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  Home > VBS Faculty > James R. Mickelson > Canine And Equine Genetics Laboratory > Leonberger Leukoencephalomyelopathy

Leonberger Leukoencephalomyelopathy

Leonberger dogs may suffer from a central nervous system disease called leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP). This disease has a young onset, typically beginning before three years of age. These dogs suffers from slowly worsening gait abnormalities, especially spontaneous knuckling, dragging of the paws and hypermetria (over-shooting) of the fore limbs. Eventually the disease may progress to the point where the dog cannot support its own weight. Necropsy of the brain and spinal cord of affected dogs show gross lesions in the cervical spinal cord that may extend to the thoracic spinal cord and to the brain. Peripheral nerve and muscle biopsies in these dogs are unremarkable.

Research carried out at the University of Minnesota, the University of Bern, and Utrecht University, indicates that LEMP is a genetically distinct condition inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion. Our ongoing research is to identify the LEMP gene and causative mutation so that a genetic test for LEMP status can be developed.

Leonberger Pic Rope


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