An autosomal recessive, lethal, neurologic disease of Gordon Setter puppies

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2000 Nov;12(6):570-3. doi: 10.1177/104063870001200615.


This report details clinical, necropsy, and pedigree data on an inherited, lethal, neurologic disease of young Gordon Setters. This disorder is characterized by an early age of onset, gait and postural abnormalities, progressive weakness, and recumbency by 5-6 weeks of age. Although clinically distinctive, postmortem changes in affected pups were minimal. Gross lesions were not observed. Microscopic changes were subtle and consisted of astrocyte swelling, primarily in the cerebrocortical and cerebellar white matter, and white matter tracts of the brainstem. Immunohistochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein revealed a marked increase in the number and staining intensity of astrocyte cytoplasmic processes in affected pups compared with age-matched controls. Neither cerebral inflammation nor neuronal necrosis was identified. Pedigree analysis of affected litters demonstrated an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. A diagnosis of this heritable disease should be based on the early age of onset (3-4 weeks of age), characteristic clinical signs, rapid progression to recumbency by 5-6 weeks of age, identification of swollen astrocytes primarily in the cerebellar and cerebrocortical white matter and white matter tracts of the brainstem, and the exclusion of other disease processes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gait
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / veterinary*
  • Pedigree
  • Posture
  • Spinal Cord / pathology