Special THANKS to Sue Pearce-Kelling, President and Manager of OptiGen for the statistics below. DNA testing works! GREAT JOB Breeders and Owners for supporting DNA testing though OptiGen!

OptiGen prcd-PRA Test Statistics in English Cocker Spaniels

For more information on prcd-PRA, visit http://www.optigen.com/opt9_test_prcd_pra.html


I am writing to request your assistance for a research study to investigate the incidence of orofacial clefts (cleft lip, cleft palate, or both) at birth in various breeds of dogs. This study is being performed by professor Santiago Peralta, DVM, DAVDC, and other colleagues in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

The aims of this study are to determine how common clefts are across the 100 most popular dog breeds, and estimate the economic impact. We are interested to see in which breeds the problem is more common, and if there are any associations with certain variables (i.e., skull type, size, geographical location, etc.). We are studying clefts from a clinical, surgical, genetic, and now epidemiological perspective, hoping that someday we can come up with practical recommendations for breeders on how to minimize the incidence.

We would like to anonymously survey breeders to determine how many live births of dogs with cleft lip or palate occurred in their breeding programs over a 12-month period. We are asking breed parent clubs and associated foundations for help distributing the survey and encouraging breeders to participate.

Here is a link to the survey:

Dr. Peralta can be contacted via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My collaborators and I all look forward to working with you.

Best regards,
Nicholas Roman, MA
DVM Candidate
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
(630) 843-1438

Research on Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is ongoing at Texas A&M University. This study is for all breeds. 





As leaders of the Dog Genome Project at the National Human Genome Research Institute(NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we are writing to discuss a possible new collaboration with your breed club.  Our laboratory has a long standing goal of dissecting the role of genomic changes controlling both simple and complex diseases, specifically in the realm of disease susceptibility.

We have recently initiated a new project aimed at identifying the genetic components that increase pancreatic inflammation in purebred dogs, with a particular focus on exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).  As you probably know, EPI is closely related to pancreatitis as it is characterized by insufficient synthesis of digestive enzymes.  While EPI may occur secondarily to repeated pancreatic inflammation, there is substantial evidence for a heritable, breed-specific risk component of the disease.  We aim to identify genetic variants that predispose certain breeds to EPI as a first step in better understanding other more complex pancreatic disorders in dogs.

We are contacting your breed club because of the established risk for this disorder among English Cocker Spaniels.  We are asking for your help in contacting members of the English Cocker community who have had dogs diagnosed with EPI or other pancreatic conditions who are willing to provide DNA samples.  We also need DNA samples of healthy English Cockers, who must be 10 years of age or older.  We will provide DNA collection kits to any owner that elects to participate.  Kits include a one page consent form, materials for collecting blood at their primary veterinarian’s office, and instructions for returning the collected sample.  The kit is provided in a mailer tube approved for shipping biological materials by the U.S. Postal Service.  Samples submitted from dogs with pancreatic disorders should also include a copy of relevant veterinary diagnostic results.  Any diagnostic method will be useful, although “SNAP” test of enzyme activity and blood chemistry are ideal.  Cytology and histopathology can also be accepted.  Pedigree information is also great appreciated, if available.  Participation in the study and any information provided to us will remain strictly confidential and samples are only identified by coded numbers.

Our laboratory has had many productive relationships with breed clubs like yours that have resulted in the identification of genes for various types of cancer, retinal disease, and other disorders.  All of this work is based on our successful published efforts to both build tools and analyze sequence analysis from the canine genome.  In the last 25 yrs, our research has proven critical for improving the health of purebred dogs.

Elaine A. Ostrander, Ph.D.
Chief and Distinguished Investigator
Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health

*Edited for republication


Andrew Hogan [C] Samples Manager
Dog Genome Project, NIH/NHGRI
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office: (301) 451-9390 Fax: (301) 594-0023
Bldg.50, Room 5347
50 South Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892

Dr. Dayna Dreger, Project lead scientist, will answer questions related to the study. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you’d like to learn more about the Dog Genome Project and their work visit their website: http://research.nhgri.nih.gov/dog_genome



What is ITP?

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP also known as IMT) causes spontaneous bleeding and bruising because the body destroys its own normal blood platelets. This is an autoimmune disease that typically develops in adult dogs. Although Cocker Spaniels have an increased risk for ITP, the environmental and genetic causes remain unknown. Our goal is to identify immune and genetic factors that cause ITP so that we can improve disease diagnosis and treatment. Your dog’s blood samples will help us accomplish these goals. Thank you for your support!

For questions, please contact: Dr. Dana LeVine This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dr. Marjory Brooks This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Marjory Brooks, DVM, DACVIM            
Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory            
Cornell University
Dana LeVine, DVM, DACVIM, PhD
Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Iowa State University

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