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June 2010

Summary Report from Dr. Chris Dresser, DVM
PDCA Health Committee Chairman

As our club is on the brink of being able to announce a commercial DNA test availability, we thought it would be good to review the steps that have brought us to this point. Since the 1970’s when PDE emerged, it has caused much heartache for breeders and Pug lovers everywhere. Prior to 1995, there was an interest in trying to find a cause and/or cure but there was no organized effort. Starting in 1995, the PDCA began actively soliciting research projects and raising funds to support future projects. The club aligned itself with the Canine Health Foundation since they were able to screen prospective projects and help us with the funding with matching grants. PDCA helped fund a particularly important early study at Cornell that eliminated viruses as a possible cause of PDE. In the early days, many felt there was a genetic component but there were other suggested etiologies. It wasn’t until 2002 that the club was able to start collaborating with Dr. Kimberly Greer. The Pug Dog Club of America and the entire Pug world are so fortunate to have someone who owns and loves Pugs and is so dedicated. Week in and week out for the last 8 years, Dr. Greer has dealt with distraught breeders and grieving owners. Her son once asked her why all of her patients were dead. There is no one in the world who would more like to see an accurate, timely and affordable test available.

As to test availability, Dr. Greer is currently only able to run the first part of the test and needs to locate a machine she can easily access to run part 2. When a machine is found, the test cost will be established. Once the test is in place, it will not under PDCA control. We hope it will be in a lab that will work closely with Dr. Greer, however, she is not on “the PDCA payroll”, having a full time university job, a family and other research to contend with. The plan is to put the PDE test on our CHIC list of recommended tests. If you are not familiar with this registry, you can visit the website and become familiar with the work they are doing.

The Pug Dog Club of America has raised and donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years and our need for research will not end with the test becoming available. We still need to explore environmental and other factors that may impact the disease and also research better treatments for dogs that are afflicted. There are other issues our breed faces that also worthy candidates for research projects. The health and longevity of our breed should be the cornerstone of every breeding program.