Working for a Happy, Healthy Future for All Tibetan Terriers


Research & Grants

Since its creation in 2007, the TTHWF has funded research into Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL), Primary Lens Luxation (PLL), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA/AIHA), Canine Atopic Dermatitis, Lymphoma, Renal Dysplasia as well as the Stem Cell Treatment of NCL. The TTHWF helped to fund research which led to the development of DNA tests for NCL and PLL in Tibetan Terriers. Information on the status of current research grants and projects is available by clicking on the bulleted links. Learn more about Tibetan Terrier health.

September 28, 2014

TTHWF sponsors Hypothyroidism Research Through AKC CHF

The TTHWF is proud to help sponsor AKC CHF grant #02138 entitled "Development of an Accurate Diagnostic Assay for Canine Hypothyroidism" by Dr. Jan A Mol, PhD from the University of Utrecht.
go to web page

January 1, 2013
New Grant To Study PRA Approved, Call for Samples

The Tibetan Terrier Health and Welfare Foundation has announced the approval of a $20,000 grant to Dr. Gary Johnson from University of Missouri to further study Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Tibetan Terriers.  PRA is a group of inherited diseases that cause the degeneration of the retina over time, resulting in blindness.

By sequencing the genome of two PRA affected TTs (one diagnosed with an early onset form of PRA  and the other with later onset PRA), they hope to identify the mutations that cause the forms progressive retinal atrophy found in TTs that are not explained by the previously identified rcd4 PRA. (See below for information about rcd4 PRA testing.) Dr. Johnson's proposal is entitled “Identification of Mutations Responsible for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in TTs by Whole Genome Sequencing”.

PRA Samples Still Requested by University of Missouri
If you have a dog that has been diagnosed with PRA, please consider submitting a blood sample to the University of Missouri to help further their research. Information on Sample Submission

If you have questions about sample submission, please contact Liz Hansen at the University of Missouri at hansenl@missouri.edu

September 7, 2012
Important Announcement from the University of Missouri
PRA Research Update and RCD4 PRA Testing Available

Earlier this summer Dr. Cathryn Mellersh and colleagues at the Animal Health Trust in England reported the identification of a mutation in a gene named C2orf71. This mutation causes PRA in older members of the Gordon Setter breed and related breeds. We, at the University of Missouri, have identified the same mutation in members of several non-setter breeds including the Tibetan Terrier. This finding prompted us to request a small grant from the Tibetan Terrier Health and Welfare Foundation to estimate the relative importance of the C2orf71 mutation as a cause of PRA in Tibetan Terriers.

As part of this project, we tested for the C2orf71 mutation in DNA from 125 Tibetan Terriers. Our results indicate that the C2orf71 mutation makes a relatively small contribution to the overall PRA problem in Tibetan Terriers. Only about 2% of the Tibetan Terriers have inherited the C2orf71 mutation from both their sire and their dam and are therefore at risk of developing PRA as they approach 10 years of age. Nonetheless, Tibetan Terrier breeders can avoid producing any puppies at risk of developing PRA caused by C2orf71 mutation by testing their breeding stock and ensuring that at least one member of any breeding pair tests “homozygous normal.” Tests can be purchased at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website where it is referred to as RCD4 PRA.

It is clear from our study that most of the PRA in Tibetan Terriers is caused by an as yet undiscovered mutation (or mutations). We are currently preparing another grant proposal for the Tibetan Terrier Health and Welfare Foundation to fund additional experiments which may enable us to identify novel causes of Tibetan Terrier PRA. This should lead to the production of new DNA test to assist breeders’ efforts to produce puppies will that maintain healthy retinas throughout their lives.

Gary S. Johnson, DVM. PhD
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Missouri

February, 2013
TTHWF Co-Sponsors Lymphoma Study with the
Morris Animal Foundation

The TTHWF is proud to announce that we will be co-sponsoring a promising study through the Morris Animal Foundation. The study, Determining a More Effective Treatment for Canine Lymphoma is being conducted by Dr. Jaime Modiano at the University of Minnesota.



Researchers seeking grant funding click HERE.

to help the TTHWF fund current and future research studies.


University of Missouri
Gary S. Johnson, DVM, PhD
Identification of Mutations Responsible for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Tibetan Terriers by Whole-Genome Sequencing

Proposed start date – 1/2/13
Proposed end date – 4/30/13 to 6/30/13

University of California - Davis
Stem Cell Therapy Research
Limited clinical trial investigating the potential of stem cells to treat NCL.
• June, 2009 Introduction
• June, 2010 update

Michigan State University
PRA Research 
Dr. Simon Peterson-Jones is stepping up his Tibetan Terrier PRA research.
• January 2010
• Downloadable blood sample
submission form

AKC Canine Health Foundation

The TTHWF is proud to help sponsor research through the AKC CHF. Here are some grants we have sponsored.

• Study #D13CA-033
(Canine Lymphoma)


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February 8, 2015