A Finnish-North American collaboration of scientists at Michigan State University and the University of Helsinki has found a MERTK gene defect responsible for a recently identified form of progressive retinal atrophy in Swedish vallhund dogs. This discovery opens the door to the development of therapies for diseases that cause blindness both in dogs and humans. The research findings were published in the paper A Novel Canine Retinopathy Associated with MERTK in the journal PLoS ONE in December.
Inherited retinal diseases are among the leading causes of incurable blindness in humans as well as in dogs, where most of these conditions are classified as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Because of the similarities in ocular anatomy, canine models contribute significantly to the understanding of retinal disease mechanisms and the development of new therapies for human patients. The gene identified as a cause of PRA in the Swedish vallhund is associated with a form of human retinitis pigmentosa (RP), one of the most common incurable blindness worldwide.
This is the third paper published in PLoS ONE by the collaborating research teams of Dr. András Komáromy at Michigan State University, and Professor Hannes Lohi and Dr. Saija Ahonen at the University of Helsinki. The teams' three papers, each on Nordic dogs (Swedish Vallhund and Norwegian Elkhound) and each addressing blinding ocular diseases affecting both dogs and people, identified genes causing retinal disease and glaucoma, which may lead to gene therapies for dogs and humans.
“The work to characterize these diseases in two Nordic dog breeds drew from well-established international collaborations between clinicians, geneticists, and dog breeders. This type of longstanding, multi-disciplinary collaboration certainly strengthens a team's response to the challenges of unraveling complex problems and creating innovative solutions,” explains professor Lohi. All three papers were also part of Dr Ahonen's PhD thesis published recently (https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/136144).
Ten years, seven countries, and three continents
The identification of MERTK gene as a cause of Swedish Vallhund PRA is the result of a decade-long project that first described the newly emerged disease in September 2014 in A Novel Form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Swedish Vallhund Dogs, PLoS ONE 9(9): e106610.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Swedish and Finnish eye panelists recognized the emergence of a new retinal disease in Swedish vallhund dogs. The retinal abnormalities were different from any known forms of canine inherited retinopathy.
In 2004, Komáromy, then at the University of Pennsylvania, received a telephone call from a breeder in Midwest about a new retinal disease. “I drove from Philadelphia to Michigan to examine the affected dogs, and began visiting dog shows and other venues around North America and Scandinavia to examine other Swedish vallhund dogs. It is wonderful to see that these trips helped us to later get this far
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Safe, easy to chew, tasty (for dogs),
I appreciate the fact that the ingredients are domestic and it is manufactured in the US.
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The price is right,
He can be a little picky. Among his daily treats are Greenies and since we found these on Amazon, Zuke’s Jerky Naturals. I will say that we tried two different kinds. Along with these, we tried the Wellness WellBites Chicken and Venison Recipe Dog Treats, 8-Ounce Pouch.
The Zuke’s are really potent. When you open the bag, you catch a big whiff of how strong they are. They’re probably real flavorful because of it (I didn’t try one). The Wellness treats seem a little dryer. While our little guy likes both of the treats, the Zuke’s win over the Wellness. Plus they’re cheaper so that’s even better. He can’t get enough of them.
We also tried the Zuke’s Z-Ridge Mini – Carrot Fresh Breath Dental Chew Bones, 15 Count Pouch made by Zuke’s. He doesn’t like those as much as the Greenies.
I would say that this product is one of the best we found for our dog. Plus we were able to take advantage of the free super saver shipping as well. These are highly recommended.
[Edit: August 14, 2011]
He still loves them!
We’ve had to start giving our little guy Remedel for a little shoulder injury he had. These Zukes make it real easy to give him the pill. Since they’re moist, we just put the pill inside and press it all around the pill. That way he doesn’t even know he’s taking it. Trying to give him pills with the Wellness treats doesn’t work so well since they’re dryer.
[Edit: September 29, 2012]
Anyone else notice that they seem different?? The last couple packs we bought were dryer and brittle. They also weren’t as potent as the other ones were. He doesn’t seem to like them as much any more. I don’t know if the bags we bought were partially opened so they dried out by the time the were delivered or if their recipe changed. I’ll buy some more and see how they turn out. A little disappointed…
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it was cute in all but it wasn’t funny
i like it
2 is cute
cute dog :D
Wow your video is awsome and super cute!!!(subscribing)
It was not funny but I’m still happy because the dogs and cats are cute
Dat was funny
1st one soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute
dễ thương vãi bà con ạ :D
The cats and dogs are cute
I loved the first one the cute little puppies looked like fuzzballs
love this video so cute!
I didn’t laugh but I never do I when I was born I didn’t cry I was grumpy
Those dogs looked like fuzzy fur balls
I♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ puppys and kittens:)
funny cats and dogs