Formerly called the Longitudinal Field Studies of Families of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers Affected with Protein-Losing Enteropathy and/or Protein-Losing Nephropathy and the Foundation of a DNA Bank, the Informative Family Project is administered by Dr. Meryl Littman at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with Drs. Urs Giger and Paula Henthorn. The study offers information to add to the important findings from Dr. Shelly Vaden's North Carolina State University (NCSU) Wheagle Colony.
The Informative Family Project collects blood or tissue samples, not just cheek swabs, for the DNA bank from affected animals, their close relatives, and normal (presumably) geriatric animals. The intent is to learn information about pedigrees and phenotype for each dog over its lifetime so that the genotypic information from the Bank will be meaningful.
The Geriatric Dog Project is an important spin-off of the Informative Family Project and has as its primary focus the collection of DNA from healthy senior dogs. All relatively healthy SCWTs (i.e., no signs of PLE/PLN based on the blood and urine screening tests) ages 13 years plus are important to the study.
In contrast to the Wheagle Colony at NCSU, Informative Family participants are out in the field and include additional families from different geographical areas, which may result in different exposures to infections, diets, medications, etc, and various genetic backgrounds. The study follows close relatives of affected animals over their entire lives, and looks for patterns of inheritance, timing of initial abnormalities found on screening tests, progression of disease, and possible effects of early intervention. The project includes three informative families plus the NCSU colony dogs, which brings the total number of participants to approximately 60 dogs in the longitudinal study.
The Longitudinal Field Studies of Families of Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers Affected with Protein-Losing Enteropathy and/or Protein-Losing Nephropathy and the Foundation of a DNA Bank was American Kennel Club - Canine Health Foundation (AKC-CHF) Grant #2279, and as such was funded by matches from the AKC-CHF and the SCWTCA Donor Advised Fund. More recently the Informative Family project has been financed through a private fund at the University of Pennsylvania created in honor of Dr. Littman's kindness and generosity to her clients:
|Please direct questions and information requests to:|
|• Informative Families||Beth Verner|
|• Geriatric Dogs||Kathy McIndoe|
Revised 12/2007 – Links updated 12/2008