A New Study Aims To Reduce Heart Disease In Newfoundland Dogs
Morris Animal Foundation has funded new research at Michigan State University to study the genetics of subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) in Newfoundland dogs.
The goal of new research is to reduce the incidence of severe heart disease commonly found in Newfoundland dogs. The study is collectively funded by the Morris Animal Foundation and the Newfoundland Club of America Charitable Trust. The research will primarily focus on the genetics of subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) in Newfoundland dogs.
The research will use advanced tools to identify genetic determinants of disease in the breed. If the study is successful, the results could be used to screen dogs for this disease and guide breeding decisions genetically.
"SAS is a devastating and puzzling disease—devastating for the dogs and their families and puzzling for the geneticists," said Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, Ph.D., a Michigan State University professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and small animal clinical sciences.
"We hope our cutting-edge genetics and genomics approaches will provide some clear and useful answers and reveal the genetic basis of this disorder," continued principal investigator Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis is a severe congenital disease in dogs characterized by the development of abnormal tissue obstructing blood flow from the heart. There is a high incidence in several breeds, including Newfoundland dogs.
According to the Morris Animal Foundation, dogs with the disease often have shorter lifespans, and current treatment options are limited to medication to improve quality of life.
"Understanding the genetics of this serious disease could lead to advances in diagnostic tests and help inform breeding decisions, eventually leading to fewer dogs suffering," said the foundation's vice president of scientific operations, Kathy Tietje.
"Results from this study could have implications for all dog breeds affected by SAS," continued Kathy Tietje, Ph.D., MBA.