Calls for Bichon Frise DNA Samples

Skin Allergies:  Dr. Bruce Hammerberg at North Caroline State University is trying to develop an assay (blood test) for prediction of risk of atopic dermatitis (skin allergies) in dogs, a debilitating disease that is the #1 health problem in Bichons. The mast cells in the skin are mainly responsible for itching and skin damage seen in atopic dermatitis. Dr. Hammerberg has discovered that mast cells in atopic dogs release significantly more inflammatory mediators than the mast cells in normal dogs. He hopes to identify an inherited difference in atopic dogs, which can predict the risk of developing atopic dermatitis. Dr. Hammerberg is requesting our assistance in sending blood samples via your veterinarian from Bichons with a diagnosis of allergies and the parents, if possible. If you can help, contact him via email at Bruce_Hammerberg@ncsu.edu or phone 919-513-7712 for more details.

Liver shunt or microvascular dysplasia:  Dr. Sharon Center, a Professor of Internal Medicine at Cornell University is conducting a study to find genes responsible for a fairly common congenital liver condition in small breed dogs. This condition causes the circulation of blood through the liver to be re-routed either on a microscopic level (hepatic microvascular dysplasia [MVD]or through an actual large shunting vessel [portosystemic shunt or portosystemic vascular anomaly, PSVA]. The microscopic problem (MVD) is most common and when present, 95% of dogs have absolutely no health problem. Work at Cornell has determined that the more severe condition (large shunt, PSVA) and the microscopic problem (MVD) are genetically related. Dr. Center is trying to develop a test to eliminate the trait in small breed dogs. The common occurrence of the PSVA/MVD trait in many small breed dogs suggests that it represents an ancient dog mutation that preceded segregation of the small dog breeds. We are making a call to the Bichon group on behalf of Dr. Center for breed enthusiasts that would like to participate in the project. We do encounter Bichon frise with PSVA and MVD. The Cornell study wants to investigate the prevalence of this trait in a large number of related dogs; this will determine if the trait in our breed has linkage to a specific chromosomal site already demonstrated in several other breeds. Ultimately, this study hopes to identify genetic markers that can be used to develop a practical genetic test for PSVA/MVD. Dr. Center needs some small blood samples from participating dogs. Paired Bile Acid samples (one sample collected before feeding, a second sample collected 2-hrs after feeding; and a sample of blood for DNA extraction. (Please note: mouth swabs do not provide sufficient DNA for discovery genetic work). The Bile Acid Test- measures liver function and circulation. Dogs with MVD (most common trait manifestation) and dogs with PSVA have serum bile acid concentrations > 25 umol/L (designated “affected”). Finding “affected” dogs has been common in many breeds, ranging from 30% to 80% in kindreds of different breeds. Dr. Center emphasizes that most dogs with high bile acids have MVD and usually have no health issues. Dogs with PSVA usually have very high Bile Acid values (> 100 umol/L) and are often stunted and episodically ill when young pups. If you wish to participate in this study, please send an email to Dr. Center (noted below). She wants to recruit participation of dogs with PSVA and families of dogs with 3 or more siblings, parents, and grandparents. She will call your veterinarian and discuss the needed samples and encourage their assistance. The serum bile acids for participating dogs will be measured in her laboratory at Cornell. She will provide owners with bile acid test results for their dog; this information is useful for your dog’s health record. All information is kept strictly confidential.
Dr. Center’s contact information:  sac6@cornell.edu or phone 607-253-3060

Hemangiosarcoma:  Dr. Chieki Azuma at Tufts University is researching the genetics of hemangiosarcoma, a rapidly growing malignant tumor of the lining of the blood vessels, which is increasing in incidence in Bichons. This devastating cancer often causes death in young dogs by rupture of the very vascular tumor, causing acute blood loss. You can read more about this deadly cancer on this site at www.bichonhealth.org/HealthInfo/Hemangiosarcoma. Dr. Azuma is requesting blood or swab DNA samples from Bichons diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma and older Bichons (>13 years of age) to serve as a control factor of normal dogs without this disease. To submit DNA for this research, complete the owner consent form “AZUMA-Consent” and review the instructions for blood samples “Azuma-Blood-Samples”.

