New Study Underway to Investigate Cobalamin Deficiency in Shar-Pei
Dr. Jorg Steiner and Dr. David Williams who head the Gastrointestinal Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A & M University have started a research project to identify a genetic marker for cobalamin (Vitamin B12) deficiency in the Chinese Shar-Pei. As a starting point they will need several multigenerational pedigrees (at least 3 generations) in which some family members have cobalamin deficiency. Once the pedigrees are identified then blood samples will be collected from affected dogs and normal littermates, etc. Of course, all information provided by the breeder and dog owners would be strictly confidential. If you can help please contact the GI Laboratory at (979) 862-2861 or fax them at (969) 862-2864. They also have a web site at http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/gilag I can also be contacted through the CSPCA website.
Signs of cobalamin deficiency would initially show up in young individuals as a nonregenerative anemia (low red blood cell count), a neutropenia (low white blood cell count), lethargy, weakness, poor hair coat and a general failure to thrive. Serum cobalamin levels would be low and there would be high urinary methylmalonic acid levels. B12 is a necessary factor in red and white blood cell production and in the metabolism of certain amino acids, fatty acids and cholesterol. B12 deficiency also can accompany any gastrointestinal disorder such as inflammatory bowel disease, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, etc.