Express Scripts studying cancer that affects Golden Retrievers

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Gus and Gigi may not know it, but their owners Sue and Doug Hippler are trying to help Golden Retrievers everywhere.

"We just thought since we had lost one it would be a good idea to see if we can make some positive inroads to a disease that affects Goldens rather frequently," says Doug Hippler.

Their Golden Retriever Ginger died from cancer, which is common in this breed.

"Over time, 63% of them will develop cancer," says Catherine Sigler the senior director of epidemiology for United Bio source Corporation.  "They're more affected by a particular cancer called hemangiosarcoma." 

The reasons could be anything from nutrition to genetics or even environment.

Which is why United Bio source Corporation, a subsidiary of Express Scripts, is going to study 3,000 Goldens for the next 14 years.

"We were actually the founders of many of this type of studies in prescription drug use," says Sigler.  "We took that type of machinery and applied it to the Golden Retriever population."

The observational study will use statistical data to make gathering the Golden info easier for veterinarians and their owners.

The implications could be important for both man, and his best friends.

"You might think that a dog could be a sentinel, an early sentinel for what might be an important exposure in humans," says Sigler.

After all, these dogs share some good qualities, so extending their quality of life makes sense for the Hipplers.

"They're smart, and they're fun loving, they love children, and they love people," says Sue Hippler.  "This one is relaxed right now."

Call it a golden study with a silver lining.

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