College of Veterinary Medicine celebrates MDR1 testing anniversary

The College of Veterinary Medicine recently celebrated nearly 20 years of testing for the MDR1 gene mutation in dogs.

Some dogs and cats have a mutation in the MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1) gene also known as the ABCB1 gene, which plays an important role in limiting drug distribution to the brain and in enhancing the excretion of many drugs. Animals with the mutation may have severe adverse reactions – including tremors, disorientation, blindness, severe muscle weakness, and death – to some common medications.

The MDR1 genetic test offered by WSU determines if cats and dogs have the MDR1 mutation, which can make the use of common medications potentially deadly. Veterinary pharmacologist Katrina Mealey discovered MDR1 mutations in both cats and dogs. To date, millions of dogs and tens of thousands of cats have been tested for the mutation.

Photo Credit: WSU College of Veterinary Medicine