UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory


Canine Addison's Disease

Addison’s disease in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR) has a complicated presentation.  Dogs have been diagnosed as early as 7 weeks of age and as old as 11 years.  In some cases, other diseases are seen in conjunction with Addison’s disease like megaesophagus, hypothyroidism and eye problems.   The sequencing of the canine genome has made available some powerful new tools for the investigation of inherited diseases.  One of those sets of tools is SNP arrays that can test thousands of markers at one time.  Recently, Illumina inc. developed an expanded canine SNP array that can test 173,000 markers at once.  We utilized this array to investigate Addison’s disease in the NSDTR by comparing markers between affected and unaffected dogs.  A significantly associated chromosomal region was identified using this approach.  We have identified candidate causal mutations within the associated interval.  We are collecting samples from affected NSDTR to confirm this mutation as well as affected puppies from other breeds.  Please contact Danika Bannasch DVM PhD or Emily Brown for more information Email: dlbannasch@ucdavis.edu, eabrown@ucdavis.edu

Canine Cleft Palate

The Bannasch Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is conducting a study to identify the genes responsible for cleft palate and cleft lip in all breeds of dog. Cleft palate and cleft lip are common birth defects characterized by the failure of the roof of the mouth and/or lip to fuse during development. Puppies born with these conditions can have difficulty nursing and can have complications such as mal-nourishment and aspiration pneumonia. In order to identify the genes involved in these birth defects we are in need of samples from all breeds of dog.  We are collecting blood or tissue samples from:

  • Dogs with cleft palate and/or lip
  • Parents and littermates of affected dogs

If you are interested in submitting samples or have questions please contact: Zena Wolf.

Email: ztwolf@ucdavis.edu

Canine Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy

Noa Safra, DVM PhD, at the Bannasch Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is conducting a study to identify the genes responsible for hypertrophic Osteodystrophy in Weimaraners and other susceptible breeds.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) is a canine developmental disease affecting rapidly growing, large dogs between eight weeks and eight months of age. Affected puppies suffer joint pain that results in lameness or complete refusal to stand or walk. The joint pain is often accompanied by general signs of illness that include fever, lethargy and anorexia. HOD is treated by supportive care and is considered to be age limited. HOD may affect puppies from any large breed as well as mixed breeds. Breeds reported to be predisposed to HOD are the Great Dane, Boxer, German Shepherd dog, Labrador Retriever, Irish Setter and Weimaraner. In Weimaraners, HOD is often a severe condition with systemic signs of hyperthermia, anorexia, recumbency and pain. Additional signs may include diarrhea, puppy acne and discharge from the eyes and nose. Sick Weimaraner puppies may have several episodes of HOD until complete closure of the growth plates, and these recurrences often require hospitalization for intensive care. The severe pain and poor quality of life, accompanied by the high costs of hospitalization, have led some owners to elect euthanasia. Even though most HOD cases have a good prognosis, some cases continue to suffer from different degrees of illness as adults. HOD diagnosis is founded based on specific radiographic findings as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: A. Mediolateral view of distal radius and carpal joint of HOD case #14. Irregular radiolucent line (arrow) in the metaphysis separated from the physis by a radio-opaque band. A radiodense zone is visible between the radiolucent band and the growth plate.  B. Anteroposterior view of a normal carpal joint of control #135.        

We are currently accepting samples from HOD affected dogs of any breed. For details on how to contribute to the study please contact Dr Noa Safra nsafra@ucdavis.edu or drnoasafra@gmail.com                                                                                                 

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL