Our mission is to support medical research that benefits the health and quality of life of our beloved Yorkshire Terriers. It is the Foundation's intent to provide you with information about Yorkshire Terrier health issues, health projects that the Foundation is funding and other health resources.
The Foundation is run by volunteers who donate their time and effort out of dedication to the Yorkshire Terrier and thus incur no salary-related overhead. The YTCAF's ability to fund needed research depends solely on donations. The Foundation's Board is committed to continue funding the necessary research that in the future will give Yorkshire Terrier the better life they so deserve.
The year 2018 found the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation continuing with the YTCA Parent club to co-fund the Simpson PLE Research project at Cornell University. AKC Canine Health Foundation gave approval to go forward with the grant in late January 2018. Dr. Kenneth Simpson is conducting research to identify the genetic factors that would enable the development of a genetic marker-based risk test for Yorkshire Terriers. This will allow breeders the ability to make informed decisions with the intent of eliminating PLE in the Yorkshire Terrier breed. PLE is a condition of particular interest to Yorkie fanciers because it may be genetic or hereditary. It becomes evident in adult dogs with no way of screening. Treatment can be frustrating and is not always successful. The research will assist clinicians in developing more effective treatments for affected individuals. Currently, we are awaiting to hear about samples sent to Dr. Simpson. The initial funding was provided by the AKC through an ACORN grant. To continue this research and eventually reap the benefits, we needed to step up to the plate. Together, we can do this! As always, we continue to strive for a better quality of life for the current and future generations of our beloved breed.
As Dr. Kenneth Simpson (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, has explained: “Protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) is a severe, life threatening condition in dogs. It is most often a consequence of one or more intestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, lymphoma and lymphangiectasia (dilation of intestinal lymphatics). Yorkshire Terriers are predisposed to development of PLE. Yorkies have up to 10 times the risk for developing PLE as other breeds. Although PLE affects other breeds, it appears that the condition in Yorkshire Terriers may be unique. Intestinal lymphangiectasia has been identified as a cause of PLE in Yorkies in addition to abnormal structures in the intestinal mucosa referred to as crypt cysts. Given the breed-specific familial nature of chronic intestinal diseases and PLE in dogs in general, it is very likely there is a genetic component to PLE in Yorkies (YT-PLE).”
The Rabies Challenge The Rabies Challenge which the Foundation began supporting in 2007, has been a huge success. We have donated $12,500, (some of the monies were matching funds). The Challenge was established to raise money to fund a seven-year study in the United States of the adjuvants used in veterinary rabies vaccines and establish a rabies vaccine adverse reaction reporting system. As we know, the Rabies vaccine is the most powerful of veterinary vaccines. No one wants to over vaccinate their animals, particularly our small Yorkies. The Rabies shot has been known to cause severe reactions. The reactions include seizures, paralysis, crippling, and even death. Our breed has suffered continued side effects, including death, from many vaccines and Rabies in particular. Most breeders still remain cautious of vaccine reactions. Phase I of the study is over and it proved that the Rabies vaccine lasts a minimum of five (5) years. Phase II is proving immunity lasts for at least (7) years. Data is still being analyzed and currently shows the vaccine lasts as long as 6.5 to seven (7) years post vaccination period. Several states have changed their one-year Rabies vaccination requirement in favor of the three-year Rabies vaccine. Eighteen (18) states have now approved some medical exemptions in lieu of the Rabies vaccination. These states are: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For a list of specific exemption rules per state, please visit the Rabies Challenge website. Dr. Jean Dodds, one of the founders of the Rabies Challenge, has notified all thirty (30) veterinary schools of the results of the study thus far.
A joint effort between the YTCA Foundation and our Parent Club, YTCA Health Committee was made to pursue the Memorandum of Agreement through AKC Canine Health Foundation, and commit to the initial payments to co-fund the Simpson PLE Research Project. Dr. Kenneth Simpson at Cornell University is conducting research to identify the genetic factors that would enable the development of a genetic marker-based risk test for Yorkshire Terriers. This would allow breeders to make informed decisions with the intent of eliminating Protein Losing Enteropathy in Yorkies. PLE is a condition of particular interest to Yorkie fanciers because it may be genetic or hereditary. It becomes evident in adult dogs with no way of screening. Treatment can be frustrating and is not always successful. The research will assist clinicians in developing more effective treatments for affected individuals. The initial funding was provided by the AKC through an ACORN grant. To continue this research and eventually reap the benefits, we have committed our efforts to the project.
The Foundation sponsored two new ACORN grants with the AKC Canine Health Foundation. ACORN grants are usually for a term of 18 months or less and many times, successful projects are stepping stones to larger scale studies. The Role of E. Coli Biofilm in Canine Pyometra –Dr. Marco A. Colusinho de Silva, DVM, PHD, Ohio State University Pyometra (uterine infection) is hard to treat because the infection is hard to permeate. Current treatment methods are costly, time-consuming, and not without risk to the bitch. Interestingly, human E. Coli produces a biofilm, a layer of polysaccharide that protects the organism from our immune system as well as antibiotic agents, decreasing the treatment efficacy. Biofilm production by E. Coli within the endometrium of the dog may be responsible for making treatment so difficult. The biofilm production in canine pyometra has not been studied. If successful, demonstration of this biofilm could lead to the development of new therapeutics targeted at disruption of biofilm and resulting in improved treatment.
