Shiba Inu Glaucoma Genetic Study Fund
SOS! (Save our Shibas!)

Please help us alleviate Glaucoma concerns in our Shiba Inus.
Full of Hope and Promise
I was the least likely person someone would expect to raise and show dogs. But then we discovered fell in love with this funny, loving and quirky, wicked smart breed, the Shiba Inu. Sandie wanted one, and if you know Sandie, you know that's going to happen one way or another. Sandie and I were not aware of the dog show/breeding world when we first found the Shiba Inu.

This was in 1990 (30 years ago OMG!). We were young and full of hope and promise, starting with a lot to learn, but determined to be the best in breed(ers). In 1992 Shibas were a new breed to the AKC. Breeders were doing their own thing with little or no communication with more established Japanese breeders - it was a time before the Internet and easy translation.

Since the beginning, when we started breeding dogs, we have always interviewed all prospective adopters in person. No exceptions. We consider the people who have our dogs as our extended family members. Christmas cards every year, phone calls, birthday cards, invites for pizza, and playdates. If you have a problem, you call us. That's the deal. We're always here for you. We are very touchy, feely kind of breeders.

When something goes wrong, we can usually give them quick feedback and help make everything okay. Upset stomach, take this, or do that. Lethargic, check him here, okay if that's not it, do this. We were doing the health tests that everyone else was doing, learning from other people in the dog world. Life was good, we had healthy and happy dogs, and we were winning. Glaucoma was mentioned by perhaps 2 or 3 people but never thought of as an issue in the breed.
But then, one day, we got THE call.
One of our dogs had Primary Glaucoma (PG). To understand PG think of the eyeball as a sink with the water running. If the drain is clogged or the pipes have tight angles, the flow backs up and creates pressure. This pressure comes on quickly and is painful for the dog. It is an inheritable disease, and only one parent needs to be a carrier to pass it on to their offspring, so 50% of the offspring will be affected.

We started working with UPenn's Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre, and with his guidance, we used gonioscopy [1] to screen Shibas to determine who was predisposed to PG. As with any diagnostic test, it is not 100 % reliable. As a Shiba Inu owner, it would not be surprising to know that they are not a "cooperative" breed when it comes to gonioscopy exams; they tend not to like the exam and "object" to the procedure. Also, their eye's anatomy, smaller with a slant to them, tends to be problematic when holding the examining lens used in the gonioscopy.

After we screened all our dogs and removed all suspected carriers in 2000 & 2001, we seemed to have everything under control. Then in 2020, a dog we purchased for breeding developed Primary Glaucoma at age 8. We had been screening dogs at age six months, believing this was a one-time exam that would be good for the dog's entire life. This turned out to not be the case at all. As time went on and more information became available, we now know that the dogs need additional tests as they age. Many of the areas of the US do not have Canine Ophthalmologists nearby.

We took some of the "fur babies" once again to UPenn and found Dr. Keiko Miyadera, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, a leading researcher into this devastating disease. She has initiated a pilot study searching for genetic markers that can help determine the risk of developing glaucoma in Shiba-Inus. Hopefully, this will develop into a screening tool that breeders in the US and Worldwide can use to produce healthy dogs.
We would like to be able to alleviate this whole concern. Our Shibas and their owners are our friends and family. We don't want to make that phone call, the one that says their Shiba is predisposed for glaucoma, and they have to watch for signs. This new research by Dr. Miyadera will most likely help all breeds of dogs. That is why it is so near and dear to our hearts. Please help make this concern not a concern anymore.
Notes on Primary Glaucoma
In the few cases of PG in our dogs, symptoms presented around the age of 8. Shibas are typically bred three times, starting at the age of 2, with litter sizes averaging three. Potentially, a dog will be six years old when its parent is diagnosed with glaucoma.

Primary Glaucoma in Shibas comes on rapidly, unlike in humans. Veterinarians sometimes missed initial diagnosis, and the damage is done if not treated quickly and correctly. We suggest that you select a veterinarian who can perform the screening test for glaucoma, tonometry as part of routine visits. Tonometry measures the pressure in the eyeball, and a rise in pressure is an early sign of PG.

Primary Glaucoma affects both eyes, but one eye at a time, typically about one year apart. Latanoprost, an eyedrop, is commonly used to reduce eye pressure. In the worst cases, your Shiba can become blind within two years of initial diagnosis. Dogs can still have good lives after going blind, but the process is painful for the dog and expensive for the owners.

[1] Gonioscopy is a painless way of illuminating the angle of the eye to determine a blockage or angulation that obstructs the flow.

For updates on Dr. Miyadera's lab which outlines the Glaucoma trial and includes an online link to the sample submission form. Click on the link below:

https://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-laboratories/research-laboratory/miyadera-laboratory

    Donation messages
    Koba and Jira and Tom and Sandie --Briere-Weissmuller Family
    Thank you to everyone making this study possible! --Corina Van Camp & Charles Tadros
    May all the Shibas be as safe and healthy as he was! --Kaberu Shibas
    Loved and cherished buddy --Ms. Stephanie Leong
    For Tachi. --HillBritain Hill
    Donate now!
    Fundraising goal $125,000.00
      Here are some of our Shibas that have suffered  
    Recent donations (23 donations)
    Name DescendingX Amount
    Briere-Weissmuller Family $200.00
    Ms. Sue Mincemoyer-Gray $50.00
    I Britain Hill $200.00
    David Nuernberger & Faye Tunggal $100.00
    Krissy Stanford (Coquina Shiba) $100.00
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    Recent donations
    Top donors (23 donations)
    Extended Family of Rodel Shibas $10000.00
    Sandie and Tom Rolenaitis $1000.00
    Anonymous
    HillBritain Hill This amount includes donations indented below $250.00
       I Britain Hill    $200.00
    Glen & Susanne Ozasa This amount includes donations indented below $225.00
       Carrie and Kevin Burke    $25.00
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    delrossi@upenn.edu | Anne Marie Del Rossi, Director, Data Services | 215.898.3062
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