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Canine Addison's Research Project

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News update: 26 July 2016

Kennel Club News Release


Over 10,000 has been raised by those involved in the world of dogs to help fund a research project which could greatly improve the lives of dogs affected by Addisons disease, an autoimmune condition that affects some dog breeds and their crosses.

The research project, being led by Professor Brian Catchpole, Professor of Companion Animal Immunology at the Royal Veterinary College, has been funded by a 25,000 grant from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

Additional funds of over 10,000 have been raised by the Bearded Collie Joint Breed Liaison Committee, made up of representatives from the six UK Bearded Collie clubs, and a number of other breed clubs which wanted to support the research.

Whilst relatively rare, Addisons disease, which also affects humans, can come on suddenly and result in weakness, dehydration, low blood pressure, depression, heart toxicity, vomiting, blood in faeces, weight loss and death. The disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is characterised by a deficient production of hormones called mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, which can prevent the body from functioning properly, and can be difficult to diagnose quickly due to the generalness of its symptoms.

It is believed that certain dog breeds could be more susceptible to the disease, such as Bearded Collies, Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, West Highland White Terriers, Rottweilers, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, and crosses of these breeds, but the disease can affect a number of other breeds and their crosses.

Professor Catchpole and his team have already identified some of the genetic risk factors involved in the disease and wanted to investigate further to see whether these can be used as part of diagnostic blood testing which could potentially identify dogs that have an autoimmune reaction before they develop clinical signs. However 30,000 of funding was required to enable the project to continue. Professor Catchpole applied for funding from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which granted 25,000 towards the research.

The Bearded Collie Joint Breed Liaison Committee then set about raising the remaining funding required and has seen the support of a number of breed clubs, including a 1,000 donation from the Standard Poodle Club, 1,000 from the Pointer Club, 1,000 from the Southern Finnish Lapphund Society and various donations from the Bearded Collie community in the UK and abroad along with many personal donations from other canine supporters.

Yvonne Fox, Secretary of the Bearded Collie Joint Breed Liaison Committee, said: The research into Addisons disease is so important as it could go a long way in reducing the incidence of the disease by enabling earlier diagnosis. This will help breeders to make responsible breeding decisions to protect the future health of their dogs and it will also enable dogs who are already living with the disease to receive treatment earlier, making their lives far more comfortable, as once correctly diagnosed, a properly treated dog can live a normal active life.

We have now exceeded our fundraising target and will ensure that all monies raised will be used to further Addisons and autoimmune related research for the benefit of all breeds.

Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: We are delighted that the dog community has rallied behind this research and done such a fantastic job in raising the extra funds needed in addition to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust grant. It is a testament to how much they value the work carried out by researchers to improve dog health and protect the future of their breeds.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust (registered charity no. 327802) awards grants to welfare organisations which make a difference to dogs lives, and also provides financial support to canine scientific research and support charities. The Trust has donated more than 10 million to help improve the lives of dogs since it was established in 1987. For more information, please visit https://kccharitabletrust.org.uk/.

To find out more about what the Kennel Club does for dog health, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kchealth.

News update: 21 June 2016

The RVC Ethics and Welfare committee have just approved the study and sample collection. Professor Catchpole is liaising with the RVC IT Department to create a web link for downloading sample submission forms, owner information sheets etc. We will let you know when they are available.

Samples from newly-diagnosed dogs are best because antibodies are more likely to be present at that time, less so as time passes, but we believe samples from all Addisonian dogs will be collected.

Prof. Catchpole can't take samples at the moment. If there are any newly-diagnosed dogs we would be very grateful if owners could ask their vet to take an extra sample for the research and if possible store it for a couple of months or so until the project begins. The blood should be collected in EDTA tube or clot in a plain tube. In the meantime, owners of any dogs newly diagnosed with Addison's can get in touch with Yvonne Fox at y.fox@bushbladesbeardies.co.uk or Jo Tucker (CIMDA) at cimda@aslog.co.uk, who will provide further help and information until the submission forms are available.

Dear Member,

The Bearded Collie Joint Liaison Committee has been presented with an important and exciting opportunity by Prof. Brian Catchpole from the Royal Veterinary College who contacted us regarding a research project he would like to conduct on Addisons disease in dogs, and he needs your help.

A grant of 25,000, has already been awarded from The Kennel Club Charitable Trust to allow a veterinary graduate to undertake research training. The grant was given on the proviso that the JBLC on behalf of all the Bearded Collie Clubs raise the other 5,000 to support the laboratory research costs to analyse the samples.

Addison's disease is an autoimmune condition and once correctly diagnosed, a properly treated dog can live a normal active life. However as the symptoms can be very general, it can be hard to diagnose quickly and anyone who has had a dog, or has known of a dog, suffering from Addison's will know how important this is to ensure the correct treatment.

Prof. Catchpole and his team have already identified some of the genetic risk factors involved and want to investigate further to see whether these can be used as part of diagnostic blood testing which could potentially identify dogs that have an autoimmune reaction before they develop clinical signs.

An online fund raising page has been set up to accept donations and the JBLC consider this work so important they kick-started the campaign with a donation of 1,000 on behalf of all the Breed Clubs. We have already, not only reached but exceeded our target in less than 14 days. This is such an achievement and a true reflection of everyone working together.

A huge thank you to everyone that has given their support and shared the link to keep the momentum going.

Please continue to share and donate as any money received over and above the required amount will be used for research into auto-immune disease in dogs in general. The JBLC will continue to provide an update on any financially supported research.

The deadline for donations is 30th June 2016.

Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/276qcedk to read more about the campaign and make a donation or contact Sarah Ritchie on 01932 568391 for further information.

(Getting samples from affected dogs will be vital to the success of this research. The JBLC are in touch with Prof. Catchpole who has promised to let us and Jo Tucker (CIMDA) know exactly when samples will be required and in what form they should be sent. The JBLC will of course share this information as soon as it is available)

Once again, many thanks to all those that have already supported the project.