02164-MOU: Determining the Genetic Contribution to Boxer Corneal Ulcers

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $68,053
Kathryn M Meurs, DVM, PhD; North Carolina State University
January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2019

Sponsor(s): American Boxer Charitable Foundation

Breed(s): Boxer
Research Program Area: Ophthalmology
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Spontaneous chronic corneal epithelial defects (SCCEDs) are chronic corneal ulcers that fail to undergo normal healing that are commonly observed in Boxers. The predilection for Boxers suggests that SCCEDs is inherited in this breed. Affected dogs develop spontaneous corneal ulcers that are often exceptionally painful and persist for weeks to months. Most dogs require surgical therapy to heal the corneal ulcer and experience corneal scarring as a result. The impact on the quality of life for dogs during episodes of ulceration has led to increased interest in disease prevention. However, since SCCED is an adult onset disease, many dogs are selected for breeding before they are diagnosed. A blood test that could identify affected animals before they are used for breeding would greatly decrease the prevalence of SCCEDs. In a previous study funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Dr. Meurs and colleagues collected samples from adult Boxers with and without SCCED and performed a genome wide association study. In the study proposed here they will perform whole genome sequencing (GWAS) on a subset of affected and unaffected dogs and use the data from the GWAS to focus in on important variants. They will then more closely evaluate variants of interest to determine the gene and ultimately the causative genetic mutation. They hope that the identification of a genetic cause for SCCEDs in the Boxer can be used to reduce the prevalence of this disease in this breed but also to provide information for other affected breeds.

Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of the American Boxer Charitable Foundation.  The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee grant administration and scientific progress.


Meurs, K. M., Montgomery, K., Friedenberg, S. G., Williams, B., & Gilger, B. C. (2021). A defect in the NOG gene increases susceptibility to spontaneous superficial chronic corneal epithelial defects (SCCED) in boxer dogs. BMC Veterinary Research, 17(1), 254. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-021-02955-1

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