Canine Health Foundation Grant #01591

August 24, 2020 / 5 mins read

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic, allergic skin condition that causes severe itching. Indeed, it has been estimated that approximately 8% of all dogs that present to their veterinarian do so because of clinical signs due to AD. Affected dogs scratch and rub their skin, causing damage to the skin and frequently causing bacterial or yeast infections. Treatment focuses on appropriate antibiotic therapy of infections, and controlling the allergic response, but AD cannot be cured and so owners and their pets face a lifelong struggle to control the signs. There is evidence that AD is a hereditary problem, and it is extremely common in the West Highland White Terrier (WHWT) in which it was estimated to affect 15% of all dogs. In preliminary work we have collected DNA on over 200 dogs, including affected and normal WHWT in addition to affected dogs of other breeds. We propose to use this DNA to perform a genome wide association study of AD in WHWT to identify chromosomal regions associated with the disease. The long-term goal is to develop genetic tests that can be used by breeders to decrease the prevalence of this condition.