Urinary stones composed of calcium oxalate (CaOx) are common in dogs. Certain canine breeds have a strikingly high prevalence of disease, while others appear protected. For example, the miniature schnauzer and bichon frise have greater than 20 times the risk of developing CaOx stones compared to mixed breed dogs. Other commonly affected breeds include the shih tzu, lhasa apso, pomeranian, poodle (miniature and toy), dachshund, and terrier (e.g. Yorkshire, Cairn, Jack Russell).
These breed predispositions strongly support underlying genetic risk factors for the disease. Our project currently involves the collection of DNA samples from dogs with a history of CaOx stones (cases) and dogs that have never formed this stone type (controls). We aim to compare the DNA of these two groups to identify genetic determinants of the disease. An understanding of the pathophysiology of CaOx stones is fundamental to the development therapeutic and preventative strategies in canine breeds.
Dogs* with CaOx stones diagnosed at age 5 years or younger are eligible to participate. We would love a small DNA sample that can be collected either at home with cheek swabs or by a veterinarian as a blood sample. It can be sent in from anywhere in the United States. If you are interested in participating, we can send you cheek swab kits or a shipping label at no cost. Please contact us at [email protected].
*For American bulldogs, basset hounds, beagles, Boston terriers, bullmastiffs, English bulldogs, English mastiffs, rottweilers, and Staffordshires we recommend genetic testing for CaOx1 and/or CaOx2.
Minnesota Urolith Center
U of M Veterinary Medical Center's urology service
Dr. Eva Furrow is a Small Animal Internist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and co-director of the Minnesota Urolith Center. She first became interested in the genetic basis of canine diseases when she was an undergraduate at Harvard University. She was offered a summer position in the section of Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. One of her roles that summer included assistance in a study on the genetic muscular disease myotonia congenita in miniature schnauzers. Dr. Furrow later attended the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School where a NIH-Merck grant enabled her to continue research on genetic diseases. Dr. Furrow completed her Internal Medicine residency and PhD at the University of Minnesota and is currently a member of the Canine and equine genetics laboratory. Dr. Furrow's ultimate goal is to find better ways to prevent and treat genetic diseases. She also has a personal attachment to one of the high-risk breeds, as her parents-in-law have always had miniature schnauzers.