An Epidemiological Study of Brucella Canis—Tory V. Written, MPH, Minnesota Department of Health. We are very excited as to the timeliness of this important grant. In 2015, there was an increase in the number of rescue dogs identified with canine Brucellosis in Minnesota where, prior to 2015, there had been no cases identified in a dog not used in a breeding program. As many people are aware, there has been an increase of rescue dogs coming in from other countries. A screening test will be used to determine the presence of brucellosis in the blood of sampled dogs, positive samples will be confirmed by further testing. The results of the study will be used to determine prevalence and raise awareness of this disease in shelter populations, help identify risk factors and to develop a diagnostic PCR test for canine brucellosis. An important outcome of this study will be to create prevention and control measures applicable to this population of dogs. Brucellosis is a contagious disease. It occurs worldwide in a variety of animals and can be transmitted to humans. In dogs, brucellosis can cause abortion, stillbirths, conception failures and litter resorption. The main mode of transmission of brucellosis is by direct contact with infected body fluids, such as semen, vaginal secretions and urine. With the influx of rescue dogs from all over the world, this couldn’t be more timely.
This year the Grants Committee looked at two Tracheal Collapse studies, one from Michigan State University and one from North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Both universities are quite far along in their research having both affected and unaffected Yorkshire Terrier samples. We are very excited to see this advance with the goal of a DNA test to enable breeders to make the best breeding decisions. We anxiously wait for Morris Animal Foundation or AKC Canine Health Foundation to accept these important studies.
The third in our series of educational webinars was presented by Dr. Larry Snyder, DVM: Advances in Stem Cell Research. Dr. Snyder, a practicing veterinarian, has been using clinically, and advocating for, adult stem cell therapy in animals since 2010. He is currently involved in 50 adult stem cell cases in dogs, cats, kangaroos, and donkeys, and even a black bear…many with positive results. He is also involved with basic stem cell research at Kansas State University. These are not embryonic stem cells (that are controversial in human medicine) but are healing cells from the affected dog (animal), in a concentrated and activated form, ready to start the healing process with no chance of a negative “transplant” reaction. Hip dysplasia, degenerative or injured muscles/tendons, osteoarthritis, autoimmune disease and cognitive dysfunction are just a few diseases that adipose stem cell therapy treats. This state-of-the-art research is critical to both man and dog.
Two research studies were supported by the Foundation in 2014. The first grant funded was Gene Variants and their Function in Extrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts in Dogs/ Dr. Frank G. van Steenbeck, DVM, Ph.D, Utrecht University in The Netherlands. Extrahepatic portosystemic shunt is a congenital liver disorder that results in severely impaired liver growth and atrophy of hepatocytes, leading to reduced liver function and eventual death. The disorder occurs frequently in small dog breeds and has a proven genetic background. Two chromosomal regions have been shown to be associated with the disorder. Eight genes are found in these regions, two of which have been proven to be involved in the formation of vascular structures during embryogenesis in zebrafish. The investigators will clarify the gene mutations that cause extrahepatic protosystemic shunt by using next generation sequencing techniques and then expect to develop a DNA test to assist breeders in eradicating this severe disease in several dog breeds. The findings may also provide insight into other chronic progressive liver diseases.
The second grant funded was the ongoing Rabies Challenge Fund. Two anonymous dog lovers agreed to a $12,500 matching gift to the Rabies Challenge Fund and we were delighted to take advantage of the match and support his important research. The Foundation has supported the Rabies Challenge Fund since its inception. The Rabies Challenge Fund recently received the commitment from a USDA-approved facility to perform the first of the challenge phases of 5 and 7 year studies. The research was undertaken to determine, by challenge, the rabies vaccine’s long-term duration of immunity in dogs and to establish the world’s first canine rabies titer standard. These research was undertaken with Dr. W. Jean Dodds, DVM with Hemopet and Dr. Ronald Schultz, DVM University of Wisconsin.
In April 2014, the Foundation presented the second of a series of education webinars. To continue our 2014 theme of Yorkie Dental Health, Dr. Brook A. Niemiec, Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College, presented a very informative program on canine dental health. Dr. Niemiec explained how the lack of dental care can be the cause of heart disease, blood disorders, seizures, and gastrointestinal problem for our dogs
What if someday we could genetically screen our Yorkie puppies for Protein Losing Enteropathy and then eventually rid our breed of this devastating syndrome?
A genetic research project specifically for Yorkshire Terriers is underway that could lead to this reality! We need your help to fund this project and keep this research going.
Initial funding was provided by the AKC through an ACORN grant. To continue this research and eventually reap the benefits, we need to step up and make our contribution. We need a total of $49,737. The Yorkshire Terrier Club of America and the YTCA Foundation jointly support this project and have made the initial payment of $13,320. We need $36,417 to cover the remaining payments.