A MEETING OF MINDS TO TACKLE CANINE GLAUCOMA
This year has got off to a strong start in research terms with one example being that of the collaborative efforts of our clinical ophthalmology and canine genetics services to investigate primary glaucoma in dogs.
Primary glaucoma is a painful and blinding disease associated with pathologically high intraocular pressure. Sadly, medical and surgical treatments for primary glaucoma are ultimately usually unsuccessful and most affected dogs will require removal of their eyes on welfare grounds.
The most common form of canine primary glaucoma in the UK is primary angle closure glaucoma which has been shown to be significantly associated with goniodysgenesis, an abnormality affecting the iridocorneal angle of the eye. The disease is highly heritable and affects at least 1,500 dogs in the UK each year and thus has a major impact on canine welfare. Commonly affected breeds in the UK include the Flatcoated Retriever, Basset Hound, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, American Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel.
James Oliver, one of our ophthalmologists has teamed up with Dr. Cathryn Mellersh, our Head of Canine Genetics, to investigate the disease in these breeds. During the course of the project James will perform eye examinations on large numbers of dogs of these different breeds and collect DNA samples, in the form of cheek swabs, from them. The team will then use sophisticated DNA technologies to identify mutations likely to be causative of disease.
Eventually, they hope to be able to develop genetic tests based on the mutations they identify, that will enable disease prevalence to be effectively reduced and thus decrease the welfare impact this disease has on our canine friends.
If you know of cases that might help this research or would like further information on the project then please contact James Oliver ate firstname.lastname@example.org.