Lola's Research Fund

Lola Belle

Lola Belle

Photo Pages

Remembering Lola
The Faces of GME

Fundraising Goal: $5,000.00

Total Number of Gifts: 111
Total Value of Gifts: $5,755.00

Recent Donors


In loving memory of McCartney, Bella Bear, and every dog who has suffered from this horrible disease

Bella Mommi

In Memory of Chanel, our "Little Bear Girl"


in memory of Austin

In memory of Chardy

In Memory of Kassi

In Memory of Aolani

Memory of Lola from Kandis Eaton

Full Donor List Opens new window.Full Donor List

Bookmark and Share

Lola's Story

It has been almost one year since my Lola lost her fight with NME. She lost her struggle on 10/14/11. It seems like so much longer for some reason. I still think of her everyday. I will never forget my brave and loyal little girl.

But, I would rather focus on where we have come and what we have learned over this past year. As most of you know, after Lola died, I started a fund page at the Morris Animal Foundation with the goal of becoming a sponsor for a training grant involving Dr. Renee Barber at the University of Georgia (co-sponsored by The Pug Dog Club of America - Study ID: D10CA-406). This study worked to identify specific genetic mutations responsible for GME/NME. Identification of the genes associated with NME will improve understanding of the disease, allow for the eventual development of DNA tests and potentially help in the development of more directed treatment strategies.

Over the next many months we gathered a total 99 gifts and a grand total of $5100.00 went to this very important research project. But not only money was raised; we also collected a large number of DNA samples for Dr. Barber and her project.

So, to keep you all up to date I want to share what has been learned. First, I learned that Lola had NME. This was discovered because I donated her brain to the study and analysis of her brain tissue gave me an answer to that question. Currently, NME is still a very devastating disease. Most dogs with NME die even if they receive treatment. Lola lived for 23 months.

What was learned:

Results: Pugs, Maltese and Chihuahuas with NME Share Similar Genetic Abnormalities
Necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), a fatal inflammatory disorder of the brain and its surrounding membranes, primarily affects small dog breeds including Pugs, Maltese and Chihuahuas. The cause of NME is unknown; however, it is known to be inherited within families of Pugs, which indicates that genetic factors play a role in its development. Dr. Renee Barber, funded by a Morris Animal Foundation Fellowship award, investigated the significance of two previously identified broad genetic regions of interest that may be associated with Pugs developing NME. Dr. Barber and the research team confirmed that these regions (on two specific chromosomes) predispose some Pugs to this condition. These results were recently published in the Journal of Heredity.

The researchers have also completed a preliminary genetics study in Maltese and Chihuahuas, which suggests that these breeds have a change in their DNA on a chromosome (matching one found in Pugs) that contributes to NME development. This finding supports the hypothesis that Pugs, Maltese and Chihuahuas with NME share similar genetic abnormalities. These findings are a critical first step toward identifying the genes associated with NME. A better understanding of the genetic basis of NME will lead to the development of DNA diagnostic tests that will improve patient care and disease prognosis and help prevent the disease by providing for more informed breeding decisions. This fellowship is also providing a promising young veterinarian with research training that will greatly increase her ability to have a positive impact on animal health throughout her career.

This study predominately focuses on the Pug, Maltese and Chihuahua breeds. However, NME occurs in many small breed dogs, including Llasa Apso, Boston Terrier, Papillion, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and West Highland Terrier.

Whats next:

I am asking that all future contributions to this fund be directed to the Veterinary Student Scholars Program. The VSS program awards stipends to veterinary students who wish to participate in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research.

Through the Veterinary Student Scholars Program, Morris Animal Foundation inspires passionate veterinary students to pursue a career in animal health research and helps to ensure that there will be a next generation of scientists to advance veterinary medicine.

Since its inception in 2005, the Veterinary Student Scholars Program has given over 330 grants to students from more than 60 different colleges and universities in 16 countries.

If in the future a specific study presents that is directed towards GME/NME research or another small dog concern, I will re-evaluate.

I also want to thank the members of Spoiled Maltese who have been infinitely generous with monetary gifts, DNA donations and emotional support during good times and bad.

If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.