Canine Genome Research at the Ostrander Lab:  The Ostrander Laboratory at the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH is soliciting donations of blood samples from purebred dogs for canine health research. Our aim to use these samples as part of a larger dataset used to find genes important in disease susceptibility and progression, as well as to understand the genetic basis of canine body shape and size. Our lab has active projects focused on finding genes for several types of cancer, hip dysplasia, addison’s disease, osteoarthritis and complex morphologic traits. Finally, we are interested in understanding the architecture of the canine genome and the historical relationships between breeds.

We are seeking 10-20 blood samples from “unrelated” dogs of each breed for inclusion in our studies. For the purposes of our research dogs are considered unrelated if they do not share any common parents or grandparents. In addition to a blood sample we ask that you provide the name and sex of the dog, AKC or other registration number, owner contact information, and a signed consent form.

In order to include your breed in our studies of canine morphology we are also seeking a set of body measurements. Measurements can be completed in about 10 minutes for most dogs and provide tremendously valuable data for our research. An instruction sheet is included with the blood draw kit as well as illustrations and a tape measure to make the process quick and easy.

If you would like to participate please contact Dana Mosher, Ostrander Lab Samples Manager, for a sampling kit by phone (301-451-9390) or email (mosherd@mail.nih.gov).  Each kit contains a one-page consent form, a pair of vials for collecting 5-10 cc of blood at your veterinarian’s office, and instructions for handling the blood. The collection kit comes in a small cardboard mailer tube that protects the blood vials. A return address label is included so that the forms and blood can be sent back to the lab conveniently. Blood can be mailed at room temperature without cold packs.

All genetic and contact information collected for each dog will remain confidential. Specifically, your participation in the study, your dog’s pedigree, health information you provide, and any data we get from your dog’s DNA sample will not be disclosed to any breeders, Club personnel, the AKC, or the AKC Canine Health Foundation.

Our work would not be possible without the participation of responsive owners and club members like you. If you have any questions please contact Dana Mosher, Ostrander Lab Samples Manager at mosherd@mail.nih.gov or (301) 451-9390. For information about the Canine Genome Project in the Ostrander lab and for links to recent publications, please visit our website at http://research.nhgri.nih.gov/dog_genome/.

We thank you all for supporting canine health research!

 

Calcium Oxalate Stones: Novel Mutations Associated with Calcium Oxalate Urolithiasis Risk in Dogs

Eva Furrow, VMS, PHD, University of Minnesota
Start Date: 10/1/2016, Projected Duration: 2 years

Summary: Researchers will investigate genetic mutations associated with increased risk for calcium oxalate urinary stones, a painful and common health problem in dogs.

Description: Urinary stones composed of calcium oxalate are a common problem in dogs. They can cause significant bladder irritation and lead to life-threatening urethral obstructions. Researchers discovered two genetic mutations strongly linked to calcium oxalate urinary stone formation in some dog breeds. In this follow-up study, the team will further evaluate these mutations in multiple breeds to confirm the mutations’ role in stone formation. Understanding the genetic basis of urinary stone formation in fundamental to developing new diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive strategies, including genetic testing. A genetic test would help inform breeding decisions and identify at-risk dogs that may benefit from regular stone screening, dietary changes or other medical interventions.
We are looking for certain breeds of dogs to help determine the genetic basis for developing calcium oxalate urinary stones. Your dog may be eligible if he/she:

● is a purebred Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier or Miniature Poodle
● has a history of calcium oxalate stones (Case group)

OR

● is at least 8 years old and has never had calcium oxalate stones (Control group)
● is not currently receiving any steroid medications (ex. prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone) or diuretics (ex. Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide)
● has never been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease

If you are interested in the study, please contact Dr. Furrow at 612-625-6222 or furro004@umn.edu or minork@unm.edu or 612-624-5322.
For more information on our Small Animal Medicine Department, please click here .