American Spaniel Club Foundation, Inc.

Health and Research

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We Can Not Stop Now!

We are into the third year of the Dr. Aguirre led University of Pennsylvania study on finding a

marker for inherited cataracts in cocker spaniels. Dr. Aguirre and his University of Pennsylvania

team are analyzing all the samples gathered to date to eventually select samples for further

genome sequence analysis. Out of close to 550 samples gathered thus far for the University,

24 normal dogs and 24 affected dogs have been selected and there are also another 20 afflicted

dogs that are on standby for further research as well. It is hoped that additional volunteer

DNA and eye exams will yield additional subject genetics to be included in the study.

The bottom line - the need for new DNA submissions and eye exams continues unabated. If

you have not participated in the study – or have new dogs to include – please do so. Dr. Aguirre

and the team are also requesting that reexamination results of existing submissions is critical.

Specifically for the study Dr. Aguirre is requesting:

o New submissions of affected dogs with cataracts developing between 2-4 years

o Follow up examinations on dogs previously submitted that had suspected inherited

cataract in one eye. The research team wants to see if it’s developing in the other

eye or if there is any change in the original cataract. This is IMPROTANT information

to have and not enough people are sending in follow on information on affected

dogs. It’s NEEDED!!!!!

o Non affected dogs older than 8 years

o Please use these forms

o Since it is assumed the majority of cockers outside the US come from US bred stock,

it would be great if our foreign fancy would also participate in the study. Dr. Aguirre

would welcome these as well for the study but the eye exams MUST use the forms

indicated here and the exams MUST be done by an ophthalmologist that is an ECVO

certified diplomat (European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) or they will

not be useful.

With over 500 submissions thus far, you may be thinking when will we have enough dogs for

the study? The simple answer is we will have enough samples for the study when we finally

find the gene marker for cataracts in Cockers. Until then, this is like searching for a needle in a

haystack. Until we find the cataract gene we need more samples of clear dogs and affected

dogs as well as follow-on samples to the affected dogs you have already provided.

What you might not appreciate is this is not a study in a controlled laboratory environment

where the study subjects are always available in the laboratory. Just as an example, some past

University canine cataract genetic research was in a controlled laboratory study with controlled

breeding, feeding, care and constant examinations by the same veterinarian researchers for

detailed observation of cataract growth and movement. In controlled laboratory studies

afflicted and not afflicted dogs can be examined on a regular basis by the researching set of

veterinarians giving a very detailed observation of the cataract growth and movement.

For the ASC Foundation study with the University we need cockers from the broader general

population way beyond that of a smaller controlled laboratory environment. Due to this the

research team has to rely on the reporting of many different ophthalmologists with differing

skill and reporting expertise. In addition, the University team gets one report on an affected

dog – or perhaps one per year if at all – when they would like to see them regularly in an ideal

situation. This is why it is especially important to use Dr. Aguirre’s University of PA study forms

with your ophthalmologist. These forms ask for the detail Dr. Aguirre and the research team

would normally ask for and examine in controlled environments. Use of these forms are the

next best thing to the University and Dr. Aguirre doing all the cataract tests themselves. Since

that is not feasible thus the forms. And our urging that they must be used by your examining


In July we will receive from Dr. Aguirre the mid-year research report which we will share with

you as soon as available. But we cannot stop gathering eye exams and DNA samples. Please

arrange with your local ophthalmologists for those continuing examinations as well. Thank you

all for your funding and participation in the study. But, until we find the genetic marker, we

must continue forward.

Jamie Hubbard and Karin Linde Klerholm generously donated the fees they received for judging the Capitol City Cocker Spaniel Club specialties to "Eye Support Cockers", the ASC Foundation's fundraising initiative to support Dr. Gustavo Aguirre's molecular genetic cataract study being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. Many thanks to Jamie and Karin for their wonderful support of this critical project, and to Cathy Carey for taking this great photo. As you know, Dr. Aguirre and his team are also in need of more Cockers for inclusion in the study. To help meet this need, ASCF is offering a FREE BLOOD DRAW at the National in St. Louis. Please see the below information and consider taking advantage of this opportunity!

