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UW-Madison veterinary surgeon wins award

July 25, 2011 By David Tenenbaum

Peter Muir, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, has been honored with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation/American Kennel Club Career Achievement Award in Canine Research from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Muir is noted for his expertise in canine cruciate ligament rupture, a condition that is analogous to non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture in human beings.

In both people and dogs, most cruciate ligament ruptures occur without an obvious contact injury.

“In dogs, non-contact cruciate rupture is very common, and affects the majority of common breeds. However, some breeds, such as the greyhound, are protected from the condition,” says Muir.

Due to progression of arthritis in the long-term after surgical treatment in dogs, Muir has focused on studying the disease mechanism for this complex trait.

In the future, an improved understanding of the contribution of genetics to risk of disease could help dog breeders remove the deleterious genes from their breeding stock, Muir says. “And by improving our understanding of the disease mechanism, a novel treatment could be developed as an early intervention,” he says.

Because ACL rupture is a major problem for people, particularly athletes, Muir expects his findings will also be of comparative value. “In people and dogs, this is a complex-trait disease, with multiple genetic risk factors. Naturally occurring disease in dogs is often a valuable model for genomic studies that enable discovery of novel genetic influences on the equivalent disease in human beings,” he says.