Update on Osteosarcoma, September 2005
Jeffrey Phillips DVM MSpVM PhD
Associate Professor of Oncology
C247 Veterinary Teaching Hospital
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Knoxville, TN 37914
As another poor deerhound has died from osteosarcoma, I thought it time to remind all of the ongoing genetics and health project. I am also writing
to promise you hope for future deerhounds. As you probably know, I have
been working on the deerhound project for the last 2 1/2 years in
conjunction with the SDCA and John Dilberger. I have a very personal stake
in its' success as I have lost 3 dogs to this horrible disease. When I
started this project we had a database of ~100 dogs with incomplete health
histories. To date, I have collected information on ~3,000 deerhounds
(health, etc) and am continuing to collect more information. It is vital
that deerhound owners and breeders continue to supply this health
information (noting problems such as cancer, heart disease, and bloat) so
that heritability can be determined and genetic risk factors identified.
I want to remind any who have ever owned a deerhound that this database is
a unique resource for the breed. In the future, I plan to add ever more
information to the database, including such factors as height and weight,
etc. I also want to remind all that this project is the only study
currently looking specifically at deerhounds and their health problems.
While there are other studies currently enrolling deerhounds, I want to
make it clear, this project is the only study currently trying to identify
genetic risk factors for the development of these health problems in
deerhounds. The other studies are primarily geared toward other breeds
(specifically Rottweiler and Golden Retriever).
The initial information from the deerhound project is due to be published
within the next few months. This paper dicusses the database and the
heritability of osteosarcoma in the breed. The information allows me to
determine such measures as penetrance and susceptibility (likelihood of
being affected at some point in time) for any deerhound to develop
osteosarcoma. I have similar (though not as complete) information for
bloat and heart disease. Owners and breeders will be welcome to contact me
if they are interested in discussing any of this information.
The next step in this project will be two-fold:
1) To define a genetic test to identify potential affected dogs and,
2) To identify new therapies for dogs affected with osteo
For those of you who don't know, I have moved my research to the University
of Tennessee. At UTenn, we are currently working on both of these goals.
Over the next few years, our group of 4 veterinary oncologists at UTenn
will be able to offer genetic testing and counseling for deerhounds; in
addition to offering novel therapeutic options for the treatment of
If any are interested in discussing current or future therapeutic options
for osteosarcoma at UTenn please don't hesitate to contact me directly. I
would also encourage all to contact me directly if there are any questions
about the genetic project, health information to update, or questions on
This report from Dr. Phillips was reproduced here with his kind permission.
For more information on osteosarcoma in Scottish Deerhounds, or in other breeds of dog, please click on the links on the right.