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Identifying Genetic Markers for Liver Disorders

Small, purebred terrier-type dogs are at risk of developing two genetically related disorders that cause abnormal liver function. These disorders, known as portosystemic vascular anomalies (PSVA) and microvascular dysplasia (MVD), can occur either alone or in combination. Dogs with PSVA suffer from the liver's inability to remove toxins from food and many are overtly ill, while dogs with MVD may only demonstrate intolerance to standard drug dosages. The researchers hope to identify genetic markers for these disorders and use these markers to develop a test for detecting at-risk dogs. This test would help breeders eliminate these disorders from affected breeds.