Research projects 2015

The following veterinary medical research projects have been awarded financial support by the AniCura Research Fund in 2015.

“Development of mitral insufficiency in the Norfolk Terrier”, Anna Bodegård, DVM, MD, AniCura Albano Djursjukhus, Stockholm, Sweden

The Norfolk Terrier runs about six times higher risk of a visit to a veterinarian due to a heart-related disease than the average dog breed. This research project has evaluated the prevalence of mitral and tricuspid valve leakage in 81 Norfolk Terriers. 56% of the dogs showed leakage over one or both valves.

Mitral valve leakage can be an indicator of MMVD (Myxomatous Mitral Valve Degeneration). It is the most common cardiac disease in dogs and can cause heart failure. The project intends to follow dogs with mild valve leakage and see what share that go on living without symptoms and what share that develop heart failure and at what age in order to gain a better overview of the disease in the Norfolk Terrier breed.

“Gene therapy for dogs with epilepsy: The first clinical trials”, Rikke Fast, DVM, PhD, AniCura Aarhus Dyrehospital, Aarhus, Denmark

1-2 % of dogs suffer from epilepsy. A large proportion of the dogs do not respond properly to medical treatment, and consequently epileptic dogs are often euthanized to the distress of their owners.

Gene therapy is a new type of treatment where therapeutic genes are administered into specific brain regions whereby the brain cells are able to stop the epilepsy in a localized biological manner.

In the present project, we will for the first time perform gene therapy in dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy to test whether gene therapy can be a new treatment for these dogs. It is our hope that this novel treatment will prove to be efficient for dogs with epilepsy and that this will potentially save the lives of dogs that have no other treatment available.

“Phenotypic classification of breed related myelopathies in Pugs”, Cecilia Rohdin, DVM, Dipl ECVN, AniCura Albano Djursjukhus, Stockholm, Sweden

Wobbly pugs have been recognized in the Swedish pug breed for several decades and seem to be a prevalent problem, not only in Sweden but worldwide. As advanced imaging has become available in veterinary neurology several neurological conditions have been recognized to occur more commonly in the pug breed.

For several decades a neurological disorder called PMP has been noted in Pugs of both sexes in Sweden. The disease has a slowly progressive, fairly predictable clinical course, ultimately leading to paraplegia, at what point the affected Pugs drag themselves forward with their front limbs. The disease is not associated with pain and affected Pugs are usually euthanized at some stage.

The study aims to clearer define PMP, assess the prevalence of the disorder and study both pathological and genetic indicators of PMP.

“Seroprevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) antibodies in clinical healthy dogs in South-east Sweden”, Mikael Svensson, DVM, AniCura Läckeby Djursjukhus, Kalmar, Sweden

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a disease that can affect both humans and dogs. A virus causes the disease that infects its victim through tick-bites. TBE can cause severe disease with symptoms originating mainly from the nervous system (e.g. the brain). In 2012, Sweden reached an all-time high record number with 288 human cases reported.

The aim of the project is to investigate if dogs in southeast Sweden have been infected with TBE-virus. Findings indicate that a large proportion of dogs had been infected with other tick-borne diseases like Borrelia, but none showed evidence of TBE-virus infection.

“Evaluation of whole blood hemostasis with thromboelastography in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with different severities of myxomatous mitral valve disease”, Josefine Öberg, DVM, Dipl ECVCP, AniCura Regiondjursjukhuset Bagarmossen, Stockholm, Sweden

Coagulation (blood clotting) has a big impact on the animal health. 
In Cavalier King Charles Spaniels two inherited disorders are commonly seen, both possibly altering coagulation status.

Since a few years an instrument called TEG has been validated for use in dogs. TEG measures all blood component involved in coagulation.

This project investigates if cavaliers with heart failure had an increased coagulation status, if macrothrombocytosis (one of the disorders) affects coagulation or if there was any other factors influencing coagulation in cavaliers possible to detect with the TEG.

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