’ gender, living location, and whether they were of pure or mixed breed. Scientists emphasize that this study does not confirm any causal relationship between the size of the dog, age, and diseases. However, the results could help better understand the types of conditions that may underlie the shorter lifespan of larger dogs.
For instance, within the explored disease categories in this study, future research could focus on age and size patterns associated with specific conditions. “The results provide insights into the categories of diseases that may contribute to the reduced lifespan in larger-sized dogs and suggest multiple avenues for further exploration,” stated the authors.