IGCA Health Projects

IGCA Health Projects

PRA ‐ Collection & Shipment of Blood for DNA    Studies

UPDATE 7/7/05

The researchers at Michigan State University have notified us that they seem to be making some progress on finding the gene for PRA in IGs. They are in need of blood samples from PRA affected dogs, their littermates, parents and/or offspring. If you own a PRA affected dog or a relative of one, please help out with this research. All that is involved is filling out a form and taking your dog to your veterinarian to have a blood sample drawn and sent to MSU.

Michigan State University

The diagnosis of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) must have been made by a veterinary ophthalmologist. If you have questions about your dog’s diagnosis and whether it qualified for this study, please contact Teri Dickinson dickinsont@mindspring.com

All the appropriate information about how to collect the blood and where to send it is included in the two forms linked here. Please download and print these forms, fill out the PRA Info Form and send it along with   a copy of the dog’s eye exam and a copy of the dog’s pedigree if you have one. If you do not have a   pedigree, don’t worry, IGCA can create one and send it to MSU.

NOTE: Adobe Reader is needed to view and print PDF files.

Click here for the FREE Adobe Reader download (please be patient, PDFs take awhile to load)

Instructions for sending samples ‐pdf

Online form:

If you have any questions about submitting samples or need financial assistance to do so, please contact Teri Dickinson dickinsont@mindspring.com (972) 396 8990

Baker Institute

Please collect about 10 cc’s of blood from each dog, depending on the dogs size. The blood can be collected in ACD (yellow top tubes), EDTA (lavender top tubes), or any other anticoagulant if neither ACD or EDTA are available. These can be obtained from your veterinarian. It is very important that new sterile needles and syringes should be used for each dog. Care should be taken that the blood does not clot. Coagulated (clotted) blood is totally useless for our purposes.

Each dog’s blood should be put into a separate vial and labeled with the dog’s name or number and breed. Please tape over the label on each tube with transparent tape. Please also tape the top of each tube with adhesive tape, to prevent it loosening during transportation.

Wrap each tube generously with paper towel, so that if a tube leaks or breaks the blood will be absorbed. Then place each wrapped tube individually into a zip lock bag with an additional label bearing the dog’s name or number and breed, seal this bag and put it into a second ziplock bag and seal this bag  also.

If more than one dog has been collected, then place all the individually bagged vials together into another (single) plastic bag and seal this final bag also.

The samples should then be refrigerated immediately. They’ll be stable at 4 degrees (i.e. in a regular refrigerator) for a week or so at least.

When shipped, the collection of bagged tubes need to be in a solid, rigid container (Styrofoam or cardboard is satisfactory) with 1 or 2 frozen icepacks (NOT ice or dry ice!), and all dead space filled with bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts or any other filler material.

Please include with the shipment an advice note listing the name, age, and sex of the dog(s) collected; the name, address, and phone number of the owner(s), and the name, address, and phone number of the veterinarian collecting the blood, as applicable.

 We would appreciate receiving any further relevant information that could be sent with the samples. Such information would include copies of pedigrees, CERF or other eye exams, and any other relevant health history.

Clearly mark the shipping label as “noninfectious canine (dog) blood”.

If shipped internationally you need to state specifically on an official looking letterhead (your veterinarian’s would be fine) “the dogs from which these blood samples were collected were not inoculated with, or exposed to any infectious agent” in a document attached to the outside of the box, in order to pass through USDA inspection.

Please send the blood overnight by Federal Express or other express shipper, to:

Attn: Keith Watamura
James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University Hungerford Hill Road
Ithaca NY 14853 USA Tel: 607 256 5600
Fax: 607 256 5689

Please send the shipment on a Monday or Tuesday, preferably, and no later than Wednesday, and try to avoid holiday periods. If in doubt please call and advise us of the shipments, and give us an airbill tracking number.

Free PRA Testing for PRA Affected   Dogs

Optigen www.optigen.com  is  currently  offering  free  DNA  testing  for  any  PRA  affected  dogs  that  have  not previously been tested by either Cornell or Optigen. See their site for more information.

Any other questions, please contact:

Teri Dickinson
4 Hillcrest Dr.
Lucas TX 75002
972 396‐8990



Forms are available from the epilepsy web site, or from Liz Hansen


Liz Hansen
321 Connaway Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

Liz is Dr. Johnson’s Coordinator of Veterinary Information, and can help with any questions you may have. Sample

Submission Address:

Dr. Gary Johnson ‐ (Breed of Dog) DNA Research
320 Connaway Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

Again, affected dogs and their littermates, their parents and their offspring are very valuable.

For more information, please contact:
Pat Klinger
8 Birch Ridge Dr.
Great Meadows, NJ 07838


In the laboratories at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University, Dr. Vicki Meyers‐Wallen focuses upon inherited disorders that affect canine reproduction. Our goal is to identify  genes that have a negative impact upon reproduction, with the final goal of producing practical tests to identify those carrying harmful mutations. The long term goals are to reduce, and eventually remove, such deleterious genes from purebred dog populations, thus improving the reproductive soundness of purebred dogs. We are asking for breeders and owners to participate in our study by allowing us to collect blood samples from their dogs and related dogs. Those interested can e‐mail Dr. Meyers‐Wallen at Website http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/faculty/view.php?id=180.