00903-A: Candidate Gene Investigation of Cairn Terrier Ocular Melanosis

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Dr. Simon M. Petersen-Jones, DVM PhD, Michigan State University
April 1, 2007 - March 31, 2008
Sponsor(s): American Spaniel Club Foundation, Clumber Spaniel Club of America, Collie Health Foundation
Breed(s): Cairn Terrier
Research Program Area: Prevention

Abstract

Ocular melanosis is an intractable, blinding and painful genetic disease that primarily affects Cairn Terriers. The affected dogs have a slowly progressive accumulation of pigmented cells within the eye that eventually impedes drainage of the intraocular fluid, called aqueous humor, from the eye into the blood stream. This results in an increased pressure within the eye, known as glaucoma. The rise in pressure occurs because production of aqueous humor continues although drainage is impaired. The increased pressure within the eye causes vision loss by damaging the retina and optic nerve head. Not only is it blinding but an increased pressure is also painful. By studying the disease in detail we know which type of gene could cause the defect and have drawn up a list of genes to investigate (known as candidate genes). This project is to identify whether any of these candidate genes are responsible for ocular melanosis in Cairn Terriers. If we identify the cause, treatment/elimination of this painful, blinding condition may be possible.

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