The International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance is excited to announce a HUGE step in our battle against GSDIVA (German Shepherd Dog Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia)!
What is GSDIVA?
German Shepherd Dog Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia (GSDIVA) is an inherited heart condition in the GSD breed affecting the ability of the heart to efficiently conduct the electrical impulses that cause it to contract. This can cause arrhythmia or tachycardia that can lead to death. This disease is a puppy/ adolescent dog issue as, by the time the dog reaches approximately 24 months old, the heart fibers have matured, conduction has corrected, all or most signs of arrhythmia are gone and the threat of sudden death is diminished.
After implementing a very extensive holter screening program for our breeding stock 8 years ago, we felt that we were making progress in our attempt to eradicate this disease from our gene pool. Recently, however we have encountered some incidences that have led us to believe that this is a much more complex issue than we first thought.
OUR RESEARCH PROJECT
In order to address these concerns, The International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance (ISSA), in conjunction with Dr. Kathryn Meurs at North Carolina State University is conducting a research study into the possible identification of the genes responsible for GSDIVA.
Dr. Meurs is a leading researcher in this area and has published many papers on this subject. Due to the advances in DNA sequencing since many of the last studies were conducted, Dr. Meurs feels that these causative genes may be identified through sequencing the DNA of affected dogs and then comparing with DNA from unaffected dogs.
Initially samples from a small group of carefully selected individuals were submitted for sequencing. Several areas are showing some promise on which they would like to do more in depth sequencing Through this research we are hopeful that we will get some answers as to how this devastating disease is manifested.
We are now at a point in the research that we would like to assist NCSU with the costs involved with this research which is why we have initiated this fundraising effort. We are reaching out not only to our own ISSA community but to other registries for contribution and co-operation as we all have a dog in this fight, and all will benefit from the information gathered through this research.
The goal of this research project is to identify the causative genes involved in GSDIVA which will lead to a DNA test to identify individuals carrying the genes. With that knowledge, we could make more informed decisions in our breeding selections. It may be something as simple as knowing where modifier genes lie and not doubling those up. Who knows? But we are on the right path to figuring things out.
Our fundraising goal is $10,000. This will allow us to do more in depth sequencing in the five individuals that are showing the most promise in unique genes in this area.
We are hoping that we will get the needed support to move this very important research forward with the means to a healthier future for our breed. 100% of funds collected will be sent to NCSU in support of this research. Very exciting times for our breed!
Note: Since ISSA falls under the 501c category (non-profit) all donations are tax deductible and can be claimed as a charitable donation.