Heart Disease in Newfoundland Dogs Focus of Newly Funded Study

A new grant aims to provide insight into the genetics that cause subvalvular Aortic stasis (SAS) found in Newfoundland dogs. A team of veterinarians from Michigan State University is carrying out the research, which the Morris Animal Foundation funds.

Led by Dr. Vilma Yuzbasiyan, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Small Animal Clinical Sciences and the project’s principal investigator The study will use advanced genetic tools to determine the genetic causes of SAS within Newfoundland dogs. If the study is successful, results can be used to screen genetically dogs for the disease and help make breeder selections.

“SAS is a devastating and puzzling disease – devastating for the dogs and their families and puzzling for the geneticists, ” said Dr. Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan. “We believe that our advanced genomics and genetics methods can provide helpful and clear answers, and provide the genetic cause of this disease. We are grateful to partner with Newfoundland Club of America Charitable Trust and Morris Animal Foundation to achieve this objective.”

Subvalvular aortic stenosis can be an extremely congenital heart condition that can be found in dogs. Certain breeds are prone to SAS and this including Newfoundland dogs. SAS is defined by the formation of abnormal tissue that blocks the circulation of blood away from the heart. Animals suffering from the disease usually have shorter lives and can suffer sudden deaths. The current treatment options are limited to medicines to increase health.

“Understanding the genetics of this serious disease could lead to advances in diagnostic tests and help inform breeding decisions, eventually leading to fewer dogs suffering,” said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Morris Animal Foundation Vice President of Scientific Operations. “Results from this study could have implications for all dog breeds affected by SAS.”

About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation’s purpose is to connect science and resources to enhance animals’ welfare. It was established in 1948 and is located in Denver It is among the largest non-profit organizations for research in animal health around the globe, supplying over $149 million for over 3,000 studies that are critical to many species. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org.