Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Molecular epidemiology of canine GM1 gangliosidosis in the Shiba Inu breed in Japan: relationship between regional prevalence and carrier frequency

Mohammad M Uddin12, Sayaka Arata3, Yukari Takeuchi3, Hye-Sook Chang1, Keijiro Mizukami1, Akira Yabuki1, Mohammad M Rahman12, Moeko Kohyama1, Mohammad A Hossain2, Kenji Takayama4 and Osamu Yamato1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Clinical Pathology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kagoshima University, 1-21-24 Kohrimoto, Kagoshima, 890-0065, Japan

2 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chittagong, 4202, Bangladesh

3 Laboratory of Veterinary Ethology, Department of Animal Resources Science, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan

4 Hayashiya Animal Medical Center, 18-6 Rokujizonara-cho, Uji-shi, Kyoto, 611-0001, Japan

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:132  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-132

Published: 3 July 2013



Canine GM1 gangliosidosis is a fatal disease in the Shiba Inu breed, which is one of the most popular traditional breeds in Japan and is maintained as a standard breed in many countries. Therefore, it is important to control and reduce the prevalence of GM1 gangliosidosis for maintaining the quality of this breed and to ensure supply of healthy dogs to prospective breeders and owners. This molecular epidemiological survey was performed to formulate an effective strategy for the control and prevention of this disease.


The survey was carried out among 590 clinically unaffected Shiba Inu dogs from the 8 districts of Japan, and a genotyping test was used to determine nation-wide and regional carrier frequencies. The number and native district of affected dogs identified in 16 years from 1997 to June 2013 were also surveyed retrospectively. Of the 590 dogs examined, 6 dogs (1.02%, 6/590) were carriers: 3 dogs (2.27%, 3/132) from the Kinki district and the other 3 dogs from the Hokkaido, Kanto, and Shikoku districts. The retrospective survey revealed 23 affected dogs, among which, 19 dogs (82.6%) were born within the last 7 years. Of the 23 affected dogs, 12 dogs (52.2%) were from the Kinki district. Pedigree analysis demonstrated that all the affected dogs and carriers with the pedigree information have a close blood relationship.


Our results showed that the current carrier frequency for GM1 gangliosidosis is on the average 1.02% in Japan and rather high in the Kinki district, which may be related to the high prevalence observed over the past 16 years in this region. This observation suggests that carrier dogs are distributed all over Japan; however, kennels in the Kinki district may face an increased risk of GM1 gangliosidosis. Therefore, for effective control and prevention of this disease, it is necessary to examine as many breeding dogs as possible from all regions of Japan, especially from kennels located in areas with high prevalence and carrier frequency.

GM1 Gangliosidosis; Shiba Inu Dog; Molecular Epidemiology; Canine Inherited Disease