Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Loss

This is for Parker, one of the beloved dogs belonging to a member of the lymphangiectasia support group.

Rest in peace, little one.  You are free now.

Research Study at Cornell needs Yorkie participants

Researchers at Cornell University are seeking Yorkies to participate in a study which seeks to better understand the genetics of protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) in the breed.  Lymphangiectasia is classed as a PLE and is known to be genetically transmitted in Yorkshire Terriers and certain other breeds.

The researchers will examine blood samples from healthy Yorkies as well as from Yorkies with a verified diagnosis of PLE.  They will send a kit for you to take to your veterinarian for collection of samples, along with a package for mailing the samples back to them.

If you have a healthy Yorkie or a Yorkie with a confirmed diagnosis of lymphangiectasia, you may be eligible to assist Cornell with their study.  Eligible dogs must have a known pedigree of at least three generations.

A flyer is available here 

This research is a collaboration between Dr. Nathan Sutter
PhD, Dr. Kenneth Simpson BVM&S, PhD, and Dr.
Melanie Craven BVM.
Please contact or 607-253-3592.

Please note that this is not an offer of free diagnostics.  The research team will examine samples for genetic information and is not able to tell you if your dog has PLE.  Please see your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has this disease.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lymphangiectasia and eye disease?

None of the literature I have read has talked about eye disease in conjunction with lymphangiectasia in dogs.  However, it seems to happen in humans with the disease.

Louie has eye problems and the ophthalmologist at UC Davis could not really tell us exactly what was wrong.  He thought the problem is "autoimmune in nature" but could offer little more than this.

Interestingly, it appears that his eyesight may be improving alongside some of his other symptoms.  I recently discontinued his cyclosporine for a few weeks, and started it again when he developed skin problems.  His eyes also worsened while he was not on the drug, and have gotten a bit better since starting it again.

This disease, along with the vaccine induced disease, poses such mysteries.  I would love to see some of these questions answered.

If you have a dog who has lymphangiectasia and eye problems, leave a comment, or drop me an e-mail.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cyclosporine use in Lymphangiectasia

Several weeks ago I was asked about our use of cyclosporine for the treatment of lymphangiectasia.  I did not have information at my fingertips then, but have recently stumbled again upon a WSAVA presentation from 2007 which talks about its use in treating intestinal disease.  Specifically, the paper states:

"A recently published study documented the therapeutic benefit of cyclosporine (5 mg/kg SID for dogs with IBD refractory to prednisone therapy. "

A footnote, for those with access to the scientific literature, points to a study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (which I haven't read) from 2006, cited as: Allenspach K, et al. J Vet Intern Med 2006;20(2):239-44.  I'll be taking a look at this study next week when I'm back at work, where I am able to download journal articles.

The WSAVA paper also talks about why the use of medium-chain triglycerides is no longer being recommended.  This is not to suggest that anyone should stop using them if they're having success, but rather to reassure those folks like me who wondered why they weren't told to use them.  The WSAVA paper is available at this link:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thoughts about diet

My thoughts today are centered around food.  (Aren't they always?)  It's so important to remember that the biggest key to management is a very low fat diet.  Many so-called "low fat" diets are not anywhere near low enough, in my experience.  Adding treats and toppers to the diet, switching out ingredients, giving rawhide or any chews that might contain fatty material, all of this needs to be strictly avoided.  I've heard of people strictly regulating diets but giving rawhide, which is full of fat.  It's important to think of everything that goes into your dog's mouth in terms of its fat potential.

I can't stress enough that even small amounts of fat can trigger a relapse or worsening of the disease, so vigilance over the diet is very important.