02338: The Genetics of Bloat in German Shepherd Dogs: The Roles of Immune System Genes and the Gut Microbiome

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $152,270
Michael Alan Harkey, PhD; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
June 1, 2017 - November 30, 2019

Sponsor(s): American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., Bouvier Health Foundation

Breed(s): German Shepherd Dog
Research Program Area: Gastrointestinal Disease
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While gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), or bloat, is a serious problem for many large canine breeds, little is known about the causes of this deadly disease. The most significant factors may be genetic, since certain breeds are more susceptible than others, and strong familial predispositions are seen within breeds. The investigators have recently shown a significant association of three immune genes with bloat in Great Danes. For each of the three genes, one allele (variant) is found at unusually high frequency in dogs that have been treated for bloat, and the presence of any one of these "risk" alleles triples the chance that the dog will experience bloat at some time in its life. The research team also showed that the bacterial population living in the gut (the gut microbiome) is altered in dogs with bloat, and in dogs that carry these "risk" alleles, which may predispose these dogs to bloat. It is not known if other breeds show this same association of genetics and microbiome with bloat. The team will investigate whether bloat in German Shepherd Dogs is associated with the same risk alleles and the same microbiome profiles as were seen in Great Danes. The results of this work could lead to genetic tests for at-risk dogs, as well as dietary or probiotic therapies to prevent bloat.


None at this time.

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