During the initial 1.5 years of this project, we focused our efforts on sample collection across our three target breeds (Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, English Cocker Spaniels). We have collected nearly all the required samples from Standard Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs. Currently, we are focusing our efforts on increasing the number of English Cocker Spaniels we have enrolled in the study. We are also actively recruiting newly diagnosed patients across all three breeds through many online resources.
Over the past 6 months, we have started to use these samples to (1) document the presence of autoantibodies in dogs with a new diagnosis of Addison’s disease and (2) determine the protein target of these autoantibodies. This work has made use of two techniques: immunofluorescence assays and Western blots. These techniques have similarities insofar as they can both document the presence or absence of autoantibodies, but by slightly different methods. Our early work suggests that there may be a population of autoantibodies that are unique to dogs with a new diagnosis of Addison’s disease in Standard Poodles and PWDs (English Cocker Spaniels have yet to be evaluated). We are actively working to confirm these findings. Once this has been accomplished, we will attempt to determine the target protein of these autoantibodies.