The Irish Wolfhound Foundation

COMPLETED - Startle Disease: A New Genetic Disorder in Irish Wolfhounds

Affected Puppy

Affected Puppy

Study Start Date: 03-08-2012
Study End Date: 03-27-2013
Enrollment Status: CLOSED to new enrollment
Lead Researcher(s): Prof. Robert J. Harvey, PhD and Nathan Sutter, PhD

Short video of IW puppies affected by Startle Disease.

A new genetic disorder known as startle disease has recently been identified in Irish Wolfhounds from the USA. Dogs with startle disease have a low birth weight, muscle stiffness, tremor on handling and difficulty breathing. Professor Robert J. Harvey (UCL School of Pharmacy, London) and Prof. Diane Shelton (UCSC, San Diego) recently found the causative mutation for this disorder - a deletion in the gene encoding a glycine transporter called GlyT2. Carriers of the GlyT2 gene deletion show no discernable clinical differences from normal animals. The Irish Wolfhound Society has recently funded a new study on this disorder. Prof. Harvey will apply a new diagnostic PCR test to screen the >400 archived DNA sample in the Irish Wolfhound DNA bank, held by Prof. Nate Sutter (Cornell University) to determine the frequency of startle disease carriers in these samples.

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