Familial Amyloidosis in Bracchi Italiani: TL;DR

Yesterday, I was thrilled to see that our case series summarizing the kidney disease in 8 Bracchi Italiani was published online by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. To my knowledge, this is the first scientific publication documenting the kidney disease in this breed. Here is the link to the full document:

Familial Nephropathy in Bracchi Italiani: 8 Cases (2012-2019)

I wanted to provide the “TL;DR” (too long – didn’t read) abbreviated notes for quick reference here.

  • Amyloidosis is a diverse condition that can be localized (in one organ or part of the body) or systemic (throughout the body, or in many tissues).
  • It occurs when insoluble protein aggregates are deposited within tissue.
  • The kidney is the most common place of deposition in dogs, but it can be deposited in any tissue type.
  • Records and diagnostics were analyzed for 8 Bracchi with kidney disease confirmed on biopsy.
  • The dogs included in the study included 5 males and 3 females.
  • Their age ranged from 2-10 years, but the median age was 5 years.
  • The 8 dogs came from 4 distinct breeding lines and 4 were born outside the US; but there was common ancestry within 6 generations for all dogs.
  • The presenting symptoms were variable. The most common was inappetence. Increased thirst and urination, weight loss, weakness, cough and lameness were also seen.
  • All 8 dogs had protein loss in the urine (for the dogs with UP/C available, the median UP/C was 8.3).
  • Half of the dogs were azotemic (had increased kidney values on bloodwork) and the other half had normal Creatinine and BUN on bloodwork.
  • All of the dogs had low blood albumin concentrations.
  • The ultrasound reports from 5 dogs showed loss of normal layering of the kidneys (decreased corticomedullary distinction) in 4 dogs and ultrasound was reported normal in one dog.
  • 6/8 dogs were diagnosed with glomerular amyloidosis of the kidneys. Of those dogs, 2/6 also had amyloid deposited in the renal interstitium.
  • The other two dogs had a non-amyloid disease. It’s unknown if these are unrelated forms of kidney disease or if they represent a spectrum of the same underlying disease.
  • The median survival time post-diagnosis (half lived longer, half did not survive that long) was 75 days.
  • 7/8 dogs were euthanized from their disease, and one is still alive.
  • The dog that is still alive is managed on a telmisartan, moderate protein diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplement, and a probiotic.
  • Chronic inflammation often precedes the development of amyloidosis in Shar Pei, and it’s unknown if that’s also the case with the Bracco.
  • Due to the small number of dogs, further statistical analysis to correlate laboratory findings or patient factors with survival time wasn’t possible.
  • Clinical decline was often rapid once symptoms were noted, but earlier diagnosis may provide a window for disease management and longer survival.
Fibrosis (scarring) and cholesterol granulomas within a Bracco kidney.

Published by Bracco Vet

Full time emergency veterinarian and Bracco owner.

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