STONE STUDY PARTICIPANTS NEEDED!
RENOWNED DALMATIAN URINARY STONE EXPERT, DR JOSEPH BARTGES TO CONDUCT RESEARCH STUDY
DCA Chair of the Health and Research Study Group on Stones, Kathy McCoubrey recently released a
request for participants in a study to be conducted by world renowned stone expert Dr. Joseph Bartges
of the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center. The preliminary study will require 15 pairs
of male Dalmatians. The pair must be littermates with one of them a confirmed urate stone former and
the other never having formed stones. The study is actually a small part of a larger study, one in
which Dr. Bartges has generously offered to include DCA. It involves blood samples for DNA analysis
and will attempt to answer the question "even though all Dalmatians have high uric acid, is there
a genetic component related to why some of them form urate stones but most, including littermates,
- What hypotheses are being tested?
All Dalmatians are predisposed to high levels of uric acid but only a few progress to the stage of
becoming urate stone formers. Therefore, there must be other unknown factors involved. Thus, it would be
prudent to screen the entire genome for differences between urate stone-forming and non stone-forming
Dalmatians. To limit genetic diversity, this preliminary study would involve 15 pairs of littermate
siblings, one who has a history of forming urate stones and one who does not.
- What testing will be done?
A simple blood draw will allow a complex analysis to determine differences between the urate
stone-former and the unaffected sibling.
- Where will the testing be done?
The SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) chips will be processed at the University of Tennessee
through the Affymetrix Core Facility.
- Is there a cost to participate?
While the tests will actually be quite costly, the Dalmatian Club of America Foundation is
underwriting the expense.
- What information will be needed to participate?
At this time, we are trying to identify at least 15 matched pairs of littermates. Once the list of
possible participants is passed on to Dr. Bartges, he will contact the owners to get any further
information he requires.
Dr. Bartges has stated that "if high uric acid excretion is the sole cause of urate stone formation then,
at least theoretically, all Dalmatians should form urate stones". He expressed his concern that "the removal
of the gene for high uric acid as the 'cause' of urate stone formation in Dalmatians may result in formation
of other stone types in those Dalmatians that carry whatever gene(s) predispose them to stone formation."
His opinion is that decreasing uric acid will likely help with decreasing urate stone formation in Dalmatians,
"but perhaps not stone formation in general. It might do nothing to eliminate stones of another composition
such as calcium oxalate, which do not dissolve."
Dr. Bartges further stated, "Without hyperuric aciduria (high uric acid in urine), formation of urate
stones is unlikely in most patients.... However, there are patients that form urate stones without high
blood levels of uric acid (idiopathic urate stone formation)"
Interested participants should contact Traci Tepke by Email.