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Many herding dog breeds are afflicted with a mutation of the multi-drug resistance (mdr1) gene. This gene encodes a protein (P-glycoprotein) that is responsible for removing certain drugs and toxins from the brain. Dogs that carry the mdr1 genetic defect cannot rid their brains of the problem drugs. The result is a neurotoxic buildup that can cause abnormal neurological symptoms and/or death.
Breeds known to carry the mdr1 mutation include Australian Shepherds of all sizes, Collies, English Shepherds, Longhaired Whippets, McNabs, Old English Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Silken Windhounds. Research has shown that three of every four Collies and two of every four Australian Shepherds (of any size) have at least one copy of the mutated gene.
This also means that if your mixed breed dog has, or you think s/he might have, any of these breeds in its pedigree, you should test your dog and avoid the drugs on the list until you have test results.
There is now a test available to screen for the presence of the mutated mdr1 gene. Test results indicate if the dog carries two, one or no copies of the mutated gene. For further information on the mdr1 genetic mutation and the test, visit the website of the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine at http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-VCPL/
From C.A.Sharpe http://www.ashgi. org
I was recently contacted by someone asking whether a dog could have an MDR1
|Download the MDR1 Problem Drug Info Sheet|
Dogs from affected breeds who carry the mutated gene OR who have not been tested for the mutation should avoid using drugs from the MDR1 Problem Drug Info Sheet.
The most commonly prescribed drug on the list is ivermectin, a wormer used in many canine heartworm preventative treatments including Heartguard, Iverhart, Tri-Heart and Advantage DUO. Recent research has shown that - when used in properly prescribed doses - ivermectin, along with milbemycin oxide (Interceptor) is safe for dogs with the mutation. Note that .iIvermectin can also be found in many livestock wormers (dogs should be kept away during and for several days after livestock worming), and in home and yard insecticides (under the names avermectin or abamectin).
Other frequently used drugs on the list include loperamide for diarrhea (most commonly sold as Imodium); butorphanol for pain and cough suppression; and acepromazine (prescribed as Ace, ACP, or Atravet) for tranquilizing, calming, and anesthesia use.
These problem drugs are dispensed in many forms including pills, liquids, injections, and ointments. Check ALL drugs you are considering giving your dog against this list if your dog either carries the mutated gene or has not yet been tested for the gene.
Dogs who test as having a mutated mdr1 gene OR dogs from afflicted breeds who have not been tested for the mutation should avoid these drugs - with the exception of heartworm preventatives, when prescribed and administered in proper dosages.
Drug names in bold are the generic drugs identified as problems by the scientists from the VCPL at
Drugs PROVEN to Cause Neurotoxicity