AHDC now offering new test for Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease
A new test identifying dogs most likely to be affected by Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease (SPAID) is now available at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC).
SPAID is the first spontaneously occurring autoinflammatory disease to be described in animals. Severe cases are characterized by recurrent symptoms of inflammation: fever; swollen, painful joints; a condition that causes bubbles containing a clear, jellylike substance on the skin; ear problems and kidney failure. Dogs with SPAID may experience one or more of these problems. There is no vaccine or cure for SPAID, but with veterinary assistance owners can provide their dogs with some relief from the symptoms.
The new test, using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), measures the number of copies of a DNA sequence linked to the risk of developing SPAID signs in an individual Shar-Pei. It was developed by scientists in Sweden and the United States, including Dr. Linda Tintle ’81. The group has spent years unraveling SPAID, first discovering the relevant gene in 2011. They announced their success with ddPCR last year in BMC Genomics. Currently, only Cornell’s AHDC and SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, offer testing for SPAID using this technique.
Tintle, who first began researching SPAID with Cornell immunologists in the 1980s, said positive test results serve two important purposes: “As a health tool, alerting owners to watch their dogs carefully for signs of SPAID, and as a breeding tool, with the aim of reducing the presence of SPAID in the worldwide Shar-Pei population” by not breeding dogs at high risk for SPAID to one another.
The test also may prove useful in studying inflammatory diseases in other animals and humans. “Cornell’s agreement to join in collaborative research into the syndrome will help us learn more about how to help relieve suffering in these dogs and others with inflammatory diseases,” said Tintle.
“We are excited to make this available to the Shar-Pei breeders in the U.S., in collaboration with Dr. Tintle and her colleagues at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,” said Amy Glaser DVM ’87, PhD '95, director of molecular diagnostics at the AHDC.
The new capability is made possible by a gift from the Chinese Shar-Pei Charitable Trust, which has donated $50,000 toward the purchase of advanced testing equipment.
For information on how to submit a blood sample for testing: https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/sects/Molec/spaid.cfm