2636: Characterization of Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration in American Staffordshire Terriers

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $8,685.99
Dr. Natasha J Olby, VetMB PhD, North Carolina State University
July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004
Sponsor(s): American Bullmastiff Association, Bulldog Club of America Charitable Health Fund, Inc., Mastiff Club of America, Scottish Deerhound Club of America
Breed(s): American Staffordshire Terrier
Research Program Area: Treatment

Abstract

An inherited degenrative disease affecting the cerebellum has recently been recognized in adult American Staffordshire Terriers. The cerebellum controls coordination of movement, and as a result of degeneration of cerebellar neurons, affected dogs have progressive difficulty with coordination and balance. Signs of the disease start from two to six years of age and are subtle at first, but progress at varying rates until the dog is unable to walk. The late onset of signs means that dogs can be bred widely before thd idsease manifests itself, and development of a diagnostic test that can be used to screen dogs for the disease is therefore extremely important. The aims of this study are to describe in detail the clinical and pathological characteristics of this disease, to determine its mode of inheritance, to bank DNA from affected and unaffected dogs for future use, and to identify possible candidate genes for the disease. Affected dogs will be recruited by disseminating inforamtion in the disease to owners and breeders of American Staffordshire Terriers with the help of the American Staffordshire Terrier Club. The clinical information and DNA collected in this study will form the basis for future work on identifying the mutation causing this disease. Our ultimate aim is to develop a diagnostic test for cerebellar cortical degeneration in American Staffordshire Terriers.

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