meet petplan’s newest blogger: dr. david haworth

Posted by Morris Animal Foundation on Nov 25 2013

My name is David Haworth and I’m thrilled to be the newest blogger for Petplan pet insurance.

Like you, I am an avid animal lover and as such, I’ve experienced firsthand the power of animals to make the world a better place. My family wouldn’t be complete without Bella, our chocolate Lab, and Bridger, our Golden Retriever puppy.

I’m also a veterinarian and a former researcher. Because of my background, I truly believe that science is the best way we can solve health problems in pets. It was my love for both animals and science that brought me to Morris Animal Foundation as its president and CEO two-and-a-half years ago.

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Petplan has been a wonderful partner of the Foundation’s since 2010. If you read fetch! magazine, you may be familiar with the articles about veterinary science that our staff has written for the past few years. In this first post, I’d like to tell you a bit more about who Morris Animal Foundation is and why we exist.

The research Morris Animal Foundation funds helps animals live longer and improves their quality of life. When the Foundation began 65 years ago, it was the only organization supporting health studies that were solely to benefit animals—not people. Even today, so many decades later, we remain one of the few sources of funding for research that is specific to helping cats, dogs, horses and wildlife species.

Medical breakthroughs and scientific discoveries are revolutionizing health care for animals. Like humans, animals face illnesses and diseases with no known preventions, treatments or cures. Even for conditions that have treatments, there is always room for improvement.

Morris Animal Foundation provides funding to scientists around the world who are trying to solve these medical mysteries. These projects are rigorously vetted by our scientific advisory boards, which comprise veterinary research experts who volunteer about 100 hours a piece each year to review proposals submitted to us. Through my blog postings, I hope to share with you some of the cutting-edge research that is taking place.

One of the most exciting projects underway right now is the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. In one of her October posts, Dr. Kim Smith talked about the genetics of canine cancer, and she mentioned this project. I am admittedly a bit biased, but to me this will be the most significant study ever conducted in veterinary medicine. With 3,000 dogs participating for their entire lives, this project is definitely the largest and longest to ever take place to improve canine health.

Dedicated dog owners are enrolling their Golden Retrievers and enlisting the help of their veterinarians to provide Morris Animal Foundation with annual health data along with genetic information and observational nutritional and environmental data.

As these dogs grow from puppyhood to adulthood, the data collected through health exams and simple hair, urine and blood samples will help us figure out how to prevent and treat cancer and other canine diseases. What we learn could significant change how veterinarians care for dogs. In addition, we may gain insights into how cancer and other diseases affect other species and humans.

More than 800 dogs from around the county are already enrolled in the study. I encourage all dog lovers to learn more at—or better yet, enroll your Golden Retriever today! Keep an eye out for the next issue of fetch! – due in homes later this month – for more information about the study.

In future posts, I’ll provide more information about studies we’re funding to help other species. I look forward to your feedback.

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