DogRisk – A research program about nutritional, environmental and genetic factors behind canine diseases as well as Cancer detection dogs

In December 2009 The DogRisk Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) was launched onto the internet. It was developed by PI Anna Hielm-Björkman at the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, together with microbiologist Shea Beasley. The idea was to get a longitudinal “snap shot” of what dogs had been eating, where they had lived, how active they had been, their fenotype and their diseases. The idea is that we can see what dogs have been eating and where and how they have lived, prior to getting a disease. The FFQ also contains a lot of covariates so that we can model the disease and environment/diet associations.

The aim of this survey is to find possibly true cause effect relationships and then to test them in future diet interventions.

On top of this there is a lot of interesting data for the industry, as we can see what dog owners buy and use for their dogs. How does the “Standard dog of Finland” live? How do we feed our dogs, walk and train them, what kind of recommendations do breeders give, how are dogs vaccinated and de-wormed, how often do they get sick and what are the diseases they suffer from? There are over 12 000 answers already. Unfortunately, up till now you can only fill in the survey in Finnish language.

So, the impact of the diet and other environmental factors on diseases in dogs is the first aim of the DogRisk project. We also want to collect as many dogs as possible so that we can use it when we are searching patients to new clinical studies.

The first clinical study in the DogRisk program was the food trial in 2013-2014. In this trial we studied atopy and allergies in Staffordshire Bull Terriers and how these diseases are affected by nutrition, genes and metabolism. As we have had a hard time to get funded, nearly nothing is yet published. The posters that we have presented at kongresses can be seen under the page Posters and the Published articles under the page Publications.

Enjoy diving into research with us!

The DogRisk team