Genetic source of canine compulsive disorder identified

A Doberman pinscher exhibits flank sucking, a canine compulsive behavior.

Symptoms of canine compulsive disorder (CCD) can include repetitive tail chasing, excessive grooming, and flank and blanket sucking, according to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. A new study, however, offers clues to its genetic source.

Researchers in veterinary and human medicine from U.S. academic and nonprofit sectors have identified genetic pathways that exacerbate severity of CCD in Doberman pinschers. The study was published in the International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine on Feb. 29.

The research team compared whole genome sequencing of 70 Doberman pinschers to search for inherited factors that exacerbate CCD. Researchers identified two loci on chromosomes that were strongly correlated with severe CCD, as well as a third locus that showed evidence of association.

The locus most strongly associated with severe CCD was found on chromosome 34, a region containing 3 serotonin receptor genes.

The second locus significantly correlated with severe CCD was on chromosome 11. This discovery, along with suggestive evidence found on chromosome 16 linking CCD to stress tolerance, may also be relevant to the pathophysiology of OCD, according to the study authors.

“Comparative genomics is a particularly attractive approach to reveal the molecular underpinnings of disease in inbred animals with the hope of gaining new insights into these diseases in dogs and humans,” said Edward I. Ginns, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School and one of the study authors.

Photo courtesy of Tufts University

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