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Health Studies

New Purdue Bloat Study

Recent studies out of Purdue University are shedding more light on gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), otherwise known as bloat. GDV is the second leading cause of death in large-breed (50 - 99 pounds) and giant-breed (100 pounds and over) dogs. Approximately one in four large-breed dogs and one in five giant-breed dogs may develop GDV during their lifetime, with some breeds at even higher lifetime risk. GDV strikes suddenly and has a mortality rate as high as 30 percent.

In GDV there is a rapid accumulation of air in the stomach, causing distention and often rotation of the stomach, cutting off blood supply at both ends and causing the dog to go into shock. GDV is an acute emergency and rushing the dog to immediate veterinary care is essential. The risk of a dog developing GDV increases with age. Other factors that increase a dog’s risk are having a first-generation relative with a history of GDV, having a deep and narrow chest or abdomen, being thin, experiencing a major health problem before age 1, and having a fearful or nervous temperament.

Research primarily at Perdue University by Dr. Larry Glickman, VMD, Ph.D, (an AKC Excellence in Canine Research Award winner), and Dr. Malathi Raghavan, DVM, Ph.D. has identified a number of feeding management and dietary factors that increase the risk of GDV. These include eating only one meal a day, feeding only dry dog food, feeding food with only small particles, and feeding a large volume of food per meal. Other feeding factors found to increase the risk of GDV were eating rapidly, increased physical activity before and after eating, restricting a dog’s water intake before and after eating, moistening dry food before feeding, and eating from a raised feeding bowl. Thus, some of the recommendations commonly made to prevent GDV were shown by the research to actually increase the risk of GDV. In the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol. 17, No. 10, Glickman wrote, “In addition, in univariate analysis, many of the recommendations commonly made to prevent GDV, such as raising the food bowl, moistening dry food prior to feeding, and restricting water intake before and after feeding, were associated with a significantly increased risk of GDV.”


Recent research, not yet published, has shown an increased risk of GDV in dogs who consumed dry foods containing fat among the first four ingredients, and an increased risk in dogs who consumed dry foods listing citric acid as a preservative - with this risk rising when foods with citric acid were moistened. Although not statistically significant, researchers found that a modest increase in risk of GDV was seen with the consumption of dry foods that listed more than one corn ingredient among the first four label ingredients, while in contrast, a pattern was observed of decreased GDV risk with an increasing number of protein ingredients of animal origin, including beef, poultry, lamb, and fish among the first four ingredients. Dyann S. Rivkin is a writer and video producer in Dyann S. who lives with the 14-year old daughter of her first Irish Setter and his grandchildren


  • Feed two or more meals a day

  • Feed no more than one cup per 33 pounds of body weight per meal when feeding two meals a day

  • Feed an energy-dense diet, to reduce volume, but avoid a diet where a high amount of calories are from fats.

  • Feed a variety of different food types regularly. The inclusion of human foods in a primarily dry dog food diet was associated with a 59 percent decreased risk of GDV while inclusion of canned pet foods was associated with a 28 percent decreased risk

  • When feeding dry food, also include foods with sufficient amounts of meats and meat meals, for example: beef, lamb, poultry, and fish.

  • Feed a food with larger particles, and include larger pieces of meat to the diet.

  • Avoid moistening dry foods

  • If your dog eats rapidly, find ways to try to reduce his speed of eating

  • Avoid raising the food bowl - place it at ground level

  • Try to minimize stress for your dog. Stressful events have been reported to be precipitating factors in GDV occurrence.

  • Restrict vigorous exercise one hour before and two hours after meals.

  • When you are not in close proximity to your dog, use a baby monitor to alert you if your dog is in distress.

  • Learn to recognize signs of GDV, which include pacing and restlessness, head turning to look at the abdomen, distention of the abdomen, rapid shallow breathing, nonproductive attempts at vomiting, and salivation. These symptoms can progress rapidly to shock and death.  Get to your veterinarian or emergency hospital the moment you suspect GDV


Leishmania Surveillance in the Neapolitan
By: Lisa Cinciripini

Beginning in February 2008 the very first formal research project for the Neapolitan Mastiff in the United States began. In January 2009, the AKC CHF awarded a grant (AKC CHF #122A) to Iowa State University to continue monitoring the incidence of Leishmaniasis in the Neapolitan Mastiff. This is the first award granted for research targeted specifically to the Neapolitan Mastiff.

Partial Abstract of the Study: “Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a disease caused by the parasite Leishmania. Leishmania infantum infection in canines is gradually gaining a foothold in a handful of U.S. canine breeds, including Foxhounds, Italian Spinones, Neapolitan Mastiffs and Corsicas. Infection with L. infantum causes fatal organ-based disease in dogs globally. Prior to 1999, cases of leishmaniasis in the US were diagnosed in dogs from overseas. After 1999, leishmaniasis was found throughout Foxhound populations within United States. Since this time, numerous Foxhounds have tested positive for disease, current seroprevalence is believed to be near 9% infected dogs of the overall Foxhound population. It is not known for sure how this disease is spread in Foxhounds, bitches may be infecting their pups either while pregnant or through their milk. This is not the primary way of spreading Leishmania in other countries. Other breeds, including Neapolitan Mastiffs, are predisposed to infection with this parasite due to breed origination in tropical countries and a likelihood of mom to pup spread of disease. Our long-term goal is to prevent canine visceral leishmaniasis through identification and validation of specific factors as vaccine or immune changing candidates which promote asymptomatic VL. Our primary objective in this application is to better understand specific ca-nine factors that promote clinical visceral leishmaniasis and to identify primary routes of spread of this disease in U.S. dogs.”

Attached is the submission form which explains how to submit samples and should accompany your submission. The shipping of samples to ISU is free of charge, you must obtain a Fed Ex shipping account number from a Health Committee member prior to shipping. Samples are shipped directly to Dr. Petersen at ISU CVM, all dog and owner information is confidential. Samples can take up to 3 months to complete testing, owners will be notified by mail by Dr. Petersen directly within 1 week of testing.

Interpretation of Test results: Samples that are not in a viable state are discarded and not included in any reporting, a request for re-submission is requested from the owner. The required sample submission is divided into six wells to increase test accuracy.


  • If one of the six samples came up positive, but the majority of the samples were negative, the sample is considered as negative.​

  • If there were equal numbers of negative and positive samples, it is “borderline” - It is highly recommend that all dogs who test borderline are re-tested every 6 months.

  • If four or more of the six samples come up positive the result is positive. Positive dogs should be re-tested immediately to confirm results. Testing with both Dr. Petersen and North Carolina is highly recommended.

For Borderline or Positive dogs re-testing PCR with both Dr. Petersen and North Carolina Diagnostic Lab is recommended. Testing serology on questionable dogs through Cornell VDL or NC State VDL is also highly recommended. If you are concerned about a dogs status and need rapid results your Veterinarian should submit samples to NC State CVM Tick Borne Diagnostic Lab for PCR and serology or Cornell University diagnostic laboratory Leishmania kELISA or CDC IFA serology. Your Veterinarian can contact the primary researcher Dr. Peterson (515-294-9013 ) or USNMC HC member veterinarian Dr. White (541-206-7707) for confidential advise on specific submission information.

Owners who need assistance interpreting results or submitting samples can contact primary research Dr. Peterson (515-294-9013) or Health Committee Members Dr. Robin White (541-206-7707) or Lisa Cinciripini (360-357-4309).

To obtain a free test kit please contact the health committee at or call Lisa Cinciripini directly.

Please provide the number of samples you plan to submit, as well as your mailing address.

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