Identifying the genetic basis of fetal anasarca in bulldogs/canines

Breed(s): Bulldog
Study Type: DNA Sample, Tissue Sample
Study Location: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Birthing difficulty, called dystocia, during the whelping of puppies is one of the most significant reproductive health concerns for dog owners/breeders. Although there can be many causes of dystocia, the occurrence of so-called “water” or “walrus” puppies is one of the more common reasons within particular dog breeds. Water puppies suffer from the abnormal accumulation of body fluids, called anasarca. This results in a generalized swelling of the body, thus the “walrus-like” appearance.  Due to the increased body size, normal delivery through the birth canal is very difficult or even impossible, often times requiring intervention by cesarean section. Water puppies are generally stillborn or die shortly after birth. Although anasarca affects many dog breeds, it appears to be more frequent in the “short-face” or brachycephalic breeds including the Bulldog, French bulldog, Pug, Boston terrier and others. Due to the known genetic relationship between these breeds and the recurrence of anasarca puppies in specific matings, it is strongly believed that there is a significant genetic risk factor associated with this problem. Modern genetic tools and techniques have greatly improved our ability to identify specific variation in the genetic material, DNA, which are responsible for such traits. Thus, in an effort initiated by the Bulldog Club of America, samples of newborn puppies with anasarca, their parents, and non-affected puppies have been collected. The proposed project will analyze the genetic basis of anasarca in Bulldogs in an effort to develop a DNA-based test that can be used to reduce the incidence of the disease.

More Information


Contact Information:

Name: Anna Kukekova
Phone: 217-300-2425

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