Let’s Make a clear future for Cockers at the ASC National this July!!! Calling all Cockers with pedigrees! WHAT: FREE blood draw for the ASC Foundation-funded genetic cataract study being conducted by Dr. Gustavo Aguirre at the University of Pennsylvania ***THIS DRAW, INCLUDING SHIPPING, WILL BE FREE ***SHOW COATS WILL NOT BE AFFECTED WHERE: ASC Summer National – Purina Farms, tack room area WHEN: Thursday, July 21, 2 – 5 P.M. Friday, July 22, 1 – 6 P.M. WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:

*Any Cocker with a pedigree – affected and unaffected - show, performance, pet – dogs DO NOT have to be entered in the show *A pedigree for each Cocker to be drawn *ALL paperwork from recent and previous eye exams for those dogs – INCLUDING the completed research form found on the Optigen site: *If your dog(s) have not been examined recently, you can have that done AFTER the show and then mail the completed paperwork (including the University of Pennsylvania research form) directly to Optigen. For information, please contact: Elena Duggan, 914 805 3394


  • Dr Aguirre Research Update - Read Here
  • Watch Dr. Aguirre's presentation at the 2015 ASC National
  • Get your forms for the Cataract Research here
  • Donate Now the EASY way.  Shop at Amazon Smile and pick ASCF as your charitable organization.  For more info go to
  • On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Spaniel Club Foundation (Foundation) we arepleased to announce the contract between the Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania for the Molecular Genetic Studies of Inherited Cataracts in the Cocker Spaniel has been signed.The purpose of this grant is to conduct research for a genetic test for cataracts for Cocker Spaniels that can be made available to breeders to improve the quality of their breeding programs by identifying genetically normal, affected and carrier dogs.    As part of this agreement, the Foundation agrees to reimburse the University for at least $150,000 for this grant paid over the 3 year period of the grant.   


Donatations to date for the Cararact Research Project

To make a donation to the University Of Pennsylvania/ Dr. Aguirre cataract research project, "Eye Support Cockers", via personal check, please send to:

Laurie Foley
6627 Robin Road
Dallas Tx 75209

BE SURE TO PUT IN THE MEMO LINE:  Dr. Aguirre cataract project


$6000 and over (in order of highest amount donated)

  • Stephanie Kaul
  • American Spaniel Club Foundation
  • Calvin and Dale Ward

$3000 to $5999 (in alphabetical order)

  • Nan Faith Arnold and Linda L. Wiland
  • Regina and Richard Beinhauer
  • Jan Bruce- Winelight
  • James Davis - EPIC
  • Carolee Douglas
  • Elena and Stephen Duggan
  • Laurie Ferland - Somerset Cockers
  • Linda G. Moore and Laurie Foley
  • Kyle and David Richey and Tracy Lynn Carroll
  • Jim and Kathy Van Elswyk - Foxhill
  • Jane and Beth Williams – JanBet Cockers

$1000 to $2999 (in alphabetical order)

  • Charles Born and Kevin Dincher
  • Brenda J. McManigle -- Abbey Lane Cocker
  • Kathleen Patterson – Show Me Spaniels
  • Anonymous

Up to $1000 (in alphabetical order)

