02507: Characterizing Developmental Lung Disease as a Cause of Sudden Death in the Norwich Terrier

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $116,076
Kurt Williams, DVM, PhD; Michigan State University
March 1, 2018 - August 31, 2022

Sponsor(s): Norwich Terrier Club of America

Breed(s): Norwich Terrier
Research Program Area: Lung and Respiratory Disease
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One Health: Yes


Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome has been attributed to more than 60% of deaths early in life in puppies. The underlying cause(s) of this apparently common problem is poorly understood. Despite the high frequency of respiratory-related mortality in neonatal puppies, there are no reports describing the underlying lung pathology in affected individuals. In human medicine the classification, management and evaluation of diffuse interstitial lung diseases in infants are well described. The most severe neonatal lung diseases in humans develop as a result of abnormal development of the lung, and often result in death soon after delivery. The investigators recently documented microscopic evidence of striking abnormal lung development in puppies of various breeds who died suddenly, suggesting that developmental lung disease (DLD) is an important and unrecognized cause of early death in young puppies. Breeders of Norwich Terriers (NT) report that sudden death of puppies early in life is common.  Through preliminary studies, a high incidence of DLD in NT puppies associated with sudden death has been identified. The identification of a breed-association with DLD in the NT presents an opportunity to correlate the pathology and genetics to sudden death in NT puppies. Findings could lead to the development of preventive measures to reduce the incidence of DLD in the NT as well as other dog breeds, and may also be applicable to similar developmental lung diseases in children.


None at this time.

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