Terrific things are happening at the Trust. In May, Dr. John Leith traveled twelve hours each way to Wisconsin to attend the Door County Scottie Rally on behalf of the Trust. This is perhaps the largest Scottie rally in the nation and has consistently been a wonderful experience for all who attend. John had a great time and was able to talk to the group about the Trust and its activities. DoorCounty Scottie Rally has been a major sponsor and donor to the Trust for several years and John wanted to share with them what we are doing and what we are hoping to do in the future. The Trust is extremely grateful to John for this effort.
Recently, I spoke with a long time member about the research the Trust is sponsoring aimed at discovering the gene responsible for the extraordinary incidence of transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder (TCC) in Scotties. What he said to me was remarkable and insightful. He told me that while he was not a wealthy man, he had been reflecting on what the Scottish Terrier had meant to him over a lifetime. As he thought about this, he decided that he wanted to make a donation to the Trust for an important problem in the hope that he could live to see the outcome of the research make a meaningful difference in the health of the breed. As we talked, I shared with him my vision of a world in which we might have a readily available test, similar to the vWD test, that would tell us in advance whether the dogs being considered for a prospective mating were affected with the gene,thus allowing us to breed against this problem. Normalizing the incidence of this one cancer in our breed would do more to extend the mean life expectancy in the breed than any other thing we could do.
He than proceeded to pledge the largest single donation since the inception of the Trust toward a war chest to help fund both the present and future work that will be required to solve this tough problem. Both of us know that much more money will be needed to fulfill his vision of this better world for our dogs. Our hope is to raise $100,000.00 to fill this chest. This amount should cover any additional grants needed for the positive identification of the gene, commercializing an assay for the gene, and the educational initiatives necessary to let everyone know how to use this information. If you share our vision, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Trust for this cause. If you can help, mark your donation as follows: I share the vision- for TCC. Many, many people have already donated blood and tissue for this effort; please know that additional samples will only enhance the chance that we will reach our goal.
In the Bagpiper you last received, there is a most remarkable article that I would commend for your reading. Nancy Aaron wrote a wonderful review on the signs and symptoms of, and the current treatment of TCC. Nancy knows whereof she writes. Experience with several dogs with this most common cancer in the breed spurred her to become expert in the management of this problem. Take the time to read this if you missed it and save it for future reference in the event you need it. This practical education is priceless.
As you receive this, Montgomery is upon us and I am sure all are hard at preparation for this event. Please remember that the Trust will have a table at LuLuTemple on Friday with our subsidized AKC DNA profile kits and reduced cost vWD test kits. Additionally, following Sweepstakes, Dr. Pam Hendrickson will be performing low-cost micro-chipping and examinations for patellar luxation at no cost, in order to facilitate your entry of your dogs into the open health registry. Please make your plans to utilize these services we provide for you. In addition, please visit with your Trustees in the course of the weekend to share your concerns, questions, and ideas on how the Trust can better serve your needs and improve the health of your dogs- both those you have now and the ones you will have in the future. The Trustees look forward to seeing you!
Louis A. Mitchell, M. D.
Chair, STCA Health Trust Fund
Bagpiper 2007 #2 Health Trust Newsletter
The Trust met on March 23, 2007 at the Southfork Hotel in Dallas in conjunction with the National Rotating weekend. We discussed a large number of subjects, making plans for the coming year. Over the course of the weekend the Trust also offered discounted vWD testing, subsidized AKC DNA profiling kits, and placed numerous microchips for member’s dogs at low cost. All of these efforts are aimed at enhancing the enrollment of dogs in the health registries and all seem to be making an impact.
We discussed educational initiatives at an earlier meeting of the Trust. It was the feeling of the Trustees at the time that the Montgomery weekend is too busy with conflicting activities to attempt to stage an educational activity in the course of the weekend. We made the decision to try and sponsor our educational efforts at either the Rotating or a major specialty weekend as time and the availability of suitable speakers might dictate.
The Trust is in the early stages of planning a major presentation on anatomy and structure and Dr. Claudia Orlandi has agreed to speak. This will immediately precede the breeders, exhibitors and judge’s education seminar by Jerry Roszman. This will be held the weekend of the 2008 National Rotating. We believe the two presentations by two seasoned professionals compliment each other beautifully and will offer the attendee a compelling educational opportunity.
At the Rotating meeting the Trust reviewed a report from the New England club detailing the results of their CERF clinic, sponsored by a grant from the Trust. Many dogs were examined and the feeling of the club was that it was a great success. There are two additional subsidy grants available to any regional club that might want to sponsor a CERF clinic in the course of this year. If your club is interested, please contact Helen Prince.
