Canine Genetics Centre researchers collaborate with specialist veterinary neurologist to identify genetic cause of dog’s illness.

Most of the researchers who work in the Canine Genetics Centre (CGC) are geneticists and we regularly collaborate with colleagues from the veterinary profession to ensure that we fully understand the diseases that we investigate, and that the dogs we include in our investigations have been robustly diagnosed.

As well as collaborating with specialists from the University of Cambridge Veterinary School, we also collaborate with vets from other institutions. An example of such a collaboration is our genetic investigations of Cookie (not the dog’s real name). Cookie was a case submitted to us by Max Foreman, a specialist neurologist formerly based at Fitzpatrick Referrals and now at Granta Veterinary Specialists – a new independent multidisciplinary veterinary specialist referral hospital in Linton, Cambridgeshire.

Max has a special interest in inherited and metabolic neurological disorders and he recognised that the condition that Cookie was suffering from was likely to be inherited, as it has been reported to have a genetic basis in humans. DNA from Cookie was sent to the CGC, who sequenced his entire genome (all 2.4 thousand million nucleotides of DNA) and are currently analysing the sequence data to find the causal variant. If successful, we will be able to develop a DNA test that will help dog breeders avoid breeding more dogs with this condition. And information about the gene involved might also help inform Cookie’s treatment.