  • ACN Review (Kelly Ladoucer)
  • Laurie Acklin
  • Animal Hospital of Monticello - Monticello, IL
  • Lindy Bennet -- Toybox Cockers
  • Joyce Berthal
  • Christine Brock
  • Ruth Corsaw
  • Jackie Curry
  • Angelina Dobmeier
  • David and Linda Donaldson
  • Carol Edwards
  • Connie Edwards
  • Patricia Elkins
  • Sharon Elliott
  • Bob Ennis
  • Kenyon Fairey
  • James and Debbie Fehring – Shaman Cockers
  • Sherry Forslund
  • Motoei Furukawa
  • Laura Heidrich
  • Joyce E. Henderson
  • Dianne Hill and Elphie
  • Jamie Hubbard
  • Michael Kaufman
  • Colleen Keough
  • Judith Klepp – Jaywyck Cockers 
  • Karin Linda Klerholm
  • Donna and John Kornmeyer
  • Deborah Knight 
  • Kelly Ladouceur and Farley
  • Linda Lareau
  • Gabriella Ledeczi 
  • Doug and Marleta McFarlane
  • Friends and Family of Moonglow Gardens Cockers 
  • Mary and Carl Napper
  • Lynn Nelson 
  • Marlene Ness
  • Sam and Wilma Parker
  • Performance Pets
  • Wilma and Sam Parker 
  • Kathy Patterson and the Show Me Spaniels 
  • Bonnie and Wilson Pike
  • Linda and Mike Pitts
  • Savannah Pitts
  • Mark Ragusa
  • Per Ingar Rismyhr
  • Debra Rudman
  • Quinn Ruvacava 
  • Judith Sarkisian
  • Dan Sena
  • Clyde and Barbara Shaw
  • Jackie and Terry Stacy
  • Mark Taylor
  • Julie Virosteck
  • Jack and Neville Ward
  • Sandie Weber
  • Bruce VanDeman
  • Adam Wierbianski
  • Anonymous

In Honor of In Memory Of

  • In honor of Stephanie Kaul:  Jackie Curry, Michaela Garloff
  • In honor of Elena Duggan:  Matthew Duggan and Kimberly O'Donnell
  • In honor of Pistal: Debra Rudman
  • In honor of Marlene Ness and Mark Ragusa:  Brent Wetnicka
  • In honor of Linda G. Moore – Lucille Foley
  • In memory of Bertha Roister O’Connell, Kathleen Patterson’s mother:  Elena Duggan
  • In memory of Ken Feller:  Elena Duggan
  • In memory of Farley, aka WCD: Michaela Garloff, Debra Rudman
  • In memory of Harlow – Dee Torgerson-Rismyer
  • In memory of CH Jawat’s Golden Girl, ROM:  Kathy Patterson and the Show Me Spaniels
  • In memory of Donna Wirth:  Colleen Keough
  • In memory of Darcy: Lynn Nelson
  • In memory of Joe Hannah – SANS MAX:  Kathy Reid, Carol Pilcher, Dena Pilcher Vincent, and Margaret Hawvermale
  • In memory of Julez Blue Diamond:  Quinn Ruvacava
  • In memory of Ken Williams and AYCE:  Regina Beinhauer,Cocker Spaniel Specialty Club of Georgia, Elena Duggan, Bob Ennis, Billy Gorodner,Harriett Kamps, Colleen Keough and Randy Lake, Diane Kepley, Debbie Knight, Karen Knight, Linda G.Moore and Laurie Foley, Sam and Wilma Parker, Kathy Patterson, Susan Roman, Kate Romanski, Marilyn Spacht, The Cocker Spaniel Club of Southeast FL
  • In memory of Dorothy Mustard, Must Do Cockers:  Jane and Beth Williams
  • In memory of Jim Yates, Storybook Cockers:  Jane and Beth Williams
  • In memory of Joy Chesser, Joy's Cockers:  Deborah Y. Verdon, Debutante Cockers and Cindy Sacony
  • American Cocker Spaniel Club of Canada - Ontario Chapter
  • American Cocker Spaniel Club of VIctoria, Australia
  • American Cocker Spaniel Club of Central Ontario
  • Capital City Cocker Club
  • Carolina Piedmont Agility Club – Carolinas Championship Challenge
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of Central Oklahoma
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of Greater New Orleans
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of New Jersey
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of Rhode Island
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of Southeast Florida
  • Cocker Spaniel Club of Tulsa
  • Cocker Spaniel Specialty Club of Dallas
  • Cocker Spaniel Specialty Club of Georgia
  • Connecticut Westchester Cocker Spaniel Club
  • Maryland Cocker Spaniel Club
  • Mid Michigan Cocker Spaniel Club
  • Ohio Valley Cocker Spaniel Club
  • South Atlantic Cocker Spaniel Club
  • Washington State Cocker Spaniel Club
  • West Coast Cocker Spaniel Club


CT Westchester Cocker Spaniel Club on-line auction / Marlene Ness ($7,543)

