Published: 20/01/2015 15:57:11
Can you help our research into Staffordshire Bull Terriers?
The Animal Health Trust is investigating L-2-HGA (L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria), a rare, inherited, condition in Staffordshire Bull Terriers (SBT) and SBT-crosses which affects the central nervous system. Currently very little is known about L-2-HGA, the best treatment options available for affected dogs or what owners should expect.
Clinical signs are usually apparent between six months and one year (although they can appear later) and include epileptic seizures, "wobbly" gait, tremors, muscle stiffness as a result of exercise or excitement and altered behaviour.
Anita Shea, one of our neurologists, is conducting a study to try and find out more about this rare condition to improve the understanding, treatment and diagnosis of the disease. Anita needs owners of dogs which have tested positive for L-2-HGA on the genetic DNA test for the condition to fill out a short questionnaire.
Anita said: “L-2-HGA was first reported in Staffordshires in 2003 but there still isn’t very much known about it. Each time we diagnose a dog with this condition we find ourselves frustrated by the lack of information and advice that we can give its owners, therefore, I’m conducting this study in the hope that the information we receive may help to change this and improve the treatment and care of these animals.
“It’s important that dogs have been identified as affected by L-2-HGA through a positive result from the genetic test. Owners of these dogs, even if their dog is sadly no longer with us, could help to improve several dogs’ lives by filling out the questionnaire which will ask for details about the dog’s health and behaviour.”
It is thought that the neurological effects seen in cases of L-2-HGA, which is a hereditary condition, result from damage to the brain cells due to build-up of L-2- hydroxyglutaric acid in brain tissue and interference with the activity of an enzyme (creatine kinase) within the cerebellum. The age at which dogs are diagnosed with L-2-HGA can vary greatly and while the condition is considered to be progressive, some dogs seem to be more badly affected than others.
Anita continued: “We currently don’t know which features of the condition may help vets predict how the disease will impact on affected dogs and their families, for instance, this condition also affects humans, but while people with L-2-HGA might be more likely to develop cancerous tumours, we currently don’t know if this is the same for dogs.
“We hope to change this by collecting as much information as possible from owners. If enough owners participate in the survey we will increase our understanding of this disease in Staffordshire Bull Terriers considerably and hope the results will ultimately help us to treat affected dogs more effectively and be better able to advise their owners.”
Please fill out the questionnaire here, it will take approximately 10 minutes. Please fill in the questionnaire as accurately as you can, but do not worry if you cannot answer all the questions. All the information you provide will be confidential to the investigators.
Completed questionnaires should be submitted by Friday 6 February.
If you suspect that your dog may be affected by L-2-HGA, a DNA test is available from the Animal Health Trust. Please see more information here.
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