2017 Anesthesia Sensitivity/Fibrinolysis Projects

Dr. Michael Court at Washington State University Veterinary School needs a relatively small amount of money ($8,000) to continue the work he has been doing on Deerhound anesthesia sensitivities and post-operative bleeding, which to date has produced some very encouraging results. You can read his proposal below. It has been approved by the SDCA Health & Genetics Committee, Contributions Committee, and Board. If the full amount isn’t raised, the Bunnie Austin Fund will pay the balance in January 2018.

This project isn’t big enough to do as a contract, so, like the DCM project, it will be done with restricted gifts.

Here are FAQs about the project:

Who is the principal investigator?
Dr. Michael Court is Professor and William R. Jones Endowed Chair, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. Here is more information on Dr. Court.

How will the money be raised for this project?
Donations will be accepted for this project until early January 2018. Donors can make tax-deductible donations directly to Washington State (see below) or donate to the SDCA Bunnie Austin Fund (please note: donations to the Bunnie Austin Fund are not tax-deductible).

How much of the current Bunny Austin balance is being used for the project?
If the total amount isn’t raised by early January, the Bunnie Austin Fund will be used to pay the balance. (Please note that the Bunnie Austin Fund has enough money to pay for the entire project, if need be.)

What happens to the donations made to Washington State if not enough money is raised?
The Bunnie Austin Fund has the money to cover any differences between what is raised and the grant total, so that is not an issue.

Can I see the grant proposal?
Here is the grant proposal approved by the Health and Genetics Committee, Contributions Committee, and Board:

Since 2014, I have been working with the SDCA Health & Genetics Committee to collect samples for my anesthesia sensitivity research. Earlier this year, I discovered that Deerhounds have a similar post-operative bleeding problem to Greyhounds, which I am also researching, so I have been working with the club on that project as well.

To date, I have strong candidate genes for both anesthesia sensitivity and post-operative bleeding, and the few Deerhounds I have tested have shown these mutations. Although this is encouraging, I need to sample many more dogs before I can confidently recommend routine testing for these genes to prevent health problems or to make informed breeding decisions.

Also, many SDCA members have very generously sent me DNA from dogs who experienced problems with anesthesia, and I have now received several samples from dogs that had hyperthermic reactions. There is a gene in people and dogs, the RYR-1 gene, that is associated with hyperthermic reactions, so I would like to test Deerhounds to see if they have the known mutations—or a new mutation—on that gene.

Going forward, in addition to testing relatives of affected dogs, we are hoping to identify and test other cases through the recent DNA health questionnaire that went out to club members. We are also developing a more comprehensive bleeding/anesthesia sensitivity/malignant hyperthermia multigene testing panel (through Next-Gen sequencing) to help rule out other potential gene mutations involved in excessive fibrinolysis that we haven’t tested for yet, as well as genes related to other bleeding, anesthesia, and malignant hyperthermia.

With all the malignant hyperthermia, bleeding, and anesthesia sensitivity DNA samples we get from the DNA health questionnaire, what I propose is to do gene-capture sequencing on about 90 genes, including RYR-1.

Cost: $159 per dog for 90 genes, with a minimum of 48 dogs (this includes controls) = $7,632
DNA capture from frozen semen (in case blood or saliva DNA is not available from an important stud dog, with the owner’s permission): $400

Total: $8,032

Who owns the research and the samples?
Washington State University.

What is the timeline for the project?
This project is too small to be run with a contract. Therefore, there is no strict timeline for this project. However, Dr. Court has already been working with us regularly since 2014 and has made steady progress; we anticipate that this will continue in this phase of the work.

What about reports from Dr. Court?
Because there is no contract, no reporting schedule has been set. However, Dr. Court has been a reliable communicator for the several years he has been working with the club.

What recourse do we have if for some reason Dr. Court doesn’t finish the project as outlined?
Although there is no contract for this project, as long as “Deerhound Research Project” is written in the notes section of the donations, Dr. Court cannot use the money for anything else.

This project will confirm—or shoot down—some candidate genes Dr. Court needs to test for both anesthesia sensitivities and fibrinolysis (post-operative bleeding), so we expect to know, one way or another, about those mutations. In addition, Dr. Court will check to see if known mutations that cause hyperthermia in dogs affect our breed as well.

How do I donate?
You can make a tax-deductible* gift directly to Washington State on-line—here is the link. Click on the “Give Now” button and it should automatically select the Program in Individualized Medicine (PrIMe) Development Fund.  Please make a note that this is for Dr. Court’s Deerhound Research.

You can also mail a check to:

College of Veterinary Medicine
Attn: Lynne Haley
P.O. Box 647010
Pullman, WA 99164-7010

Checks should be written out to WSUF (Washington State University Foundation) and in the notes section please write “PrIMe: Deerhound Research”.

Donations to Washington State qualify for many employer’s matching gift programs.

* Gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law; please consult your tax advisor.

You can of course make a non-tax-deductible donation to the Bunnie Austin Fund, which will use those donations to pay whatever balance is left in early 2018. You can donate to the Bunnie Austin Fund by using PayPal—here is the link—or you can mail a check to

Karen Winter, SDCA Treasurer
139 Whites Road
Derry, PA 15627

Make your check payable to “SDCA” and be sure to write “Washington State research” in the notes.

If you have any more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask — use the contact form below.

SDCA Health & Genetics Committee