Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease, or SPAID, is a serious, heritable syndrome that affects the canine breed.
According to Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, SPAID is "characterized by recurrent symptoms of inflammation: fever; swollen, painful joints; a condition that causes bubbles containing a clear, jellylike substance on the skin; ear problems and kidney failure." Sadly, there is no cure, vaccine or known cause for the disease, which roughly 20,000 Shar-Peis suffer from.
However, new testing regarding SPAID will be conducted at Cornell, which will identify dogs that are more likely to develop the symptoms of the disease. "The new test, using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), measures the number of copies of the faulty gene in individual Shar-Pei."
As the Director of Molecular Diagnostics at the AHDC, Amy Glaser, DVM, PhD, explains to petMD, "identification of gene structure of an individual animal will allow an owner to understand if their dog has an elevated risk for developing one ore more of the SPAID-associated clinical syndromes. Dogs at high risk can be identified and breeding to other dogs that would produce offspring at high risk can be avoided."
So, how, exactly, will this be determined? "Blood samples from dogs can be collected and submitted for testing," Glaser says. "The DNA is extracted and the copy number of the allele (gene) associated with an increased risk of developing SPAID with increasing copy number is determined. Results are returned with an interpreted statement to help owners and veterinarians."
While no date has been set for the testing yet, Glaser assures that for pet parents of Shar-Peis, "links will be provided to submission information and samples will be accepted for testing. We are working hard to be able to offer this assay to the community as soon as possible."