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COLLEGE STATION, May 8, 2006 - The Canine Hereditary Nephritis
Research Project, now in its 14th year at Texas A&M
University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences, has been possible due to the generosity of its founding
contributors. The college recently honored Vera Stewart of Dallas,
Addi Pittman of Alice, and Laura and Danny Weaver of Navasota at a
luncheon to recognize their special contributions to this ongoing
One primary goal of the research is focused on identifying the
mutation that leads to the juvenile-onset of chronic kidney failure
in English Cocker Spaniels. In recent months, Dr. Keith Murphy's
Canine Genetics Laboratory at the college discovered the genetic
cause of this disease which has led to the development of a test
for genetic carriers of the trait that breeders of English Cocker
Spaniels can use to eliminate it from the breed.
Dr. George Lees, research project coordinator, along with Dr. H.
Richard Adams, dean of the college, Dr. Oscar "Bubba" Woytek,
senior development officer, and Dr. Sandee Hartsfield, department
head of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, hosted the luncheon and
presented each of the honorees with a plaque. "The canine
hereditary research project would never have existed, much less
become successful, without the gifts and assistance so generously
provided by the honorees," said Dr. Lees.
Ms. Vera Stewart was cited for being the founding contributor
for the English Cocker Spaniel Kidney Disease Research Project.
"Ms. Stewart gave us our first monetary donations and two of the
first dogs we studied," Lees said. "If it were not for her, we
would never have begun."
Ms. Addi Pittman was recognized for her extraordinary dedication
as the leading proponent for the English Cocker Spaniel Kidney
Disease Research Project. Ms. Pittman has been the chairperson for
the Health Education Committee for the English Cocker Spaniel Club
of America (ECSCA) throughout the 14-year period, according to
Lees. "She first arranged for me to present the plan for the
research project to the ESCA at its National Specialty Show in
Frederick, Maryland, in May 1993," said Lees. "Addi's unflagging
advocacy of the project has been a key element in maintaining the
club's commitment to the project of the years. Overall, the ECSA
and its members and friends have provided us with approximately
$188,000 in monetary support."
Laura and Danny Weaver were cited for being the founding
contributors for the Canine Hereditary Nephritis Project. "In the
summer of 1993, they brought us the first dog with the X-linked
form of the disease that we now study," explained Lees. "The Weaver
family's contributions permitted us to establish the canine HN
research colony at the university in 1997. To date, we have raised
a few more than 500 dogs in this colony, which as been supported by
three National Institute of Health (NIH) grants."
"This research project is an extraordinarily unique program in
that it originated from a single canine clinical patient diagnosed
by Dr. Lees, and through his subsequent diligence and teamwork with
other faculty and staff, developed a major research project
supported by the National Institutes of Health," said Dean Adams.
"What a tremendous accomplishment this is."
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843
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