02523-MOU: Identifying the Genetic Basis of Protein Losing Enteropathy in Yorkshire Terriers

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $46,440
Kenneth W. Simpson, BVM&S, PhD; Cornell University
March 1, 2018 - December 31, 2024

Sponsor(s): Yorkshire Terrier Club of America, Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation

Breed(s): Yorkshire Terrier
Research Program Area: Gastrointestinal Disease
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Chronic intestinal disease associated with the loss of protein into the gut, termed protein losing enteropathy (PLE), is a severe, life threatening condition that affects many dog breeds, including the Yorkshire Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Basenji, Norwegian Lundehund, and Chinese Shar-Pei. The syndrome of PLE is most common in Yorkshire Terriers (4.2-10 fold relative risk), and affected dogs frequently suffer from severe weight loss, accumulation of fluid within tissues and body cavities, diarrhea, low levels of circulating proteins, increased risk for abnormal clotting, and derangements in vitamin and mineral homeostasis. The microscopic appearance of the small intestine of Yorkshire Terriers with PLE (YT-PLE) is distinct from PLE in other breeds, suggesting it is caused by a breed-specific genetic abnormality. Despite aggressive treatment, remission is variably achieved, and relapse is common. Long-term survival is infrequent with recent studies indicating treatment failure in approximately 50% of Yorkshire Terriers with PLE. The high morbidity and mortality of YT-PLE indicates the desire to eradicate this disease through breeding practices. The investigators are seeking to identify genetic regions and genes associated with YT-PLE to enable prevention of this disease, provide insights into the development of PLE across species, and facilitate the discovery of more specific and effective therapies. Preliminary studies in their laboratory have linked several genetic regions to YT-PLE but additional genotyping of DNA samples from YT with and without PLE is required to enable definitive identification of causal abnormalities.

Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America and the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee grant administration and scientific progress.

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