We are in the process of negotiating a continuing contract with Dr. Jerold Bell for his services to owners of dogs, which may be affected with cerebellar abiotrophy. Dr. Bell has been of immense value to the club for his advice and guidance in this area. He has for several years provided owners with diagnostic services for this disorder, aimed at helping them to understand the disease and cope with this tragic problem. We are most grateful for what he has done for us.
As many readers are aware, the Health Trust has funded a research project, which is attempting to determine the gene responsible for cerebellar abiotrophy. Many, many owners have contributed blood and tissue to this research effort. Funded in conjunction with three other breed clubs, this project is now in its second year of work. In recent months Dr. Natasha Olby has been looking at the samples of the Scottish Terrier subset in an effort to determine whether we might gain a time advantage by separating our materials and analyzing the Scottie DNA intensively as a separate research project. She has concluded that this would be desirable and has recently submitted a research protocol to the AKC Canine Health Foundation. It will be several months before we will know whether the Canine Health Foundation will approve this grant but we are excited by the prospect that this may allow us to reach our goal of identifying the responsible gene at an earlier point in time than would otherwise be possible.
I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the many friends of the Scottish Terrier who have donated money, blood and tissue, and time toward the many efforts the Trust has made to improve the health of the breed. We are grateful to all of you for your sacrifices. Unfortunately, all of these efforts cost a great deal of money. We have earmarked $26,000.00 for the bladder cancer work and a similar amount could be required for the cerebellar abiotrophy project should it be approved. Please consider a donation toward these projects, or toward any other project that the Trust has funded. You may designate that your donation is for work in the area of your interest.
Often we receive donations designated for a particular problem. Here is the puzzle. We are presented each year with a list of research projects that the Canine Health Foundation has approved for funding, pending the support of the various dog clubs. We sort this list and attempt to help with those projects for which we see a need and which appear most worthy and promising. There are many, many problems affecting our breed and a great many of these are common. Cushing’s Disease comes to mind but there are others. Until we find a research proposal with a good investigator willing to try and help us, we are not able to put the funds to work. Now, as it happens, we have not had a proposal for an investigation of Cushing’s during the time I have been on the Trust. It is not that we don’t think the problem is important. It is. But we often cannot find the investigator to address the issue. So, should you donate for a particular problem and not see information that we are working on it, this is usually the reason. Should you wish to remove your earmark and allow the general use of the funds, please contact the Treasurer and let them know you would like to remove this earmark.
The Trustees wish to thank each and every reader for your kindness to the Trust over the years. It is your interest and help with our programs, which makes the work possible.
Louis A. Mitchell, M.D.
Chair, STCA Health Trust Fund
Bagpiper 2007 #1 Health Trust Newsletter
The Health Trust has been very busy this past autumn with plans for the coming year’s research effort and also planning for the upcoming Rotating National Specialty to be held in Dallas in March. We gratefully acknowledge the efforts, time and monetary support of the many friends of the Scottish Terrier who have assisted the Trustees this past year in so many ways.
We were able to consider six research grants this past fall, sent to us by the AKC Canine Health Foundation. We selected three grants for funding, believing them to have the greatest significance to the breed. This is not to say that the other proposals were without merit. Like all of you, we were compelled to rank the grants in importance and choose those which we concluded gave us the greatest good for the available funds we had to put to work. The grants we funded were as follows:
Grant # 754 Mapping of the Gene for TCC in the Scottish Terrier and West Highland White Terrier Dr. Elaine Ostrander, NHGRI/NIH and Dr. Deborah Knapp, PurdueUniversity
$13,000 per year for 2 years. Total amount = $26,000
TCC affects Scottish Terriers more than any other breed. Louis has talked with Dr. Ostrander who feels they may have the marker in two years.
Motion by Pam Hendrickson, seconded by Helen Prince, to fund Grant #754 with $13,000 per year for two years. Passed unanimously.
Grant # 768 Collaborative Study by Veterinary Oncologists, Pathologists, and Diagnostic Laboratories to EnhanceDetection , Diagnosis, and Treatment of Canine Lymphoma Dr. Ted Valli, University of Illinois
Total amount = $1,000
Motion by Kathi Brown, seconded by Pam Hendrickson, to fund Grant # 768 with $1,000 for one year. Passed unanimously.
