Genealogy research of the Groenendael and the Tervueren Belgian Shepherd diagnosed with gastric carcinoma.
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OBJECTIVE: The incidence of gastric carcinomas is remarkably higher in Belgian Shepherds than in any other breed of dogs. Results from earlier scientific research suggested a genetic predisposition. The objective of this study is to perform a pedigree analysis of a small cohort of Belgian Shepherds diagnosed with gastric carcinoma and to obtain a database of clinical signs from the known affected animals. RESULTS: The overall pedigree contains a total of 385 dogs: 85 Groenendael (11 affected), 195 Tervueren (33 affected) and 105 unspecified Belgian Shepherds. In addition to this, 222 litter mates were included as well. A questionnaire held among the owners of the affected dogs showed that the patients suffered from a range of clinical symptoms, including vomiting of mucus, bile, food and blood, decreased appetite or anorexia, lethargy, and weight loss. CONCLUSION: The presence of a large number of dogs with a single connection within the pedigree possibly suggests some genetic diversity which may be needed to decrease the incidence of the disease. The focus of further research is to unravel the genetic background. If such a genetic marker can be found, this would enable breeders to exclude carrier dogs from breeding in order to decrease the incidence of gastric carcinoma in future generations.