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Zinc acetate was used for the treatment and prophylaxis of hepatic copper toxicosis in 3 Bedlington Terriers and 3 West Highland White Terriers. Two dogs of each breed were treated for 2 years, and 1 of each breed for 1 year. A dosage of 200 mg of elemental zinc per day was required to achieve therapeutic objectives related to copper, which included a doubling of plasma zinc concentration to 200 μg/dl and a suppression of oral 64 copper absorption. The dosage was later reduced to 50 to 100 mg/day to avoid an excessive increase in plasma zinc concentration. The preliminary clinical results were good. Three dogs had mild to moderate active liver disease and high liver copper concentrations at the time of initiation of zinc administration. Biopsy of the liver 2 years later revealed a reduction in hepatitis and copper concentrations. One other dog without active hepatitis also had a reduction in hepatic copper concentrations over a 2-year period. All 6 dogs have done well clinically. On the basis of these findings, we believe zinc acetate to be an effective and nontoxic treatment for copper toxicosis in dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To identify a DNA marker for the copper toxicosis (CT) locus in Bedlington Terriers (BT).


77 BT, of which 25 were affected. Diagnosis of affected or unaffected with CT was made in all cases by quantitative copper determinations on liver biopsy samples by use of established criteria.


BT pedigrees segregating for CT were identified. Linkage studies were carried out using polymorphic microsatellite markers developed for the canine genome in these pedigrees. DNA was isolated from blood samples of pedigree members. Polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify and type alleles at 213 microsatellite loci in each dog, and findings were subjected to linkage analysis.


One microsatellite marker was identified to be closely linked to CT with logarithm of odds score of 5.96 at a recombination fraction of zero.


Using the linked marker, it has become possible to distinguish affected, homozygous normal, and carrier dogs in some BT pedigrees.

Clinical Relevance

In informative pedigrees where the marker is variable in the parents, it is possible to identify which dogs will require anticopper therapy and provide breeders with sound scientific advice about breeding strategies. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:23–27)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research