GPCA Funded Grants

Each year the Canine Health Foundation presents lists of research needing funding to the GPCA Health Committee. The committee reviews the proposals and through discussion and member votes, chooses those beneficial to Great Pyrenees or general canine health. Though many have been chosen with the expectation they will add to the knowledge of cause or cure of cancers reported in Great Pyrenees, many will benefit other health concerns.

GPCA Studies/Research – 2020

Currently Funded

Grant 01660: Identify the Genes That Confer Risk for Osteosarcoma (PDF)  End of Year 8 Report

Grant 01780: Defining the Mechanism by Which Ticks Locate Dogs in Order to Better Prevent Disease Transmission (PDF)  Final Report

Grant 02383: Identifying Cellular Mechanisms of Inflammation During Canine Tick-Borne Diseases (PDF)  Final Report

Grant 02518: The Effects of Early Life Experience on Working Dog Temperament and Cognition (PDF)  Mid -Year 2 Report

Grant 02519: Prevalence of Bartonella spp. Infection in Dogs with Cardiac and Splenic Hemangosarcomas Within and Between Geographic Locations (PDF)  End of Year 2 Report

Grant 02528: Developing a Next Generation Sequencing Diagnostic Platform for Tick-Borne Diseases (PDF)  Mid-Year 2 Report

Grant 02534: Clinical Trial for Evaluation of Propranolol and Doxorubicin in the Treatment of Canine Hemangiosarcoma (PDF)  Mid-Year 1 Report

Grant 02659: Breed Specific Reference Ranges for Canine Thyroid Testing (PDF) Mid-Year 1 Report

GPCA Funded Studies/Research – 2016

Gastrointestinal Disease Research Program Area

Grant 02233-A: Evaluation of a Novel Technique for Gastric Decompression in Dogs with Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (PDF)

Grant 01935-B: Abnormalities in the Stomach’s Ability to Contract Predisposes Large-Breed Dogs to Bloat (PDF)

Grant 01937-B: Evaluating the Complex Genetic Basis of Bloat (PDF)

Grant 02215: A Cancer Vaccine for Canine Osteosarcoma (PDF)

NOTE: None of the above studies are requesting samples from Great Pyrenees, and the results are not expected to be breed-specific.

Studies/Research Closed or Completed, Previously Funded by GPCA

Grant No. 2078: Development of a Regenerative Medicine Technique to Treat Cartilage Disorders in Dogs
Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 01139: Immune Targeting of Canine Hemangiosarcoma Using a Canine Derived Single Chain Antibody Approach
Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 00982: Evaluation of Efficacy of Fasaret in Dogs with Osteosarcoma
Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 01355: A Expression of Vascular Endothelial Markers in Canine Hemangiosarcoma and Their Use in Diagnostic Cytology Using Immunocytochemistry
Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 757A&B: Hereditary Mutations in Genes Associated with Osteosarcoma in Large Dog Breeds Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 976: Investigating the Role of STAT3 Activation in Canine Osteosarcoma
Final Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 373A: Mapping Genes Associated with Osteosarcoma in Large Dog Breeds – Research headed by Dr. Kerstin Linblad-Toh, The Broad Institute. Downloadable Report (PDF)

Grant No. 2405: Inhibition of Collagenolysis in Canine Cruiciate Ligament During Rupture – Research headed by Peter Muir, BVSc, PhD, University of Wisconsin. Downloadable Report (PDF)

Cancers Affecting the Great Pyrenees

Type of cancers affecting the Great Pyrenees vary. The most common, however, is osteosarcoma, with hemangiosarcoma rising behind it.

The GPCA currently co-funds research with The Broad Institute for osteosarcoma. This is a very important study, and the researchers are seeking samples of both affected and non-affected Great Pyrenees.

The Broad Institute is also conducting a study on various types of cancer — The Dog Genome Project. They are also seeking samples of both affected and non-affected Great Pyrenees for the following cancers:

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Melanoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Mammary Cancer
  • Mast Cell

Cancer in Great Pyrenees

This section contains information on canine cancer and those types that have been known to affect the Great Pyrenees. We have listed a vast variety of cancers, though not all have affected the Great Pyrenees. According to the recent health surveys the two types of cancers with high incidence affecting the Great Pyrenees are osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.

Grants and Research

The GPCA encourages all members to participate in the current studies and research being conducted on canine cancer. See tab at the top for information on GPCA funded and non-funded studies. This information is provided solely for educational purposes. If you suspect your pet may have a type of cancer, we urge you to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Non-Funded All-Breed Research

The GPCA Health Committee attempts to bring as much information as possible to it’s members and Pyrenees owners regarding research an studies. Below are a list of studies that request all-breed participation. If you should know of a study or research that is requesting all-breed participation and it is not listed, please contact Flo Laicher at

Research Area: Histocompatibility alleles conferring susceptibility to canine diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia

Breeds: All Breeds

Autoimmune diseases cause significant amounts of mortality and debilitating disease in dogs. In humans many autoimmune diseases occur only in individuals expressing one of the few predisposing histocompatibility genes. For example, all cases of type I diabetes in humans are associated with only a few of the many allelic forms of class II histocompatibility genes. Consequently, if the frequencies of these few alleles were reduced by half, the incidence of diabetes would be reduced by half. Here we propose to characterize histocompatibility susceptibility alleles for three major, heritable canine autoimmune diseases – diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. If any of these three debilitating (or lethal) autoimmune diseases have a restricted number of susceptibility alleles it will allow: (1) development of diagnostic tests for identifying individuals at risk for prophylactic therapy and research and (2) reducing the incidence of the disease by reducing the breeding of individuals carrying the predisposing histocompatibility alleles. For each of the three autoimmune diseases, we propose to collect DNA samples from approximately 100 purebred dogs diagnosed with the disease. Histocompatibility genes will be cloned and sequenced for each dog for a total of approximately 1100 sequences. Histocompatibility alleles will be tested for significant associations with each of the autoimmune diseases.

We need samples from purebred dogs that have confirmed diagnosis of one of these three autoimmune diseases: diabetes, immune-mediated thyroiditis or immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. If your dog has been diagnosed with one of these three diseases please take a consent/diagnosis form (or print one from our website: Fill it out completely, including the diagnosis criteria signed by your veterinarian and return to us. We will then send you a DNA collection kit, which only requires cheek swabbing your dog and returning the swabs to us in a pre-stamped envelope.

Research Area: Genetic Testing for Degenerative Myelopathy

Canine Genetic testing for disease specific alleles or a risk-associated mutation is becoming more prevalent in veterinary medicine. Recent announcements of a genetic test for the presence of a genetic mutation associated with an increase risk of Degenerative Myelopathy is considered of having high-specificity for Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, French Bulldogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Though the test is available for all breeds, its effectiveness in establishing the presence of an increased risk factor for Great Pyrenees has yet to be clearly established. Through research at the Braod Institute and Dr. Lindblad-Toh,,our breed has an opportunity to develop this as a Great Pyrenees specific test.

We are invited to submit blood samples for testing towards the DM allele for free on any Great Pyrenees dog showing signs of Degenerative Myelopathy. For those that wish to have the test done in the absence of symptoms it will be an aide to the research but require the associated fee.

The DM testing requires 2 forms: a consent form (PDF) and a sample submission form (PDF).

The researchers are also looking for tissue samples from autopsy of any humanely euthanized dogs that had shown signs and/or symptoms of DM as well as older, non-symptomatic dogs. The protocol for tissue sampling and submission (PDF) can be downloaded for your vet.