PRA Research An Important Article
Leona Domino,
Genetic Disease Research

GENETIC RESEARCH CURRENTLY BEING DONE PRA I would like to inform any Papillon owner about genetic/research information to anyone interested in helping our Papillon. Should you encounter the eye disease PRA, (Progressive retinal atrophy) and have a dog that is either blind or going blind, then you will be able to help with the research project of the Papillon Club of America. (PCA) You do not need to be a member of the Papillon Club to help with this research! PRA is an inherited disease that is in the gene pool of dozens of breeds and each breed has a specific set of markers for this disease. Dogs with prcd-form of PRA will become obvious with the examination of the retina , generally by 3-5 years of age. It has been recognized as late as 9-10 years however. Of course the dog has been bred by this time therefore the disease is being perpetuated without the breeders knowledge. Carriers of the disease can remain hidden for generations, thereby increasing the likelihood of spreading blindness.

WE NEED A TEST for this disease.In order to develop PRA, a dog inherits two copies of the defective gene: one from its dam, one from its sire. The parents may be normal eyed in appearance. Two of these genes in a dog causes the disease. There is no treatment, no cure, and no way to stop it short of a test for the genetic trait.In order to find the markers for the disease in Papillons, the PCA has entered into a research contract with Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones of Michigan State University. The PCA has given $11,300 this year and another similar amount is to be given next year. This money is MATCHED by the AKC Canine Health Fund.If you have a dog that has been diagnosed with PRA (this is why we need to have our dogs periodically examined by a Veterinarian Opthalmologist) then you can help with Dr. Petersen-Jones research and the PCA will be indebted to you.
Remember: ALL SAMPLES OF BLOOD SUBMITTED ARE CONFIDENTIAL. NO COMMITTEE MEMBER WILL KNOW ABOUT ANY SAMPLES OR THE RESULTS OF THE TESTS.What Dr. Jones needs are blood samples from affected dogs (dogs WITH the disease), siblings, parents and/or offpsring of the affected dogs. In other words dogs directly related to the affected dog. He will be looking at these samples and trying to discover the gene markers responsible for the disease. If the source is found, there will then be a test developed for all the Papillons that will prove the dog to be clear, affected OR a carrier. You need NOT be a member of the Papillon Club of America. In fact anyone confronting this debilitating disease that is able to contribute blood to the research project will be giving invaluable data to help eliminate PRA in our Papillons.

Message from Dr. Petersen-Jones:

"Thank you for agreeing to help with our research into PRA in Papillons. our aim in this work is to be able to identify the gene mutation that causes PRA. This will allow us to develop a genetic test to enable the eradication of PRA in Papillons. At Michigan State University we have considerable experience in looking for Gene defects in dogs."
Dr. Petersen-Jones was responsible for the identification of the gene defect for PRA in Cardigan Welsh Corgis and development of a DNA-test (this is offered from Michigan State University)
Send the following:

1)- blood collected in a citrate blood tube (or EDTA blood tube) We would ideally like to have 10 cc of blood. Clearly label the blood tubes with the identity of the dog. Use a cooler pack to keep tubes cool. Place tubes in ziplock plastic bags and packed in a small package to protect during delivery.
2)-A pedigree of the dog sampled. Please indicate the relationship to PRA-affected dogs or known PRA-carriers.( This would be offspring of a known PRA dog)
3)- Enclose a copy of the latest CERF or eye exam done by the doctor to varify your dog's eye disease.
4)- Please fill in the information form for Michigan State. Note: This form is obtainable from address below (see signature)
5)- Mail your samples with the completed forms-avoid arriving on a week end.
Mail to:
Dr. Petersen-Jones (PRA Research)
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Michigan State University
D-2087 Veterinary MEdical Center
East Lansing, MI 48824

Other Ways you can help:

If you know of anyone with a PRA-affected Papillon, or close relatives to these affected dogs who would be willing to help in this study please give them the details as given here, or contact Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones personally.Donations to help with research are tax deductible and all donations will be
MATCHED by the AKC Canine Health Fund if sent in this manner:Make out check to: AKC Canine Health Fund write in DONOR FUND at the bottom of the check
Send to: Sandy Schumacher
34127 13 Ave S
Great Falls, MNT 59405Cheek swabs can be sent (need four cheek swabs per dog) as a second choice.
Blood offers better quality of DNA. However the bottom line is getting a
cheek swab from an important dog is much better than getting no sample.
If you wish cheek swabs and information on how to send these samples, write
to :

Dr. Petersen-Jones,
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Michigan State Unviersity
D-208 Veterinary Medical Cener
East Lansing, MI 48824
If you need the form to send with your specimans, please contact me in private and I will attach it to your mail.
Submitted respectfully,
Leona Domino,
Genetic Disease Research