2109: Studying Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) In Irish Setter Dogs

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $65,340
Danika L Bannasch, DVM, PhD; University of California, Davis
August 1, 2014 - July 31, 2015

Sponsor(s): Irish Setter Club of America Foundation, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

Breed(s): Irish Setter
Research Program Area: Musculoskeletal Conditions and Disease
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Project Summary

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is a painful bone disease that can cause lameness in rapidly growing large-breed puppies. In Irish Setters, HOD can be a very severe condition with systemic signs of fever, anorexia, inability to walk, and painful swelling of the growth plates in the leg bones. Sick Irish Setter puppies may have several episodes of HOD requiring hospitalization for intensive care. The severe pain and poor quality of life, accompanied by the high costs of hospitalization, have led some owners to elect euthanasia. Other commonly affected large breed dogs include Weimaraner, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Boxer, Standard Poodle, and German Shepherd dogs.

We investigated how genetic variants play a role in triggering HOD episodes in dogs, like Irish Setters, that have a high prevalence for the disease. By comparing the genetic make-up of dogs with HOD and unaffected control dogs, we identified a region along one of the chromosomes where affected dogs are different than unaffected dogs. This region includes an appealing candidate gene. Future sequencing of the coding region of the candidate gene may uncover candidate causative DNA changes. We also investigated the immune profile of HOD affected Irish Setters and found that they have elevated levels of inflammatory markers and that they are different than unaffected Irish Setters. This result contributes to the definition of HOD in the breed as an immune-mediated condition. Based on the immune markers involved, new treatment modalities could be investigated to provide alternatives to corticosteroid treatment of HOD in Irish Setter dogs.


Safra, N., Hitchens, P. L., Maverakis, E., Mitra, A., Korff, C., Johnson, E., … Bannasch, D. L. (2016). Serum levels of innate immunity cytokines are elevated in dogs with metaphyseal osteopathy (hypertrophic osteodytrophy) during active disease and remission. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 179, 32–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2016.08.003

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