Study for Autoimmune Diseases Asking for Volunteers:

Histocompatability alleles conferring susceptibility to canine diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. (CHF GRANT #305)

Autoimmune diseases cause significant amounts of mortality and debilitating disease in dogs. In humans many autoimmune diseases occur only in individuals expressing one of the few predisposing histocompatibility genes. For example, all cases of type I diabetes in humans are associated with only a few of the many alleleic forms of class II histocompatibility genes. Consequently, if the frequencies of these few alleles were reduced by half, the incidence of diabetes would be reduced by half. Here we propose to characterize histocompatibility susceptibility alleles for three major, heritable canine autoimmune diseases - diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. If any of these three debilitating (or lethal) autoimmune diseases have a restricted number of susceptibility alleles it will allow: (1) development of diagnostic tests for identifying individuals at risk for prophylactic therapy and research and (2) reducing the incidence of the disease by reducing the breeding of individuals carrying the predisposing histocompatibility alleles. For each of the three autoimmune diseases, we propose to collect DNA samples from approximately 100 purebred dogs diagnosed with the disease. Histocompatibility genes will be cloned and sequenced for each dog for a total of approximately 1100 sequences. Histocompatiility alleles will be tested for significant associations with each of the autoimmune diseases.

Interested owners with dogs diagnosed with any of the three diseases should contact Wayne Potts ( or Linda Morrison (801-585-9678) at the University of Utah. We will then send out a DNA collection packet that will require the owner or the veterinarian to conduct a cheek swab to be returned along with the veterinarian assurance that the dog has been diagnosed with one of the three diseases. 

The minimum diagnostic criteria for each disease is:

Diabetes: Fasting Blood Glucose greater than 120ug/ml
Autoimmune mediated hemolytic anemia: Positive (disease state) for Auto Agglutination of RBC, Direct Coomb’s Test and Spherocytosis of RBC.
Autoimmune -mediated thyroiditis: Low Total/Free T4 by Equilibrium Dialysis (<11pmol/L) and positive for thyroglobulin auto-antibodies.

There will be no cost to the owner with the exception that many veterinarians do not conduct the thyroglobulin auto-antibodies test during the diagnosis of thyroiditis. This project will be unable to fund this test if it has not already been conducted. The PI is Dr. Wayne Potts, and his email is

Wayne K. Potts
University of Utah
Department of Biology
257 S 1400 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801 585 9677 (Off) 9678 (Lab) 581 4668 (Fax) 

Download the Consent Form for AKC Canine 
Health Foundation Research Project HERE.


Best Regards, JP Yousha
Chair, H&W, GDCA

Permission to reprint as submitted for educational purposes is given. 
Submitted by JP Yousha, Chair, H&W Committee, GDCA 2004.


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