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IBD, LCPD health research in 'Westie' dogs may hold answers to similar human diseases
Date:7/18/2011

The Westie Foundation of America (WFA) announced today preliminary findings in two major studies involving the health of West Highland White Terriers also known as Westies. Findings in these and other studies of Westies and other dogs may hold answers for similar human conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The studies are jointly funded by the WFA and the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF).

In one study, researchers are looking at the role of a mucosal gene driving inflammation Canine IBD, a chronic intestinal disorder that creates a bacterial-driven inflammation in the intestines. In the second, scientists are researching Legg-Calve Perthes Disease (LCPD), a debilitating developmental disease that causes pain, lameness and muscle atrophy of the dogs' hip joints. Both are considering implications for humans since the diseases share commonalities in disease symptoms and pathology.

In IBD, genetic factors are thought to contribute to the cause of the disease in both dogs and humans and researchers are utilizing unique molecular biology tools to identify key genes which regulate intestinal inflammation, similar to human IBD.

"It is our expectation to identify specific genes which serve as biomarkers for diagnosing canine IBD and for monitoring the effects of therapy. We have now identified a grouping of 17 'marker' genes that may be more critically assessed in future studies," said Albert E. Jergens, DVM, PhD of Iowa State University, the study's lead investigator. "We have preliminary evidence that changes in the composition of the intestinal bacteria accompany the abnormal gene patternsthis situation is remarkably similar to the association between people and their intestinal populations causing human IBD (i.e., Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)."

LCPD is an orthopedic disease that may require surgery to relieve the clinical signs. Researchers are using a high-throughput technology to assess nea
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Contact: Teresa Barnes
TeresaRBarnes@gmail.com
303-521-4080
Westie Foundation of America
Source:Eurekalert

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