Alaskan Malamute Polyneuropathy

Other Names: Hereditary polyneuropathy of Alaskan Malamutes, Inherited polyneuropathy, AMPN
Affected Genes: NDRG1
Inheritance: Autosomal Recessive
Mutation: Point Mutation
Breed(s): Alaskan Malamute

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Common Symptoms

Alaskan Malamute polyneuropathy is a progressive, inherited, Neuromuscular Disease affecting Alaskan Malamutes. Affected dogs typically present between 3 and 19 months of age with a combination of voice changes, noisy (high-pitched) breathing sounds, exercise intolerance and/or loss of hind limb muscle coordination. Progression of disease results in significant muscle Atrophy of limbs and spinal musculature, hind limb weakness, a “bunny hopping” gait, and, in some cases, weakness in all four limbs resulting in an inability to walk. While some dogs appear to partially recover and live relatively normal lives, other dogs are euthanized due to the severity of the disease.


Testing Tips

Genetic testing of the NDRG1 gene in Alaskan Malamutes will reliably determine whether a dog is a genetic Carrier of Alaskan Malamute polyneuropathy. Alaskan Malamute polyneuropathy is inherited in an Autosomal Recessive manner in dogs meaning that they must receive two copies of the mutated gene (one from each parent) to develop the disease. In general, carrier dogs do not have features of the disease but when bred with another carrier of the same Mutation, there is a risk of having affected pups. Each pup that is born to this pairing has a 25% chance of inheriting the disease and a 50% chance of inheriting one copy and being a carrier of the NDRG1 gene mutation. Reliable genetic testing is important for determining breeding practices. In order to eliminate this mutation from breeding lines and to avoid the potential of producing affected pups, breeding of known carriers to each other is not recommended. Alaskan Malamutes that are not carriers of the mutation have no increased risk of having affected pups.


There may be other causes of this condition in dogs and a normal result does not exclude a different mutation in this gene or any other gene that may result in a similar genetic disease or trait.


References

  • Braund KG, Shores A, Lowrie CT, Steinberg HS, Moore MP, Bagley RS, Steiss JE. Idiopathic polyneuropathy in Alaskan malamutes. J Vet Intern Med. 1997 Jul-Aug;11(4):243-9. [PubMed: 9298480]
  • Bruun CS, Jaderlund KH, Berendt M, Jensen KB, Spodsberg EH, Gredal H, Shelton GD, Mickelson JR, Minor KM, Lohi H, Bjerkas I, Stigen O, Espenes A, Rohdin C, Edlund R, Ohlsson J, Cizinauskas S, Leifsson PS, Drogemuller C, Moe L, Cirera S, Fredholm M. A Gly98Val mutation in the N-Myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) in Alaskan malamutes with polyneuropathy. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e54547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054547. Epub 2013 Feb 5. [PubMed: 23393557]