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Can J Vet Res. 2008 Jul;72(4):350-5.

A retrospective epidemiological study of clinical signs and familial predisposition associated with aseptic meningitis in the Norwegian population of Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers born 1994-2003.

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  • 1Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Postboks 8146 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway.


Aseptic meningitis (AM) is a disease that causes grave clinical signs such as intensive neck pain, fever, and lethargy. The severity of this disease is reflected in the fact that affected animals require long-term, and in chronic cases, lifelong therapy with corticosteroids. A number of dogs must be euthanized because of therapeutic failure. In recent years, the Norwegian population of Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers has experienced an increase in individuals with AM. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of AM and to pursue the suspicion of hereditary factors influencing an accumulation of AM cases in the breed. Using the Norwegian Kennel Club registery, a random sample (362 dogs) stratified by year of birth was drawn from the total population born from 1994 to 2003 (1525 individuals). The owners were contacted and questioned about clinical signs of AM in their dogs. Subsequently, the practising veterinarians and the breeders of positive responders were contacted in order to confirm a clinical diagnosis of AM and to identify possible affected family members. Pedigrees of AM positive individuals and affected relatives were investigated. The study estimated a prevalence of AM of 2.5%. For all affected dogs, it was possible to trace the pedigree of both parents of affected dogs back to a specific founder dog. The genealogical investigation strongly indicates that genetic factors are involved in the etiology of the disease.

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