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MDR1 Gene Mutation in Dogs

Australian Shepherd dog at the vet's office




Many herding dog breeds are afflicted with a mutation of the multi-drug resistance (mdr1) gene. This gene encodes a protein (P-glycoprotein) that is responsible for removing certain drugs and toxins from the brain. Dogs that carry the mdr1 genetic defect cannot rid their brains of the problem drugs. The result is a neurotoxic buildup that can cause abnormal neurological symptoms and/or death. Research has shown that three of every four Collies have at least one copy of the mutated gene. There is now a test available to screen for the presence of the mutated mdr1 gene.


Drugs to Avoid for Dogs with MDR1


Drugs to avoid in dogs with the MDR1 gene mutation: The tranquilizer acepromazine; a pain medication called butorphanol; the anti-cancer drugs doxorubicin, vinblastine and vincristine; the antibiotics erythromycin and rifampin; anti-parasitic drugs such as ivermectin (in high doses), milbemycin, moxidectin and selamectin; and the anti-diarrheal drug loperamide (Imodium).


Affected Breeds



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