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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone interested in participating in a study on GSDs? Here's some info:

"IgA deficiency in German Shepherd Dogs

Immunoglobulins (Ig) are proteins produced by the immune system, which help to prevent and fight infectious diseases. Four classes of immunoglobulins are known: IgG, IgM, IgA, and IgE. They have different biochemical structures and are specialized for different tasks. Immunoglobulin A is important in protecting mucosal surfaces of the body, including the respiratory, intestinal and urogenital tract.

There is evidence that IgA deficiency might be inherited. Dog breeds that are affected include German Shepherd Dogs, Chinese Shar Peis, Beagles, Irish Wolf Hounds, and Cocker Spaniels. ... We are looking for purebred German Shepherd Dogs at least 12 months of age from multi-generational family groups. ..."


The following web site has more information, and contact info. information.shtml

I'm going to participate with Jak, even though he doesn't currently show any signs of the disease. They need both dogs that do show signs and dogs that don't, so they'll have a comparison basis. You have to collect 4 fecal samples at specific times, and send those, along with 5mL of blood, to the group doing the study (they pay shipping and send you all the necessary materials).

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2,452 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
More Info

They're sending out our test kit in the mail today. Here's the e-mail I got from them that explains it a little more, for anyone interested:

Thank you for your willingness to participate in our study concerning Immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency in German Shepherd Dogs. Since I don't know if you already have all the information about the study I'll give you a brief overview. Additionally, I will attach some information about Immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency in German Shepherd Dogs.

The purpose of our study is to investigate whether IgA Deficiency in German Shepherd Dogs is an inherited condition and whether a genetic marker for its early detection can be developed.
Dogs that we enroll are arranged according to their phenotype concerning gastrointestinal and general health status. Therefore, for each dog being enrolled in the study we need its owner to fill out an IgA study Questionnaire in order to provide us with specific information about the dog. Furthermore, four fecal samples of each dog collected in a specific manner need to be submitted to test the dog's fecal IgA concentration. According to the Instructions for Sample Submission that are provided with the test kit, one gram of fecal sample needs to be collected at first morning exercise on each of two consecutive days and in the same manner 4 weeks later. Since fecal IgA decreases rapidly under refridgeration as well as at room temperature, after collection samples should be frozen as soon as possible and until they will be send off to us.
In order to extract DNA for the ultimate genetic study, from each dog that will be enrolled we need to have approximately 5 ml of whole blood (using EDTA as anticoagulant) drawn by a veterinarian. There is not a specific time when the blood sample has to be drawn during the fecal collection cycle. However, since the DNA amount - what we call the DNA yield - decreases very rapidly after blood withdrawal regardless of the storage conditions, it would be best to schedule the blood collection close to or around the same time as the last fecal collection. After withdrawal the blood sample has to be stored in the fridge (4º C) until send off.
Pre-weight fecal sample collection tubes as well as EDTA-blood collection tubes are provided. Regarding the shipment, we will provide packages and ice-packs that can be used to submit the samples, and we will pay for the shipment itself (DHL overnight).
Additionally, an Informed Owner Consent form needs to be filled out and signed for each dog, and sent accompanying the samples.
Pedigrees are very helpful with genetic studies, especially with individuals enrolled deriving from the same line. Thus, we would be grateful if copies of pedigrees would be submitted as well. But providing a pedigree is not a requirement to participate in the study.

Please note, that there is no compensation for participating in this study. However, we can offer you to run canine serum Trypsin-Like Immunoreactivity (cTLI) for exocrine pancreatic function testing, serum cobalamin and folate with either serum from the submitted whole blood sample or better from a separate serum sample.

Since we are still looking for colored German Shepherd Dogs and White Shepherd Dogs to enroll in this study, I am very much interested in enrolling your dog.

If you are interested in participating, please reply via email and I will send you all the forms and instructions as well as the test kits. Therefore, please provide a mailing address as well.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

We very much appreciate your interest in this study!
Thank you in advance!

Niels Gruetzner,
Research Assistant
Gastrointestinal Laboratory
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4474
(979) 458 - 2293
[email protected]
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