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Investigating Genetics Involved in Glaucoma in Cocker Spaniels

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Glaucoma is one of the most common causes for irreversible blindness and pain in dogs. Primary glaucoma is typically a disease that affects both eyes and its consequences are always heartbreaking. Among all the pure breed dogs, Cocker spaniels are one of the most commonly affected breeds where approximately 5% have glaucoma. 

Primary glaucoma is a multifactorial disease, where breed, gender, age and environmental factors all play a role in its development.

In order to understand the genetics behind primary glaucoma we will compare the genome of normal unaffected Cocker spaniels with primary glaucoma affected Cocker spaniels.

Once we identify the genetic mutation associated with this devastating disease, we will be able to develop genetic tests to recognize genetic carriers and to work on a genetic treatment for primary glaucoma.

Goals: The purpose of this study is to determine the genes/loci mutations that predispose Cocker spaniels to primary glaucoma (specifically, primary angle closure glaucoma-PACG). Once the genetic markers have been identified, we will be able to develop a genetic test to identify genetic carriers.

Eligibility: Normal, unaffected Cocker spaniels must be age 8 or older and have normal intraocular pressures. Affected Cocker spaniels must be age 8 or older with primary glaucoma confirmed by gonioscopy or histopathology to confirm the presence of an angle closure.

Compensation: All eligible dogs brought to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) for an appointment who agrees to participate will have a free, thorough, ophthalmic (eye) examination by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Owner Responsibilities:  We will ask you to bring your dog to the CUHA for a single visit for an ophthalmic exam and to draw a small amount of blood. We can also coordinate receiving results from other veterinary ophthalmologists around the country. You will be responsible for any costs unrelated to the study.

Principal Investigator: Filipe Espinheira, LMV, DACVO

Contact/Schedule an Appointment: Please contact the CUHA ophthalmology service at 607.253.3060 to schedule an appointment.

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