Grant #790 MicroRNA and MicroRNA Based Treatment of Canine Cancers Dr. William Kisseberth, OhioStateUniversity
Total amount = $2,500
It should surprise no one that the Health Trust can fund only that Research which is offered to us for consideration. We work with both the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation. There are sound reasons why we do this. First, the proposals have already undergone expert peer review before we see them, and have been screened in this way for merit and sound scientific value. Second, the proposals we fund receive at least matching funds from the AKC, doubling the amount of work we can pay for with the dollars spent. Often, when the Canine Health Foundation finds a grant of great promise, they will pay several times the amount we expend, as well as attempting to network with other breed clubs to accomplish the greatest funding possible. This is the case with the TCC grant we begin funding this year. Half of the breed club funding is coming from the West Highland White Terrier Club, and well in excess of half the cost of the research is coming from the AKC Canine Health Foundation. The total amount being expended on this proposal is $165,633.00, with $26,000.00 being paid by the Health Trust over two years. This is an extraordinary windfall for the Trust, as we obviously could not fund the total amount and the research is being done by the finest researchers in this field. Given that Transitional Cell Cancer of the Bladder is the most common malignancy in the Scottish Terrier and takes the lives of thousands of Scotties prematurely and annually, I am extremely excited by this project. We are thankful for the many individuals who have submitted monies, blood and tissue for this critical endeavor. As many may know, the goal of this project is to identify the gene responsible for this problem in Scottish Terriers. I have spoken with Dr. Elaine Ostrander at length about this research. She communicated that she believes we may be close to identifying a marker or candidate genes at the end of two years and that a second investigation may be necessary to identify the precise gene, after which we will need to find a commercial entity capable of producing an assay along the lines of the presently available vWD test. This would indeed be an exciting development.
Recently we received communication from Dr. Kent Zimmerman, whose investigation on behalf of the Trust in the area of liver dysfunction, that he has completed the compilation of data and that he plans publication of the results in the veterinary literature when analysis is completed- likely, later in this year. He expressed gratitude to the Trust for the support of this important investigation.
This said, it is by no means true that there are not many other problems worthy of our efforts. We will fund any problem which is important in the breed, but can only do so when we can find capable researchers who will take on the problem for us. And it never hurts when there are “deep pockets” such as the AKC Canine Health Foundation willing to pay half the cost of the project!
The Trust plans to offer at Rotating cost-subsidized microchipping, AKC DNA profiling, patellar examination, and other testing or educational materials as available in an effort to enhance the ease of registering dogs in the OFA and other open health registries. Please make plans to utilize these resources when you come to Dallas.
In closing, please let me say how very much each of the Trustees appreciates your time, interest and contributions, without which none of our work would be possible. Your intense interest and sacrifice is the grist of our job and we cannot do it without each and every one of you. Please talk with your Trustees and offer your thoughts and concerns about what we do. In this way, we can try to offer better health to the dogs we own and to those we will own in the future.
Thank you all!
Louis A. Mitchell, MD
Chairman, STCA Health Trust Fund
Bagpiper 2006 #4 Health Trust Newsletter
As the Health Trust Fund plans our activities for the year ahead, it is useful to look back and review what we have done over the past year. The successes and disappointments we have experienced are useful to us as we plan for the future. As Chairman of this talented group of Trustees, I have attempted above all to advocate a balanced and proportionate approach for addressing the health issues in our breed. It is easy to be distracted from the central and critical issues afflicting the breed by the “disease of the moment.” I have often said that there are many worthy diseases; the key to obtaining the maximum benefit for the breed lies in the dispassionate assessment of relative importance and a focus on those central problems which threaten the long-term survival of the Scottish Terrier. Far and away the greatest expenditure of the funds entrusted to us goes for research projects brought for our consideration by the AKC Canine Health Foundation. While in any given time period it may be that the Trust has failed to fund a given and serious problem, please understand that we can only pursue those problems for which promising research proposals exist. Stated differently, we will look diligently for promising proposals aimed at the relief of any problem common in the breed.
There are tools which we can use to help us understand where our emphasis must lay. For example, the recent health survey offers insight. We are highly sensitive to the responses of individuals and of donors who tell us of their dogs and their sacrifices. The Health Trust has a major contribution to offer in terms of the implementation of an open health registry. Also, the Health Trust Fund has a commitment to provide educational opportunities for the membership and we have been fortunate this year to have had Trustees gifted in this field and who have done so much in this area.
