Monday, September 16, 2013

Pigmentary keratopathy research published in JAVMA

We are delighted to share the results of our seminal study, published in the September 1, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).

The study, entitled "Characteristics of, prevalence of, and risk factors for corneal pigmentation (pigmentary keratopathy) in Pugs" reports the results of our examination of 295 pugs.  In this study, we examined pugs in multiple geographic locations to determine the overall prevalence of pigmentary keratopathy (formerly known as "pigmentary keratitis" and sometimes also called "corneal pigmentation" or "corneal melanosis") in the pug population.  

The results of the study are summarized below:


Characteristics of, prevalence of, and risk factors for corneal pigmentation (pigmentary keratopathy) in Pugs

Amber L. Labelle, DVM, MS, DACVO; Christine B. Dresser, DVM; Ralph E. Hamor, DVM, MS, DACVO; Matthew C. Allender, DVM, PhD, DACZM; Julia L. Disney, BS

Objective—To determine the characteristics of, prevalence of, and risk factors for corneal pigmentation (CP) in Pugs.
Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.
Animals—295 Pugs > 16 weeks old.
Procedures—Ophthalmic examination of the anterior segment of each eye was performed, including determination of tear film characteristics (Schirmer tear test and tear film breakup time) and corneal sensitivity. Digital photographs of the head and each eye were obtained. Corneal pigmentation of eyes was graded as absent, very mild, mild, moderate, or severe. Signalment and medical history information and American Kennel Club registration status were recorded.
Results—CP was detected in at least 1 eye of 243 of the 295 (82.4%) Pugs; CP was typically very mild or mild. Detection of CP was not significantly associated with coat color, age,
eyelid conformation, or tear film characteristics but was significantly associated with sex of dogs. The severity of CP was not significantly associated with American Kennel Club registration status or age, but was significantly associated with sex, tear film characteristics, and coat color. Iris hypoplasia was detected in 72.1% of the Pugs. Iris-to-iris persistent pupillary membranes were detected in 85.3% of the Pugs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prevalence of CP in Pugs in this study was high. Unexpectedly high prevalences of iris hypoplasia and persistent pupillary membranes
were also identified. The condition identified in these Pugs was a pigmentary keratopathy, rather than pigmentary keratitis or corneal melanosis. This condition may have a genetic
basis, and further studies are warranted to determine etiology. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:667–674)


Anyone who is interested in obtaining a copy of the complete article can email dfagen@avma.org to receive a complimentary copy.  A special thank you to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association for making this important scientific work accessible to veterinarians and the pug community alike.



Friday, August 23, 2013

New pug eye information!

The pug eye research team is really excited to share new developments in pug eye research with pug lovers like you!


The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette has published an article about our research group this week.  You can read the entire article here:

http://www.news-gazette.com/living/2013-08-20/pug-eyes-clearing-haze.html



Next week, look for more information about our current research project, the genetics of corneal pigmentation and pigmentary keratopathy in pugs, upcoming education sessions, and at long last...the published version of our last project in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association!




Friday, March 1, 2013

Welcoming a new member of the research team!



Please help us welcome a new member of the pigmentary keratopathy research team: Dr. Kate Myrna.


Dr. Myrna has a BA from Vassar College and received her DVM from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004.  She completed a 1-year internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and went on to complete a 1-year specialty internship under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy Cottrill in Small Animal Ophthalmology at Angell Animal Medical Center – Western New England. Dr. Myrna then completed a Residency in Comparative Ophthalmology and obtained a Master of Science in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She has been an Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology at the University of Georgia since 2010 and has been known to perform interpretive ophthalmic dance for her students.  Kate had the pleasure of living with a spunky blind pug by the name of Wilma and plans to eradicate pigmentary keratopathy in her lifetime.

Previously, Dr. Amber Labelle and Dr. Kate Myrna collaborated on the first study examining the genetic basis of pigmentary keratopathy, which excluded the PAX-6 gene as a contributor to the disease.  Drs. Labelle and Myrna will be moving forward this year on another exciting collaboration to identify the genes associated with pigmentary keratopathy.  

Welcome, Dr. Myrna!  


Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy New Year!



The pug eye research team has exciting news to share with all pug lovers!  You may notice that some changes have occurred on the blog.  First, the blog has a new address (www.pugeyes.com).  Second, you'll notice that we're not using the term "pigmentary keratitis" any longer.  Why is that, you ask?






