02105-A: The Genetics of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in West Highland White Terrier

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $5,000
Christopher J Murphy, DVM, PhD; University of California, Davis
June 1, 2015 - May 31, 2016

Sponsor(s): American Shih Tzu Club Charitable Trust, Westie Foundation of America, Inc.

Breed(s): West Highland White Terrier
Research Program Area: Ophthalmology
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Dry eye disease or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a devastating disease in dogs and humans where inadequate tear production can result in ocular pain, corneal ulceration and even blindness. The most common cause for KCS in dogs is immune-mediated, which means that the dog's immune system attacks the tear-producing glands. However, the exact mechanism by which this inflammatory process occurs is poorly understood. A variety of treatments for KCS exist including immunomodulators, tear replacements, and surgical interventions, but are often incompletely effective in dogs and humans. Several dog breeds including West Highland White Terriers are seen more commonly for KCS in comparison to other breeds. This observation suggests that this disease may have a genetic component. This study will identify the region of the dog genome associated with KCS in the West Highland White Terrier. Thorough eye examinations and multiple tests to assess the tear film in normal and affected West Highland White Terriers will be performed, and blood samples collected from these dogs. The entire canine genome will be evaluated for an association with KCS. This work will be used to identify the gene(s) responsible for this condition in West Highland White Terriers and improve understanding of KCS in dogs and humans. The ultimate goal will be to develop a genetic test for KCS in West Highland White Terriers and possibly other breeds such as English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Clumber Spaniels with an increased risk of KCS.


None at this time.

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