Special thanks to Judith Webb
Auction Item Donors: ACN Review; Will Alexander; Lisa Arnett; Barbara Brickett; Ben Butler; Bettie Campbell;  Helene Chausse; Vickie Clendin; Jackie CurryRuth Dehmel; Stacy Dobmeier; Patricia Elkins; Gay Ernst; Olga Evelyn; Lisa  Gaertner; Jeffrey Hanlin; Charlotte Hansen; Edson Ideriba; Carolyn Kelley; Kelly Ladouceur; Holly Lawson; Jessica Legath; Sue Machem @ Sue’s Snoods; Rhonda Mink; Nana B’s Boutique; Maureen Paskin; Kathy Patterson; Debby  Paz; Pet Portraits by Miranda; Bonnie & Wilson Pike; DiAnn Prock; Mark Ragusa; Per Rismyhr; Laura Rophkof; Debi  Rudman; Joan Stallard; Kim Stanley; Suzanne of Doggletales; Sara Szauerzopf Kim Tarrington; Kim Vavolo; Judith Webb; Brent Wetnicka; Linda Zielinski


Cocker College Auction / Olga Evelyn ($23,035)

Special thanks to Stephanie Kaul and Karen Bruno Osper
Auction Item Donors: Gun Dog Supply/Affordable Kangaroo Leads; Gun Dog Supply; Bettie Campbell; Catherine Carey; Karen Cook; Joanna De Assis; Stacy Dobmeier; Tom Dowell; Deb Eastham; Patricia Elkins; Olga Evelyn; Jim Fehring; Andrea Floyd; Lisa Gaetner; Christye Groh; Kim Hampton; Laura Heidrich; Stephanie Kaul; Yelena Kuznetsova; Kelly Ladouceur; Lynda Lamensdorf; Debra Lampert-Rudman; Jessica Legath; Jackie Makoujy; Denise Mangold; David Margloin; Victoria Masterson; Kathleen Patterson; Bonnie Pike; Linda Pitts; Karen Osper; Olive Simmons; Suzanne Smith; Joann Stamm; Emily Staso; Nicole Techranchi; Rob & Teresa Tuccio; Kim Vavolo; Neville Ward; Judith Webb.


Show Prepration and trimming - The How...and the Why!/Linda Pitts ($5,095)

Special thanks to Elena Duggan, Laurie Foley, Marlene Ness, Quinn Ruvacava, and Jane Williams

Kenchii Scissor Raffle/Patricia Elkins   ($1,280.62)

Calendar Sales / Lisa Geartner ($250)

Christmas Photos at SNJCSC / Jackie Curry ($220)

Boutique Sales ($994.25)


The American Spaniel Club Foundation is excited to announce that it has raised over $88,000 for "Eye Support Cockers" - representing more than half of the funds needed for the project. Highlighting this extraordinary effort have been fundraisers headed up by (top left to right) ASC members Patricia Elkins (Kinsche scissor fund-raiser), Linda Pitts (represented by Stephanie Kaul for Show Grooming - the HOW and the WHY! presented at at the St. Louis National), Olga Evelyn (Cocker College Online Auction), and (seated left to right) Marlene Ness (CT Westchester Cocker Spaniel Club online auction presented during the Fall of 2013), and Kelly Ladouceur (American Cocker Network Stud Ad fundraiser). ASCF President Julie Virosteck accepted the checks on behalf of "Eye Support Cockers".

Breaking News

American Spaniel Club Foundation Committed to Fully Fund University of Pennsylvania Cocker Spaniel Cataract Research

Foundation will work together with American Spaniel Club, Inc. Board of Directors and members to generate the funding commitment.

After the a report from Doug McFarlane (Director/Scientific Research Chair) during the April Board meeting of the American Spaniel Club Foundation (ASCF), the Board in attendance unanimously committed to fully fund research on Cocker Spaniel cataracts proposed by Dr. Gustavo Aguirre of the University of Pennsylvania.

