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Diagnosis : Pug Dog Encephalitis


The Pug Dog Club of America recognizes how devastating the diagnosis of PDE can be and it has been our goal to support and fund research so that we can see an end to this fatal disease. We thank you for your interest in participating in this research at this most difficult time.

While a genetic marker and test are available to identify those dogs which may be carriers, there is still ongoing research which you can help with.

Drs. Schatzberg and Barber are veterinarians from the Neurology Department at the Emergency and Specialty Center of Santa Fe and University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. They have established a collaboration with several universities, private veterinary practices and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, AZ to continue to study the genetics of Pug Dog Encephalitis, or PDE. The scientific name for PDE is now necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME) because as research has progressed, we now know that not only is the Pug breed at risk, but also the Maltese, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Boston Terrier, Papillion, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and West Highland White Terrier breeds. This is a disease that causes inflammation in the brain which can lead to seizures, blindness, coma and death very quickly. Learning more about what causes this devastating disease is critical for helping advance diagnosis, treatment and hopefully eradication of NME. Dr. Kimberly Greer has been instrumental in finding a region of DNA that is often different in Pugs that get NME, allowing for development of a genetic test. However, there is a still a subset of Pugs that don't have this genetic difference that will succumb to NME. Drs. Schatzberg and Barber have devoted their current research to trying to determine why this happens.

Additionally, Drs. Schatzberg and Barber have also identified a second region of DNA that may contribute to Pugs getting NME. They are currently working to learn more about this region. Drs. Schatzberg and Barber are always looking for additional samples from healthy Pugs or Pugs with NME to help with their research efforts. If you have a healthy purebred Pug that is over 3 years old and would be interested in participating, your veterinarian would have to verify that your pet does not have any evidence of autoimmune or neurological disease and we will send you a kit to collect a small amount of saliva. If you are interested in participating, please contact Dr. Renee Barber at rbarber1@uga.edu and she will help coordinate sample collection and shipping.

Also, if you believe your Pug may be suffering from NME, please let Dr. Barber know. If your pet passes away from PDE, arrangements can be made for a veterinary pathologist to examine the brain tissue and confirm a diagnosis of NME while still allowing your pet to be cremated and returned to you.

Information about specific ongoing studies may be found under the link for "Current Research Studies" on the main menu.