The Trust has commissioned a good deal of research over the past year. All of this research was funded by the Trust entirely with your donations, in many cases in cooperation with the breed health arms of other dog clubs, and always with matching funds from the AKC Canine Health Foundation. A majority of these projects lies in the area of canine cancers so prevalent in the Scottish Terrier. Cancers under scrutiny include lymphoma, lymphosarcoma, melanoma, and hemangiosarcoma. We are planning to sponsor a major project in the area of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in the coming year. We also sponsored a third year of research in collaboration with the Westie and Cairn Clubs in an effort to find the gene responsible for craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO). We funded another year of research on cerebellar abiotrophy and it is anticipated that further monies will be needed for this effort in future years. This latter project is also being underwritten by the breed health arms of the Old English Sheepdog, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Gordon Setter clubs.
The education committee of the Trust has published their third Health Trust Newsletter, distributed to the regional clubs. The untiring efforts of our education committee represents one of the greatest accomplishments of the Trust over this past year. At LuluTemple over Montgomery Weekend, the Trust will be providing several low cost and Trust-subsidized opportunities for owners to participate in activities necessary to register a dog in the open health registry. We will have reduced price vWD test kits, DNA profiling kits as well as providing inexpensive micro chipping in an effort to facilitate the open health registry. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health plans to send a team to collect blood samples from dogs who are candidates for the bladder cancer research we plan to begin in early 2007. I believe that this bladder cancer project will be the most important research we will sponsor in the coming year, aimed as it is at improving treatments and discovering the genetic basis of this most common cancer in the breed.
It has been my distinct pleasure to Chair this fine group over the past year and I am profoundly grateful to the Board of the Scottish Terrier Club of America for the opportunity afforded me. I believe the Trust has made great strides over the past year. I have become aware that Nan Barcan has decided not to return to the Trust. Her contribution to the Trust has been very great and we will certainly miss her on many levels. Her fund of knowledge and sunny disposition has been a warm ray of sunshine over the past two years and we wish her well. Thanks also to Linda Orsborn for her many contributions to the Trust over the past six years.
I would be remiss if I did not share with you my belief that the Health Trust is your club’s functioning health arm. What we do is solely possible because of the donations you provide. Your love of your dogs and sacrifice of donations is what makes the Trust possible. Each and every Trustee thanks you.
Louis A. Mitchell, M.D.
Bagpiper 2006 #3 Health Trust Newsletter
As you read this, the National Rotating is a fond memory and the Montgomery weekend is fast approaching. Rotating was a great success for the Trust, as many in attendance took advantage of the opportunity to have their dogs microchipped by Dr. Hendrickson, to obtain the AKC DNA profile kits offered at a Trust subsidized half-cost offer, and to purchase vWD kits at significant savings. Additionally, the Trust presented Mr. Eddie Dzuik, the head of OFA, who spoke to the audience on the implications and advantages of the CHIC registry recently endorsed by the STCA Board of Directors. We were able to have Mr. Dzuik’s presentation videotaped, and the Trust has prepared DVD’s of the presentation which have been shipped to each regional club for their use. So, if you missed out, please take the opportunity to view this important educational material.
The Trust will again offer microchipping, vWD kits, and DNA profiling at the Sweepstakes on Friday of Montgomery weekend, so please, if you need these important services, speak to a Trustee at the Sweepstakes. Mrs. Helen Prince is chairing these efforts and can get your needs cared for. In addition, the Trust will host representatives of the National Institutes of Health, who plan to attend to collect blood samples urgently needed for the pending research on Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder- the most common malignancy in the breed. If you have a Scottie of any age diagnosed with TCC or a healthy Scottie greater than five years of age with you that day, please, please allow these skilled personnel to obtain a blood sample so urgently needed for this vital research. There is no cost to be included in this study.
The Trust recently approved a donation of $5000.00 to the AKC- Canine Health Foundation. This money, which will be matched by the CHF and a number of other breed health organizations, will be used for research by Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh of the Broad Institute on a project titled: “Mapping Genes Associated with Canine Hemangiosarcoma.” This research will attempt to find genes responsible for hemangiosarcoma, a common malignancy in the Scottish Terrier. As I touch on these many efforts by the Trust to improve the health of the breed, I am reminded that all of these efforts cost money and of the continuing generosity of so many who love our breed. We thank you all.
The second issue of the HTF newsletter has been published and distributed electronically to the regional clubs. A third issue should be out as you read this and will have an educational article on dentition included within it. These Newsletters are sent to each regional club with the hope that they will be forwarded on to all of their members. Please ask for your copy of the newsletter so that you will be “in the know” on the workings of the Trust. Know that all the Trustees are so very grateful for all the past and future support that makes our work possible.