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German Shepherds and Fibrotic Myopathy

Anyone who has watched a dog suffer with fibrotic myopathy knows that it is a life-changing debilitating condition that almost exclusively affects the German Shepherd Dog. This disease results in scarring and contracture of specific muscles in one or both thighs that interferes with normal limb function. There are no curative treatments and affected animals have permanent hind limb lameness. Fibrotic myopathy is likely a recessive Mendelian disease with a simple mode of inheritance.

Investigation of the genetic cause of this disease is urgently needed.

Our research is expected to lead to a genetic test to identify dogs that will be affected with fibrotic myopathy and identify treatment targets for future interventional therapy.

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Thanks To Our Recent Donors!

Every gift makes a difference – Thank you!

Welcome to our crowdfunding page and thank you so much for supporting the Comparative Genetics Laboratory at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Our Project Goal

Our initial goal is to raise $4,000 towards whole genome sequencing of one German Shepherd Dog affected with fibrotic myopathy and one unaffected control German Shepherd Dog. Each dog genome is 2.3 gigabases in size and sequencing costs ~$2,000/dog.

Sequencing two dogs is the first phase of our work.

Every financial gift gives you the opportunity to make an important contribution towards DNA sequencing to support the first steps of this vital German Shepherd research.

Why is whole genome sequencing necessary?

Over the last several years, whole genome sequencing has drastically decreased in price. This technological revolution has opened many new opportunities to study the genetic basis of important rare diseases, such as fibrotic myopathy. Our laboratory has recently undertaken assembly of a German Shepherd Dog reference genome that is distinct from the current available canine reference genome based on the Boxer.

We expect this breed-specific reference will help us find the fibrotic myopathy mutation in the German Shepherd Dog breed.

Whole genome sequencing of fibrotic myopathy case and control dogs is now needed to identify the causal mutation, develop predictive genetic tests, and identify potential treatment targets for future interventional therapy.