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German Shepherd Dog Information Group update

DONATIONS: Firstly I wish to thank the clubs and people who have sent donations to the research programme. We were granted gifts from the following:

Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Silveracs Agility Club and Sharon Walsh, Dave Mitchell
BAGSD Headquarters, Mrs Kirkham, Miss Jenny Gould. Ms Yarrow, Mrs Penny S- Parris, Mr Alan Keeling, Davies and Walsh. We thank you all and because of these donations our researchers are being able to extend research further.


There are a great number of references being advised about how simple it is to control the problem of Degenerative Mylopathy which is the lack of production of myelin as growth takes place.

I would like to advise that although we are moving forward slowly in this research the problem is not being answered by giving extra Vitamins, and supplements.

In April 2002 Dr Catchpole and his team announced that after extending their analysis from urine to blood samples from effected dogs, they had found that the problem was not like M.S. in humans, for they had found that in D.M. sufferers there was Nitric Oxide Metabolites present. This was unlike the animals that did not have problem, which showed no signs of it.

Reference was also given to the Mylogram which is the passing of dye around the spinal cord, followed by an X-ray, which proves if this is exactly what the dog is suffering from, because there can be other problem such as lumbeosacral disease/ cauda equina syndrome, for which there is a cure.

It then proves conclusively that D.M. is the problem. It is extremely important that exercise is being done, such as swimming at a hydrotherapy pool, under proper supervised direction.
The idea being that the dogs brain is being reminded to work the legs thus building the muscle to support the legs.

Anal Furunculosis:

Our researcher gave this update to me. It is hoped that the gentlemen who are supporting us will be at Crufts on the GSD Breed day at the Discover Dogs GSD Booth in Hall 3a to speak to people who have animals with this problem.

“Research into Anal Furunculosis at the Royal Veterinary College continues, thanks to the financial support from German Shepherd Dog Information Group and enthusiasts, Novartis Animal Health, Pet Plan Charitable Trust and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

We have had two main focuses over the past three years. The first has been analysis of biopsies collected from anal furunculosis lesions. This work has demonstrated the importance of the immune system in the disease and has answered the questions of how cyclosporin works and why dogs do not respond as well as others. In addition we have identified a group of enzymes (matrix metalloproteinases), which are involved in the tissue destruction seen in anal furunculosis lesions.

This has provided us with a hope that inhibiting these enzymes could represent a new approach to the treatment of anal furunculosis.

In conjunction to analysis of biopsy samples our second focus has been genetic analysis of those dogs with anal frunculosis. The goal of this work is to identify genes that might contribute to the formation of this disease. Recent work has demonstrated an alteration in the function of one protein (a pattern recognition receptor), which is critical for regulating bacterial growth in the bowel. It is suspected that the alteration in this protein function is due to genetic mutation.
Further work is required to identify the genetic mutation in the gene, which codes this protein.
Money raised by the German Shepherd Dog Information Group will help the aspect of this work to continue.

An exciting development has evolved from collaboration between the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol and the Royal Veterinary College. This work has identified a gene (mhc class 2 gene) that is associated with anal furunculosis. Dogs which inherit a specific type of this gene from both their mother and father are at high risk of developing the anal furnculosis in later life. This work could be developed further to provide a test to screen dogs.

Our collaboration with Manchester University continues and a new study is underway using exciting new technology, which allows very broad analysis of the entire dog genome. It is possible that this work will identify more genes involved in the development of anal furunculosis and further opportunity to develop tests to screen dogs before breeding”.

We are indeed thrilled with this progress and hope you will now not ignore the fact the problem exists, finding it possible that you could assist in giving donations for this very worthy research.
May I also thank those people who have been forward thinking and supplied us with pedigrees, treatments etc of animals they have, which have been found to have this autoimmune problem.
It is important if you wish to put this problem to rest that, you contact me and are willing to supply a copy pedigree and your vets information as well as a DNA sample and possibly a blood sample. It will be of no use to research if this is not supplied.

I have had people recently that have said that they would be involved who have done nothing. An answer cannot be reached if it is left to others, and no miracle can be performed just by a phone call.

So please help us if you really do want to get positive answers to this terrible problem. If you need to contact us: Dorothy Cullum 01277 220933. Chris Harvey 01223-208216

Donation cheques to be made out to the GSD Information Group please. Pedigrees can be checked out at the charge of £3 made out to the above.

Dorothy Cullum