DaDane of DaWeek

 Created: 01/10/05


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Important News – 

January 10, 2005 – Mozart, seen on the left, is shown here with his dad, SudZ, in a family portrait I created in 2003 for their owners, Larry and Margo Gaither. (You can read their original story as it appeared on DaDane of DaWeek.) I originally shot both dogs separately at the 2002 GDCA National Specialty in Kentucky. At the time, SudZ was nearly five. Mozart was fifteen months old. I had the pleasure of shooting SudZ again last year at the 2004 GDCA National Specialty in Texas. He will be seven next month. Although his muzzle is now gray and he looks a lot older, SudZ is in very good health and he is a wonderful example of an older Dane who has lived well, and aged well.

Unfortunately, Mozart is no longer with us. He died last February at the tender age of two and a half. His death was an avoidable loss, which makes it twice as sad. Mozart had suffered through a series of health problems for a year or more. At first his problems seemed unrelated, but as Mozart's health gradually deteriorated, Margo and Larry realized something was fundamentally wrong. They begged their veterinarian to do everything possible to determine the source of Mozart's bad health. Throughout the process, they spared no expense. All sorts of tests were run. More than once, Margo suggested that Mozart be tested for Addison's Disease, but her vet said it would be a waste of time because there was no indication Mozart had Addison's. Finally, when Mozart was lying in the animal hospital struggling to stay alive, Margo INSISTED on an Addison's test. It came back positive. Mozart in fact had Addison's Disease. In theory, his condition could have been managed, enabling Mozart to live a normal life, but it didn't work out that way. Mozart died less than a day later. The diagnosis had come too late to save him.

It would be easy to blame Mozart's vet for his death, but that might be an unfair over-simplification. Addison's Disease can be a very tricky disease to recognize because the signs of Addison's mimic those of many other diseases. Furthermore, most veterinarians have no idea that Great Danes are among the top five (yes, FIVE) breeds associated with this life-threatening disease. When it comes to Addison's, too often Dane owners, owner-breeders, and veterinarians are under-educated, or worse, ill-informed, about the symptoms. Not too long ago, I ran a series of articles on Canine Addison's Disease. If you missed it, I urge you to take the time to familiarize yourself with Canine Addison's Disease. It may save your dog's life!

Great News for Great Danes !!!
A very important study is currently underway at the University of California (UC Davis) to characterize the mode of inheritance for Canine Addison's Disease, with the ultimate goal of identifying a genetic marker and developing a genetic screening test. This ground-breaking research has been funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation with additional monies contributed by the Great Dane Club of America, the Bearded Collie Club of America, the Bearded Collie Foundation for Health, the Poodle Club of America, the Leonberger Club of America, and the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation.

You can help...

"To characterize the mode of inheritance, with the ultimate goal of identifying a genetic marker linked to the disease, we need information on dogs that are affected AND unaffected with the disease. If you are willing to participate in this study, please request a kit that contains a questionnaire on your dog’s health and swabs for the collection of DNA. The FAQs link will answer many of your questions regarding the study. We appreciate your support and interest in the study. "

Canine Genetic Analysis Project
Department of Animal Science, UC DAVIS


The Addison's study kit is completely FREE, and it even includes return postage, so it will cost you absolutely nothing. The DNA collection is simple and painless to administer. Follow this link to request a kit for your Great Dane. Those of you with more than one Dane can order as many kits as you need.

If your Great Dane – or one of his/her relatives – has been afflicted with Addison's, then it is extremely important that you participate in this project. But even if your Dane is perfectly healthy, your participation can help the researchers achieve their goal. Please be aware that the kit is not a test to determine whether or not your dog has Addison's. (You'd need to see your vet for that.) Naturally, all submissions to the study will be kept strictly confidential. Results for individual dogs will not be made available to you, or to the public.

This is a good thing, folks, a VERY good thing. I ordered a kit for Merlin yesterday. I hope you'll order a kit for your Great Dane today.

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