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01591: Identification of the Genes That Confer Risk for Atopic Dermatitis

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $107,133
Dr. Natasha J Olby, VetMB PhD, North Carolina State University
January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013
Sponsor(s): American Sealyham Terrier Club, Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America, Westie Foundation of America, Inc.
Breed(s): West Highland White Terrier
Disease(s): Atopic Dermatitis
Research Program Area: Dermatology and Allergic Disease


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic, allergic skin condition that causes severe itching. It has been estimated that approximately 8% of all dogs that present to their veterinarian do so because of clinical signs due to AD. Affected dogs scratch and rub their skin, causing damage to the skin and frequently causing bacterial or yeast infections. Treatment focuses on appropriate antibiotic therapy of infections, and controlling the allergic response, but AD cannot be cured and so owners and their pets face a lifelong struggle to control the signs. There is evidence that AD is a hereditary problem, and it is extremely common in the West Highland White Terrier (WHWT) in which it was estimated to affect 15% of all dogs. Dr. Olby will use banked DNA from dogs diagnosed with AD to perform a genome wide association study and identify chromosomal regions associated with the disease. The long-term goal is to develop genetic tests that can be used by breeders to decrease the prevalence of this condition.
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