A total of £10,000 has been raised by dog lovers to fund research project on Addison’s disease – a disorder of the adrenal glands that affects dogs and humans alike. The disease is characterised by the inability to produce hormones called mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids, which can prevent the body from functioning properly. This results in weakness, dehydration, low blood pressure, depression, heart toxicity, vomiting, blood in faeces and weight loss, and eventually leads death if not treated.
Some dog breeds – such as Bearded Collies, Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, West Highland White Terriers, Rottweilers, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers and their crosses – are believed to be more susceptible to Addison’s disease, but other breeds and crosses are not immune.
The research project, led by Professor Brian Catchpole, Professor of Companion Animal Immunology at the Royal Veterinary College, has a promising basis: the team has already identified some of the genetic risk factors involved in the disease, and wish 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”.
Professor Catchpole applied for funding from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which granted £25,000 towards the research; the remaining £10,000 was raised by various dog lovers and breed clubs, and the target funding for the research – £30,000 – was even surpassed.
Yvonne Fox, Secretary of the Bearded Collie Joint Breed Liaison Committee, said, “The research into Addison’s 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 Addison’s and autoimmune related research for the benefit of all breeds.”
Images by the Kennel Club.