College of Veterinary Medicine

From the Dean

Boxer Cardiomyopathy Deciphered

by Bryan 10. June 2009 17:28

Boxer cardiomyopathy is one of numerous genetically based heart diseases that affect companion animals.  More correctly, this disease is  Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, which usually leads to poor heart function and ventricular tachyarrhythmias (rapidly occurring abnormal heart beats) that can lead to sudden death.

Our College of Veterinary Medicine is fortunate to have on its faculty Dr. Kate Meurs, who leads the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Laboratory (VCGL).  The focus of this laboratory is on uncovering the genetic basis for heart disease in cats and dogs.  Recently, Dr. Meurs and her colleagues determined the gene mutation responsible for Boxer cardiomyopathy.  Her strategy was insightful -- she hypothesized that the causative gene would be similar to the ones associated with a parallel disease in humans.  In humans, this disease is thought to be due to mutations in proteins associated with a cellular structure known as desmosomes, which are important for holding cells together in tissues and, in tissues like the heart, electrical conduction.

Dr. Meurs' studies led her to discover that the mutation that causes this disease in Boxers is in a protein known as striatin.  Not much is known about this protein, which means that Dr. Meurs not only is in a position to help Boxers and their owners by testing for this disease, but she also is now in a position to pursue basic studies of this protein and its role in cardiac function and disease.

This was elegant clinical (or to use the more modern term, translational) science, and it is a great example of what can happen when a dedicated veterinary clinician also becomes a dedicated veterinary biomedical scientist.  But as cool as the science was, at the end of the day, this is all about helping prevent a fatal disease in Boxers.

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Comments (29) -

6/11/2009 6:34:12 AM #

sharon fitzgerald

hi, my seven year old boxer bitch has cardyomyopathy, she has lost wait , though still eating well, she has a fluid build up in the adomin, but no cough, she is on frusemide 40mg vetmedin 5mg fortikor one half per day she is going into her 7th month now, how many frusemide can i give her to try to get the fluid down , is ther better medication that she can take,

sharon fitzgerald United Kingdom

6/15/2009 10:06:15 AM #

Software-won't-let-me-enter-Bryan

Sharon, we (and me in particular) cannot provide consultation in this forum, but I have passed your note on to the appropriate clinical cardiology faculty, who I hope have responded to you by now.

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6/23/2009 3:39:54 PM #

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I've always been fond of the boxer breed, however the heart problems and early death always kept me from having them. The breed of dog I do have, thankfully, has very few heart health problems. It sounds like this study could truly help out a wonderful breed become healthier.

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6/30/2009 1:22:17 PM #

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A friend just lost her 7 boxer due to cardio. She was diagnosed as a 4 year old. Horrible to loose a dog so young. Here's hoping for great success with your study!!

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7/3/2009 4:28:54 AM #

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This was elegant clinical (or to use the more modern term, translational) science, and it is a great example of what can happen when a dedicated veterinary clinician also becomes a dedicated veterinary biomedical scientist

Thanks

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7/5/2009 11:29:12 PM #

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Its a very inspiring article.thanks for sharing

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7/5/2009 11:30:45 PM #

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7/9/2009 6:37:27 AM #

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Nice work..Kudos for putting this out..

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7/9/2009 11:54:20 AM #

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Heart disease is becoming a huge problem in the U.S. too many people are getting obese and worse yet, heart strokes. It is sad to see kids under 13 years old even have strokes or even heart diseases.

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7/10/2009 11:42:39 AM #

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I had no idea that animals could get conditions like this.  It's so sad, but at least we are coming up with things to help prevent it.

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7/11/2009 12:56:58 AM #

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This was elegant clinical (or to use the more modern term, translational) science, and it is a great example of what can happen when a dedicated veterinary clinician also becomes a dedicated veterinary biomedical scientist

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7/13/2009 12:57:09 AM #

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I hope with this elegant clinic can help many people and be good clinic.
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7/14/2009 10:12:12 AM #

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If there isn't much know about the gene then how will a comprehensive test be done for it. heart disease took my cat so I look forward to your findings.

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7/14/2009 12:18:22 PM #

Bryan

Dr. Meurs knows the DNA sequence of the mutated gene, so she can screen for that abnormal sequence.  This forms the basis of a diagnostic test for the presence of the abnormal gene.

Knowing what the protein produced by the gene does is a separate issue in understanding the undelying biology and pathology of the disease.  However, this information is not needed to screen for the presence of the abnormal gene.

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7/14/2009 6:57:26 PM #

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This was affected analytic (or to use the added avant-garde term, translational) science, and it is a abundant archetype of what can appear back a committed veterinary analyst

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7/14/2009 6:58:36 PM #

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This was affected analytic (or to use the added avant-garde term, translational) science, and it is a abundant archetype of what can appear back a committed veterinary analyst additionally becomes a committed veterinary biomedical scientist

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7/16/2009 2:14:38 PM #

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I agree with your statement..
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7/17/2009 12:04:55 AM #

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i really like boxer, would you explaine me more.

thanks

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7/18/2009 5:40:28 AM #

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To know what the protein produced by made gene is an exit separated by including/understanding biology and pathology undelying from the disease. However, this information is not necessary to examine for the presence of abnormal gene.

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7/18/2009 10:23:48 AM #

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The brand of dog I do have, thankfully, has actual few affection bloom problems. It sounds like this abstraction could absolutely advice out a admirable brand become healthier.

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7/18/2009 2:53:37 PM #

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7/18/2009 3:06:06 PM #

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7/19/2009 2:20:53 AM #

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7/19/2009 3:14:52 AM #

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boxer is my favorite sport

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7/19/2009 4:15:18 AM #

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This article is very interesting.
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7/19/2009 4:15:49 AM #

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7/21/2009 8:50:00 AM #

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7/28/2009 9:17:52 AM #

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horrible.
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7/28/2009 9:19:29 AM #

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horrible.
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