Pug DNA Research Study



My Dear Fellow Pug Fanciers,


     An opportunity to participate in a DNA research study to prevent severe and fatal reactions to vaccinations is at your fingertips.  Take a few minutes, please, to read this letter of explanation, and to consider your next step in helping to prevent continued tragedies such as the one that is described here.


     On July 7, 2009, a tragedy occurred that forever changed how I view routine vaccinations.  That is the day that I lost my 2 ˝ year old beloved Pug, Brando.


Brando was a healthy, delightful, impish, and thoroughly stellar Pug.  Though I had been in the dog game for 30 years, he was my first Pug, had finished his championship in March, and was now to be concentrating his time with his junior co-owner in the showmanship ring.  The bond that Myranda and Brando shared   made them a charismatic and stylish pair.


     Myranda was anticipating a repeat of her 2008 4-H Fair victory with Brando in August.  A requirement of 4-H shows is an up to date rabies vaccination.  Los Angeles County rules were also in force, and so I made an “easy” decision to get Brando his second vaccination (his first having been given at a year of age).  Had I known that Pugs were a high-risk breed for severe reactions to vaccines, I may have reconsidered that decision.  As it turns out, there is a great deal that I did not know.


     I will spare you the horrific details of that trip to the vet clinic. The bottom line is this:  I walked into the clinic on a warm afternoon with a confident Pug leading the way.  And I left that clinic two hours later with an empty leash.  Brando suffered a severe, fatal anaphylactic reaction to the rabies vaccine, and died despite immediate and unerring emergency care.


     Conversations after the tragedy with Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM, internationally recognized expert on immune reactions and vaccine protocols, have led me here.  Dr. Dodds has volunteered her Hemopet facility as a repository for blood samples that will be used in a DNA study to discover any markers that could be used to determine susceptibility to adverse vaccine reactions in the Pug.  It is our hope that we can collect several hundred blood samples.  There is no way of knowing whether this will be a successful venture; but I propose to you that even the slightest chance to prevent another young dog from losing its life in such a tragic and meaningless way is worth the small effort.


     Knowing that there may be a way to stop this from happening again makes the grief a bit less deep.  Do this for your Pug, and for all Pugs.  I thank you ahead of time for your help. Brando would have approved.



Nancy Talbott


To Participate in the Study


1. Read and sign the consent form.  Be assured that all results regarding individual dogs will be kept strictly confidential. The names and pedigrees of the dogs will not be released to any third party.  Only the researchers and owners of the dogs will be given access to that information.


2. Follow the instructions listed on the form.  Please include in the box with your blood sample:

  • the signed consent form
  • the dog identification form
  • a 3 or 5  generation pedigree



That’s it.  There is no charge for this study.  If you are interested in donating to the project, you may make a check payable to Hemopet with a note in the memo line “Pug AVR Study”.   


Thank you in advance for your generosity and your commitment to healthy Pugs.