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News Article

Mutation linked with poor drug metabolism in dogs


Researchers have identified gene mutations that may contribute to poor drug metabolism in Greyhounds and other breeds

Scientists at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine initially discovered a mutation in Greyhounds and more recently in other breeds that could result in the dogs being exposed to dangerously high levels of anaesthetic agents. The research is published in Scientific Reports.

It has been known for years that some Greyhounds struggle to break down certain drugs, which results in potentially life-threatening and prolonged recovery periods following anaesthesia. The previously unknown genetic mutation that the researchers uncovered in Greyhounds causes less of CYP2B11, the enzyme that breaks down these drugs, to be made.

Not surprisingly, the mutation was also found in several other dog breeds that are closely related to the Greyhound including Borzoi, Italian Greyhound, Whippet, and Scottish Deerhound.

However, when the research team extended their survey to more than 60 other breeds, using donated samples from the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital DNA Bank, they were surprised by what they found.

According to the study, funded by the American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation, some popular dog breeds, including Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, may also struggle to break down the commonly used anaesthetics, midazolam, ketamine, and propofol.

The study found about one in 50 Golden Retrievers and one in 300 Labrador Retrievers may have low amounts of CYP2B11.

Michael Court, the study principal investigator and veterinary anaesthesiologist who began studying slow anaesthetic drug breakdown in Greyhounds over 20 years ago, said, “Although we have developed special anaesthesia protocols that work very safely in Greyhounds — the nagging question was — should we be using these same protocols in other dog breeds?”

The researchers are now moving forward to create a cheek swab test that could be used by dog owners and their veterinarians to detect the mutation and determine an individual dog’s sensitivity to the problematic anaesthetic drugs.

“We also suspect that dogs with the mutation may have trouble breaking down drugs — other than those used in anaesthesia.” Court said. “The challenge now is to provide accurate advice to veterinarians on what drugs and drug dosages should be used in affected patients.”

Article: Martinez, S.E., Andresen, M.C., Zhu, Z., Papageorgiou, I., Court, M.H. (2020). Pharmacogenomics of poor drug metabolism in Greyhounds: Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2B11 genetic variation, breed distribution, and functional characterization. Scientific Reports 10, 69, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56660-z

Article details

  • Date
  • 15 January 2020
  • Source
  • Washington State University
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals