2220: Characterization of Degenerative Myelopathy in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $18,327.22
Dr. Joan R. Coates, DVM, Texas A&M University
October 8, 2001 - November 13, 2002
Sponsor(s): Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America
Breed(s): Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Research Program Area: Prevention

Abstract

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a degenerative spinal cord disease affecting, primarily, but not exclusively older German Shepherd Dogs. Recently, veterinarians have documented DM in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Affected dogs show progressive rear limb weakness and eventually paralysis. We suspect that an imbalance of methionine or related substances in the spinal fluid may affect the production of myelin, the fatty covering of the nerves that is essential to their function. Oxidative stress and excitotoxicity also may play a concomitant role in spinal cord degeneration and impaired methionine metabolism. Testing spinal fluid for concentrations of metabolites related to methionine metabolism and oxidative stress may allow dogs at risk to receive treatment before clinical signs of disease become apparent and to be identified before being used for breeding purposes. Investigators will collaborate with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America by developing an epidemiologic survey to determine the prevalence of DM. DNA will be banked and pedigree data collected from affected dogs and family members while maintaining anonymity so that it will be available for future gene mapping studies. We anticipate that the results of the proposed studies will facilitate accurate diagnosis and monitoring of DM.

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