Article Text

Short Communication
Dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy in an Alaskan malamute
  1. D. Ito, DVM, PhD1,
  2. M. Kitagawa, DVM, PhD1,
  3. N. Jeffery, BVSc PhD2,
  4. M. Okada, DVM1,
  5. M. Yoshida, DVM3,
  6. M. Kobayashi, DVM3,
  7. A. Nakamura, MD, PhD3 and
  8. T. Watari, DVM, PhD1
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan
  2. Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
  3. Department of Molecular Therapy, National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, 4-1-1 Ogawa-higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan
  1. Correspondence to M. Kitagawa, e-mail: kitagawa{at}

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DYSTROPHIN-deficient muscular dystrophy is an X-linked inherited degenerative myopathy. It is the most common form of muscular dystrophy seen in dogs, and is similar to that termed Duchenne's muscular dystrophy in human medicine (Shelton and Engvall 2002, Schatzberg and Shelton 2004). Dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy has been reported in several breeds, summarised in Table 1 (Shelton and Engvall 2002, Schatzberg and Shelton 2004, Wieczorek and others 2006, Baltzer and others 2007, Klarenbeek and others 2007, Walmsley and others 2010). This short communication reports a confirmed case of dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy in an Alaskan malamute, which has only previously been suspected in this breed (Cardinet and Holliday 1979).

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Table 1

Breeds of dog confirmed to be affected by dystrophin-deficient muscular dystrophy

A four-month-old, 12.9 kg, intact male Alaskan malamute was presented to the Animal Medical Center at Nihon University with a one-month history of anorexia, excessive salivation, exercise intolerance, dysphagia and impaired growth. In addition to these clinical signs, the owner had also observed abnormal movement of the tongue and difficulty when drinking water. The owner reported no deficits in mentation or in behaviour, learning or house training compared with its littermates.

Rectal temperature was slightly elevated (39.9°C). Physical examination revealed hypertrophy of the tongue and laryngopharyngeal muscles, but other muscles appeared relatively unaffected and without pain on palpation. Postural reactions and spinal reflexes were normal, but the swallowing reflex was poor and abnormal movement of the tongue was also apparent. In addition, there was a reduced menace reaction with normal palpebral reflex and nasal sensation. Complete blood count was unremarkable but serum biochemistry indicated elevated creatine kinase (CK) activity …

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