A disease of muscle growth, affected dogs are heavily muscled and quite athletic. It arises from a mutation in the MSTN gene, which codes for myostatin, a protein with inhibitory effects on muscle growth. Mutations in myostatin have been reported in numerous species and breeds including Belgian Blue cattle, Texel sheep, and even humans! Dogs deficient in myostatin mirror other animal models: they are the natural bodybuilders of the animal world. Dogs carrying two copies of the MSTN mutation are heavily muscled and, due to breed standards, are precluded from whippet races. However, carriers for the MSTN mutation are less heavily muscled and are known as "bully whippets." They meet breed standards and are often eligible to race, and can be argued to have a significant athletic advantage against their normally muscled competitors. Bully whippet syndrome is an otherwise benign disease; affected dogs do not suffer from their condition though they may require more food than your average dog.
What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?
The double muscling is obvious when comparing an affected dog to a typical Whippet. Muscle cramping has been reported.
When do signs and symptoms develop?
Signs develop in juvenile dogs.
How do vets diagnose this condition?
Genetic testing and clinical signs can be used to diagnose this condition.
How is this condition treated?
There is no treatment necessary for this condition.