Genetic Contribution to Early-onset Osteosarcoma

Breed(s): Irish Wolfhound
Sample Type: Blood Sample
Study Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison
CHF-funded Grant: 02782

The Irish Wolfhound (IWH) has one of the highest reported incidence of osteosarcoma (OSA) amongst pure-bred dogs, with a large number of affected young dogs. Early-onset OSA is a clinical variant that is particularly common in young IWHs less than five years of age. Preliminary data indicates that OSA in the IWH has a strong genetic basis, suggesting the presence of a cancer predisposition gene. We aim to discover influential genetic variants associated with early-onset OSA in the IWH breed, with a goal of identifying a means for disease risk screening and insight into the pathologic mechanism of this disease in the IWH, which will likely be applicable to other related giant breed dogs.

Participation Requirements:

We are looking to recruit the following dogs.  We will need to obtain a fresh blood sample:
1) Pure-bred IWHs who have developed osteosarcoma before the age of 5.  If either (or both) parent is available to donate a blood sample, this would be of exceptional value.
2) Pure-bred IWHs over 10 years of age that have not developed osteosarcoma.
3) Again, of most value would be an affected offspring or extended family of IWHs that have at least 1 pup affected with osteosarcoma before the age of 5. The more extended the family, the more valuable the family would be.  Importantly, we would need parent(s) of the affected dog to be alive and available for blood collection.

We are also looking to build a large pedigree map of the IWH breed in North America, including a current generation of dogs through their great-grandparents. Pedigrees from dogs that do not qualify for this study or are not alive to participate, but have known disease status would be of great value.

Owner's Responsibilities:

We can have samples shipped to our laboratory, so you are not required to come to the University of Wisconsin for participation.  We appreciate that not all dogs will have an official “tissue diagnosis” of osteosarcoma; this is not a problem if there is strong radiographic evidence of disease.

We are not asking pet owners for financial donations for this project. Participation is free. For owners and animals not able to come to the UW-Madison clinic, we will cover all costs associated with needing to visit your family veterinarian, a blood draw and shipping. We will provide your veterinarian with everything for blood collection, icepacks for storage/shipment and return shipping labels and packaging. We regularly work with veterinary practices to ensure that the process puts as little burden on owners and their pets as possible!

We have a very active facebook page that helps us with announcements and recruitment; any owners interested in this study are encouraged to follow us.

More Information


Contact Information:

Name: Susannah Sample
Phone: (608) 265-5828

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