As requested by Dr. Aguirre, next step is ASCF will work with University administrators to finalize a contract formalizing a 3 year ASCF commitment to his research lab at the University at an estimated total cost of nearly $163,000. Most of the money will go to funding the staff required for this type of research. After a symbolic personal financial commitment by each ASCF Board member in attendance to the research, the ASCF Board simultaneously approved launching a rigorous fund raising effort that will be co-chaired by Laurie Foley and Elena Duggan, two ASC members who are experienced in large scale fund raising work.

Following this commitment, ASC President Calvin Ward and the ASC Board echoed support to ASCF for funding this research with a unanimous vote of support by those in attendance. ASC and ASCF working together with our membership and fanciers around the globe gives confidence that we can successfully fund this exciting research.

For those not familiar with the research proposed by Dr. Aguirre or who had some questions, here is a bit of background. The purpose of Dr. Aguirre’s research is to identify the gene and mutation responsible for inherited cataracts in Cocker Spaniels, and subsequently, to develop a genetic test that can identify genetically normal, affected, and carrier dogs. The mode of inheritance for this condition for many years now has been characterized as autosomal recessive meaning that affected dogs have inherited the mutant gene from both parents. This forms the basis for the research that will be conducted by Dr. Gustavo Aguirre’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cocker Spaniels like many breeds have a spectrum of clinical characteristics which affect dogs at various ages. The focus of this research is to identify the gene/mutation for the most common form of cataracts, one occurring in the 4-10 year age range. There seems to be somewhat limited data on the rate of occurrence for this condition in Cocker Spaniels, as no one organization has concentrated on collecting survey data in recent years.

Anecdotally, we all either have had cataracts in our Cocker lines or know someone who has had cataracts in their breeding stock. In ASCF discussions with Dr. Aguirre he cited a study based on CERF data from 2000-2008 that suggested cataracts were diagnosed in 7.3% of all Cocker Spaniels examined in those years. Dr. Aguirre feels this number is somewhat suspect since it includes both acquired and inherited cataracts and the latter category might include different genetic causes. Nonetheless, as Dr. Aguirre pointed out, the consequence of even a lower number is cause for great concern. For example, if we assume that say 5% is a more accurate number that translates into approximately 30% of all Cockers examined would be carriers of this condition.

Many ASC members are probably aware that Dr. Aguirre, with help from Deb Rudman and many other dedicated breeders in the northeast, has started collecting DNA along with his clinical exams to get an initial set of data to begin the research work. There has been some concern expressed that the collections are regionally limited. This is due only to current limited staffing and as Dr. Aguirre assured us. Once the contract with ASCF is finished and funding is provided, Dr. Aguirre can begin to hire the dedicated personnel that will facilitate broadening the collection process and support the work of the study at the University of Pennsylvania. In the meantime while the ASCF finishes the contract, we will launch our fundraising work to accelerate what has already been ably collected by ASC members. Further communications will be coming in that regard from our co-chairs.

Thank you to the ASC members who brought this research to ASCF attention and urged us to consider funding it. We look forward to working with the fancy in helping ASCF meet this financial commitment for the betterment of our breed. While success is never guaranteed in research, this is an excellent opportunity to potentially make a big difference for our breed.

Charles Born, Communications Director for American Spaniel Club Foundation


Attention Florida breeders and pet owners! University of Florida seeks participants in this AKC/CHF Grant:

Identifying What Attracts Ticks to Dogs


Breed(s): Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Greyhound, Labrador Retriever

Disease(s): Ticks

Study Type: Tissue Sample

Study Location: University of Florida

If you own a Beagle, Greyhound, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, or Labrador Retriever, the University of Florida's Entomology Department is looking for you and your canine’s participation for a new research study funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation.

The goal of this study is to identify chemicals from within your dog’s odor that are tick attractants and that could be used for various tick control methods in the future.

With your help, we will be able to collect chemical compounds that your dog excretes through its breath, hair, and skin secretions, that are potential attractants for the Brown Dog Tick.

Your participation would be limited to a one-time, 3 hour visit in your own home.

Sampling techniques are non-invasive and chemical-free.

Contact Information:

Corie Singer
Phone:(239) 340-8918

Follow the link to learn more about the disease and read the grant description