Novel neurodegenerative disease and gene identified with the help of ‘man’s best friend’

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A breakthrough study performed in an international collaboration led by from and Professor Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki together with the veterinary neurologists and neuropathologists at the in the University of Helsinki has identified a mutation that causes a type of in dogs. The results of the study shed light into the function of neurons, provide a new for human neurodegenration, and may aid in developing better treatments for disorders. The study was published in the journal PLoS Genetics on 15.4.2015.

Finnish and Swiss investigators have made a genetic breakthrough in the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed. The breed originates from Italy and is known for its skills in truffle hunting. These dogs have interested genetic researchers due to the existence of several rare neurological conditions in the breed. The current study revealed a novel type of neurodegenerative disease, characterized by cerebellar dysfunction and movement incoordination. Some affected dogs also suffered from abnormal eye movements and developed behavioral changes, such as restlessness and aggression. The onset of the clinical signs varies from 4 months to 4 years.

discovery sheds light to a disease mechanism

Genetic analyses revealed a single nucleotide change in the ATG4D in affected dogs. The ATG4D gene functions as a part of an intracellular pathway called autophagy, which functions in normal cellular “cleaning” by degrading damaged cellular components and organelles. Autophagy plays also an important role in maintaining cellular functions under stressful conditions, such as nutrient deprivation. The affected Lagottos had signs of altered autophagy in the brain.

The ATG4D has not been previously linked to inherited diseases and represents

… Continue reading here.
Dogs News — Sciencedaily

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    • Christina Holden Shea
    • May 7, 2015
    263 of 294 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Chihuahua suffering severe itching and seizures., May 19, 2014
    This review is from: Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, Large Dog (Misc.)
    I bought Seresto collars for my chihuahuas and a corgi. My daughter opted not to use the collar on her dog and discontinued use. At first, like many people experienced, flea control with this collar was slow. We were spotting live fleas for weeks after putting them on the dogs. My dogs wore the collars for eight months. Just before Easter our youngest dog (7 years old) started to violently scratching her neck. Within a day she had scratched the fur off her neck and developed bloody sores. We tried to treat the sores and removed the Seresto collar. The following day she had two seizures complete with strange bark, loss of motor skills, tongue blue and twitching. We went from vet to vet on that Easter weekend to the tune of close to a thousand dollars. Not one vet would say that the collar may be to blame.
    I am writing this because a few came forward on this site and mentioned their pets had experienced seizures. While I am without proof that the chemical distribution in this collar may or may not have caused my dog’s condition. I feel I should add my name to the pile.


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    • Drsonnya
    • May 7, 2015
    793 of 840 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Best New Flea Control Product in 20 years!, April 5, 2013

    This review is from: Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, Large Dog (Misc.)
    Seresto is brand new in the United States. I’m a veterinarian and our Bayer sales rep brought in the product as soon as it was released this year. After hearing about the product, I immediately put one on each of my 3 dogs. They’ve been wearing their Seresto collar for over a month now and none of them have had a problem.

    This isn’t your typical “flea collar”. The Seresto collar has no odor, it has a soft, almost powdery feel to it, and it doesn’t leave any greasy residue on your pet or your furniture. The best thing about Seresto is that it is completely non-toxic! Your dog could eat the Seresto collar and it will not release enough of the medication to be toxic. I suppose that your dog could obstruct from eating it, but Bayer has thought of that, too. The Seresto collar is radio-opaque, which means it will show up on an xray so that your vet knows what the obstruction is! From a vet’s point of view, this is a HUGE benefit!

    How does it work? Bayer has taken the active ingredient from Advantage, along with another ingredient that kills & repels ticks, and embedded it into the matrix of the plastic-like material that the collar is made of. (all other flea collars just spray a pesticide onto the collar). Due to the nature of the material that the collar is made of, the active ingredients are continuously and slowly released for 8 months! The release of the active ingredient is triggered by the friction from the movement of your pet’s hair and your pet’s body heat. An added benefit is that Seresto is water-resistant and remains effective after swimming, bathing, rain, etc.

    Bayer was also smart enough to make the cat collar a break-away collar. It has several points in which it will break if your cat gets hung up in a tree, so I feel completely confident recommending the Seresto collar to my cat clients. The dog collars come with cute little attachable reflectors so that your dog can be seen in the dark.

    Seresto collars are a bit spendy in initial outlay of money, but cheaper than 8 months of Revolution, Frontline or Advantage. The best part is that I NEVER have to think about my pets’ flea control during the entire flea season! I put the Seresto collar on at the beginning of flea season and it just keeps on working until winter.

    I can’t recommend this product enough!


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    • Ellisonx
    • May 7, 2015
    1,635 of 1,711 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    1 Week In, May 12, 2013

    This review is from: Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, Large Dog (Misc.)
    I have two Springer Spaniels, live in the East, and we frequent the woods behind our house every day. Ticks ARE a major problem. I have avoided the drop oriented anti-tick treatments because of the potential for liver and kidney problems. I heard about Bayer’s new collar, and wanted to give it a try, in hopes it would be the easy, safe way to protect my dogs from the ticks.

    Packaging – the packaging is very nice, the collars come in really nice tins. The instructions are fairly useless, as they are printed in very small print, and never seem to really tell you HOW to use the collar. The collar, itself, is pretty neat, and is very adjustable.

    Effectiveness – after a week, I have to say I’m pretty disappointed. I’ve found several ticks on the dogs, two of them attached directly beneath the collar. It just doesn’t seem like this collar is any good. Even the $10 Hartz flea and tick collars seem to work better than this. For $60+ for each collar, I really expected better. In fact, for that price I expected fantastic, and just am not seeing it.

    I could return the collars, but to be fair, I want to give them a 3 month trial, maybe it takes some time for the anti-tick stuff to build up in the dog’s system or something. I’ll come back and update my review at that time. Hopefully, it will be more favorable. At present, after a week’s use, I can not recommend spending this kind of money for this level of performance.

    Hope this helps-

    After roughly a month of living with the collar, I love it. It took about a week to 10 days for the stuff from the collar to build up in the dog’s system, but after that, absolutely no ticks, no nothing!. I can most definitely recommend these collars, will certainly continue using them and will certainly buy more when the time comes.

    update after 9 months –
    Hi- sorry not to have checked back on this review site until now. I’ve used the collars for roughly 9 months – end of life for them – and after the initial time for it take effect, they worked like champs. No ticks, no fleas. Now, for side effects and why I won’t be using them again, even though I really like them….one of my springers – 5 years old – began having strange episdoes which the vet has identified as some sort of seizure. He doesn’t flop or anything like that…he actually appears to go blind and loses his balance for roughly 45 minutes during each incident. The vet and I believe that one of the ingredients in the collar is causing these episodes. I’ve taken the collars off the dogs and the episdoes have ceased. Could of course be coincidence, but I’m not willing to take that chance, no matter how well the collars work.

    hope this helps!


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