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Analysis of bacterial genes may help ID cause of dog brain disease, researchers say

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By analyzing the genes of bacteria, University of Florida researchers have moved a step closer to pinpointing how two brain disorders common in small-breed dogs occur.

The researchers found that the bacteria, known as Mycoplasma canis, invade dog's cells and suppress their immune system responses. "This could explain how the bacteria are able to enter the brain in certain circumstances," said lead investigator Daniel Brown, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. "If our theory is correct, it is possible that antibiotic therapy aimed at the mycoplasma could be beneficial if the condition is diagnosed early enough." The findings, which appear in the August issue of the Journal of Bacteriology, were also presented at the annual meeting of the International Organization for Mycoplasmology in France.

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