We are please to announced that the results of our first research study are going to be published in the prestigious veterinary journal, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  The study, entitled "Pigmentary keratopathy in pugs: prevalence, characterization and risk factors" was accepted for publication this week.  The manuscript will likely be published in 2013.  In this manuscript, we propose changing the name of the syndrome of corneal pigmentation in pugs from "pigmentary keratitis" to "pigmentary keratopathy".  Why is this change important?





The word "keratitis" means "inflammation of the cornea".  To date, there is no scientific evidence to support that corneal pigmentation in pugs is a primarily inflammatory disease.  The word "keratopathy" means "disease of the cornea".  We propose that corneal pigmentation in pugs be described as a pigmentary keratopathy, or PK for short, until the disease can be further characterized.  

In the next few days, we will be updating about the next steps in our research into pigmentary keratopathy in pugs, including some exciting new collaborations, acknowledgement of donations to support our research and more information about what we learned in the first study.

Thank you again to all the pug owners who have graciously allowed their pugs to participate in our project thus far.  Together, we will improve pug eye health!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pug Eye Research Results

We are please to share that the preliminary results of the study entitled "Prevalence and risk factors associated with the development of pigmentary keratopathy in the pug".

These results were first shared at the Pug Dog Club of America 2012 National Specialty Show in San Jose, California.

Dr. Amber Labelle at the Pug National Specialty Show in San Jose, California.

Dr. Amber Labelle, principal investigator of the project, spoke to an audience of breeders and exhibitors and shared that the total estimated prevalence of pigmentary keratopathy in the pug population is approximately 80%.  She discussed the various risk factors that were and were not associated with the presence of pigmentary keratopathy and the future areas of research that she is planning.

Quilt tag of the beautiful pug-themed quilt presented to Dr. Amber Labelle


Dr. Labelle was grateful to receive a beautiful quilt, handmade by Sharon Zilli and Linda Sekerak recognizing her work.


Dr. Amber Labelle receives a beautiful quilt from the Pug Dog Club of America recognizing her research on pigmentary keratopathy in the pug.


A close-up of the quilt made by Sharon Zilli and quilted by Linda Sekerak presented by the Pug Dog Club of America to Dr. Amber Labelle for her research on pigmentary keratopathy in pugs.


Dr. Amber Labelle then traveled to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists annual meeting in Portland, Oregon where she presented the formal scientific abstract.  The abstract is now available through the veterinary journal, Veterinary Ophthalmology.  You can click here to read the abstract (Abstract #73: Prevalence and risk factors for the development of pigmentary keratitis in the pug).


We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the Spirit of St. Louis Pug Fanciers Association, the Pug Dog Club of America, the Milwaukee Pug Fest and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for their support of this important research.





Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thank you...data collection is finished!

We are thrilled to announce that we are finished collecting data on the project entitled "Prevalence and risk factors for the development of pigmentary keratopathy in pugs".

This project involved performing eye exams on approximately 280 pugs.  Both AKC-registered pugs at a national dog show and pet pugs were enrolled in the study.  The goal of the study is to document the prevalence of pigmentary keratopathy in the pug population and to report risk factors (such as facial conformation or tear production) that are thought to be associated with pigmentary keratopathy.  The data collected in this study will be used as a basis for future investigations into the cause of pigmentary keratopathy.  The results of this project will be available in Fall 2012.

Thank you to the pug owners who allowed us to examine their pugs this past Saturday, May 26th.  The final group of pugs that contributed to our project really brought smiles to our faces!  Many thanks to the veterinary students that donated their time to assist with the project.  Special thanks to ophthalmology technicians Shari Poruba and Lorri Zoch for their tireless efforts in keeping our supplies organized and keeping Dr. Labelle on track.

Our deepest gratitude is extended to the St. Louis Pug Fanciers Association for their generous donation and support of our research.  Thanks also to the Pug Dog Club of America and the Milwaukee Pug Fest for donating space and allowing us to examine puts at their events.


Stay tuned for the announcement of our next project!


Chubby (left) and Ruby (right) pose with Dr. Amber Labelle, ophthalmology technician Lorri Zoch and three veterinary students on the final day of data collection.  Thank you to all the pug owners who allowed their pugs to participate in this landmark study!  We are looking forward to sharing the results this fall.