02945-MOU: Understanding the Genetic Basis of Addison’s Disease in Portuguese Water Dogs

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $207,381
Steven G Friedenberg, DVM, PhD; University of Minnesota
May 1, 2021 - April 30, 2025

Sponsor(s): Portuguese Water Dog Foundation

Breed(s): Portuguese Water Dog
Research Program Area: Endocrinology
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Addison’s disease (AD) is a common, life-threatening disorder in dogs characterized by the immune-mediated destruction of portions of the adrenal gland. This damage prevents the adrenal gland from synthesizing hormones that are necessary for normal cell metabolism, kidney function, and maintenance of the immune system. Dogs with AD are also highly predisposed to succumbing to a life-threatening adrenal crisis. AD is most common in Portuguese Water Dogs (PWDs), which have a 29-fold greater risk of developing the disease compared to other dog breeds, indicating a strong genetic component. To date, no genetic variants have been associated with AD in PWDs. This lack of knowledge has prevented the development of a genetic test that would allow for prediction of a dog’s disease risk and the development of informed breeding practices related to AD. In this study, investigators will use state-of-the-art scientific tools to understand the genetic basis of AD in PWDs. The data generated here will provide the foundation for the development of a genetic test for AD in PWDs, enabling early diagnosis and treatment, as well as maintenance of genetic diversity within the breed while helping to decrease disease incidence.

Funding for the research is provided through the collaborative efforts and generosity of the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation, Inc. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee grant administration and scientific progress.

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