SARDS, also known as Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, is a sudden onset blindness of unknown cause. It affects mostly middle aged, spayed female dogs. Many different breeds have been described with the disease. Despite the disease being known about for over 30 years, the underlying cause is not understood, and no treatment has been definitively proven to be effective. Dogs remain permanently blind.
ACVO VAF grants for SARDS research
Dr. Mowat and her lab have received grants from the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists Vision for Animals Foundation to study the underlying causes of SARDS and to perform a pilot treatment trial for SARDS. Our work continues to be funded through these funds and through generous donations to our work.
What does the Mowat Lab do to study SARDS?
Our lab has recruited clinical cases of SARDS from client-owned dogs presenting to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. We have recruited not only dogs with SARDS, but as controls we recruited normal dogs and dogs with Pituitary-dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease). We are almost complete with our enrollment phase of the studies, and plan to publish our first findings later in 2017.
The ultimate goals of our research are: 1. To develop ways of diagnosing SARDS earlier, in order to catch patients at a stage of disease before permanent blindness is inevitable. 2. To better understand the pathways of disease, in order to develop specific and effective treatments. 3. With our funding for a pilot SARDS treatment trial, we have evaluated an immunomodulatory drug for the treatment of SARDS in dogs. 4. To gather information on previous SARDS cases to inform our future studies through the use of an online questionnaire: goo.gl/forms/Zi171JNSO8LatCgn2
How can I help?
If your dog has been diagnosed with SARDS at any time in the past, please take the time to fill out our questionnaire: goo.gl/forms/Zi171JNSO8LatCgn2
**UPDATE as of 01/01/2017**: Our clinical trials are CLOSED for new SARDS participants. Please do not contact us for enrollment questions. We are ONLY recruiting Cushing's disease cases at this time.
If you wish to make a donation to Dr. Mowat's research, please visit this link: make a donation. Please select in the Choose a fund option, the "Retinal Research Fund"