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Welcome to the Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership

The CDGP is a multi-disciplinary group of expert clinicians and scientists, from a range of UK institutions, sharing a special interest in the genetics of diabetes mellitus in dogs. The Partnership was formed in 2017 with funding from the PetPlan Charitable Trust, with the aim of using Whole Genome Sequencing to explore the genetic risk of canine diabetes in breeds considered to be at low risk (e.g. Boxer) and high risk (e.g. Samoyed) of developing the disease.

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The Launch of the Partnership

October 30th 2017

Our first meeting was held at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London on 30th November 2017. Our second took place on 16th April 2018, in Cambridge.

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Our Scientific Aims

We are using new high-throughput whole genome sequencing technologies to investigate the genetic basis of diabetes mellitus in dogs. We know that some breeds are at high risk of diabetes whereas other breeds are relatively protected from diabetes, but we do not know why this is the case. We hope that understanding the genetics of canine diabetes will help us to discover new treatments or preventative strategies.

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What is canine diabetes?

Canine diabetes mellitus affects 1 in 300 dogs, and is most commonly diagnosed in dogs over the age of 7 years. The first signs are often excessive thirst and urination, as well as weight loss. Diabetic dogs require dedicated and lifelong care from their owner and regular visits to the vet. They are usually reliant on receiving insulin injections twice a day. Feeding and exercise also have to be carefully controlled.

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Congratulations to CDGP PhD student Alice Denyer!

25th May 2018

Alice Denyer, our CDGP PhD student, based at the Royal Veterinary College, has won an International Canine Health Award - the 2018 Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award. In September 2017, Alice began studying for her PhD at the Royal Veterinary College under the supervision of Professors Brian Catchpole and Lucy Davison, founding members of the CDGP. The £10,000 funding from this Award will allow Alice to carry out further whole genome sequencing, as well as supporting her training and career development. Congratulations Alice!

Congratulations to CDGP MPhil student, Valeria Bergomi!

22nd May 2020

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Valeria Bergomi has won the Postgraduate Student Inspiration Award at the International Canine Health Awards 2020! Valeria is a recent RVC veterinary graduate, currently undertaking an MPhil funded by BSAVA Petsavers. Valeria is investigating the pancreatic microenvironment in canine and feline diabetes mellitus, supervised by Dr. Kate Hughes, a valued original member of the CDGP, and is based at the University of Cambridge Veterinary School. Valeria has been awarded a prize of £10,000 to help further expand her research and work, with the intention to carry out a PhD in this area, upon completion of her MPhil. Congratulations Valeria!

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Please get in touch using the form or by email if you want to learn more about our research. Please note that we are unable to offer veterinary advice - if you have any concerns about your pet please seek advice from your own vet.

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Latest News Updates

Review article: Genetics of canine diabetes mellitus parts 1 & 2

February 1st 2021

Dr Alice Denyer, Professor Lucy Davison and Professor Brian Catchpole, in collaboration with other CDGP members, have written a review article discussing much of the research and many of the concepts that underpin the aims and work of the Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership. The two parts of this article have been accepted for publication in The Veterinary Journal and are now available online:

New research publication!

October 31st 2020

CDGP members from the Royal Veterinary College, the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester have investigated the association of a major immune gene complex with canine diabetes in 12 dog breeds. This study supports existing evidence for a role of the immune system in development of canine diabetes in some breeds and emphasises the need for future research in this area. Read the full article here:

CDGP continues behind the scenes

June 10th 2020

Although our lab-based research and recruitment of samples to the UK Canine Diabetes Register is currently paused, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the CDGP are continuing bioinformatic and epidemiology research, as well as planning additional laboratory experiments once these can resume. This valuable work will enable us to make the best use of existing data and hit the ground running once lab-based projects can resume. We look forward to updating you with further research progress soon!

4th CDGP meeting - one year after launch!

