Breeder Assistance Needed


Dr. Karen Tobias

University of Tennessee


Dr. Karen Tobias continues to work hard in her research to locate the gene

for liver shunt.  She has been consulting with a genetic specialist.

While Dr. Tobias has made significant progress, she is now at a point

that in order to advance with locating this gene, she needs be able to test 3

generations of  Yorkshire Terriers.  Dr. Tobias would like to locate breeders who have 3 generations

in their line of liver shunt or MVD and would be willing to help.  Dr. Tobias will provide free dentals, spays/neuters

for the breeders who participate in this program


We would need a family of Yorkies that has 5 (or better yet, 10) dogs
within 1 generation of each other that have shunts.  So, affected
grandparents, affected parents, affected siblings.  If the dogs are
separated by a generation (i.e. affected great grandparent but not
grandparent), then we would need DNA from the unaffected dog in the middle
(the grandparent).  I don't think this will be possible based on what we've
seen so far.

  We would need a 3 generation family of pedigreed Yorkies that has at
least 5 (or better yet, 10) dogs within 1 generation of each other that
have MVD but no shunt.  We'd start with bile acids to make sure they fit
into that study. We would need to confirm there is no shunt with
scintigraphy, and then confirm MVD with a liver biopsy.  We could do all of
the testing for free (and throw in spays/castrations/dentals as a bonus).
We would need to find a breeder within a couple of hours of UT so that it
would convenient for the breeder (even to the point of transporting them
for the breeder), unless there is a breeder that knows they are producing
dogs with mildly increased bile acids and would be willing to drive a bunch
of animals down here.  The risk involved would be the anesthesia, but the
dogs would be undergoing anesthesia for the dental or neuter anyway and the
liver biopsy would not extend it by much.  We'd do a mini lap (2 inch
incision) for those dogs not being spayed so that they would have a quick

Once we completed the analysis on the MVD dogs, we would then compare the
DNA of our shunt dogs and their healthy offspring, and see if there is a
link between MVD and shunts.  That would then be the start of the shunt
gene hunt.

Do you know of any breeders that might be willing to be involved?


Interested breeders who want to participate or would like additional information, please contact Sue Schwarten at or you can call Sue at the University of Tennessee Small Animal Clinic at (865) 974-5505 between 8 am - 4 pm Monday through Friday.



Back To Main Page

Copyright 2009 Yorkie Angel Patrol all rights reserved