November 15th 2018

Almost one year after the launch of the Canine Diabetes Genetics Partnership, eleven members of the partnership met at the head office of Dechra Veterinary Products in Shrewsbury to review recent CDGP project progress and discuss the project directions. Professor Lucy Davison led the meeting and chaired the discussions. Dr. Marsha Wallace brought everyone up-to-date with the data analysis, followed by an update from CDGP PhD student, Dr. Alice Denyer. The afternoon was filled with productive discussions about the next steps in data analysis and future funding opportunities. The meeting was kindly supported by Dechra and Dr. Nancy Zimmerman even  joined us from the USA. The next meeting will be held in Spring 2019, when we will have data from even more whole genomes to discuss!

The Canine Diabetes Register is seeking diabetic dogs!

October 10th 2018

The UK Canine Diabetes Register contains clinical information and residual blood samples taken from diabetic dogs for diagnostic purposes. The archive was established in 2000 at the Royal Veterinary College and is crucial to the work of the CDGP. In order to expand the register, we are relaunching sample recruitment with the support of the Pet Plan Charitable Trust and Dechra Pharmaceuticals Ltd. We are offering fructosamine and HbA1c testing free of charge for diabetic dogs which are not already part of the register. If you are a veterinarian and would like to submit samples from diabetic patients, please visit for further information and to download a sample submission form. Thank you for supporting this important research!

Data from first 10 canine whole genomes received!

May 1st 2018

We are very excited that the data from the first 10 of 50 canine whole genomes to be sequenced by the CDGP have arrived and are safely downloaded onto our computer cluster.  A further 6 genomes will follow in the next 3-4 weeks. We already have data from many other canine genomes and exomes, but these are the first canine whole genomes sequenced specifically for diabetes research since the CDGP began. We will be analysing these using our new pipeline in the coming weeks and sharing the data with the CDGP at our summer meeting.

Successful CDGP meeting at St Edmund's College, Cambridge

April 16th 2018

Ten members of the CDGP met in Cambridge for the day to review progress, discuss research strategy and ongoing funding applications. It was a very interesting and constructive day, with contributions from Dr. Penny Watson on canine pancreatitis and Dr. Marsha Wallace on the challenges of canine whole genome sequencing. We discussed new technologies that we are keen to explore in our work, as well as sharing our experience of handling whole genome variant data. We also had the opportunity to review our data management and security strategies and to discuss data sharing and collaborative work with veterinary and scientific colleagues.  Many of us will meet again in mid-May in Edinburgh, for the Companion Animal Genetic Health Conference.  Following this succesful meeting, we will re-covene for our third meeting later this summer, to discuss the findings from our first round of whole genome sequencing.

New CDGP Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate appointed

30th March 2018

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Marsha Wallace to our position of Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate. Marsha received her PhD from the University of Cornell and is currently undertaking postdoctoral research in type 1 diabetes at the University of Oxford. She will be undertaking our CDGP bioinformatics analysis as well as training our PhD students and overseeing the DNA extraction and sequencing. We look forward to welcoming Marsha to the team officially in early September.

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Current funding support and partners

We are a multi-institution and multi-disciplinary partnership. Our main funding source is a Project Grant from the PetPlan Charitable Trust, awarded to Prof. Lucy Davison and Prof. Brian Catchpole at the Royal Veterinary College in 2017.  Meetings of the CDGP are also supported by our industrial partner, Dechra Veterinary Products. Alice Denyer, our PhD student, is supported by a University of London Inter-disciplinary Doctoral Training Programme studentship, in partnership with Dechra. Pilot work for this Partnership was undertaken using funding from the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Companion Animals) Clinical Studies Fund. Funding for an MPhil student has been provided by a BSAVA PetSavers grant. We are also very grateful for research funding raised by the Samoyed Association through their "Sequence a Sammy" initiative. Partnership members are based in a variety of institutions, shown below, and we are very pleased to be collaborating with scientists at the Animal Health Trust and the 'Give a Dog a Genome' project.

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