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The American Kennel Club and the AKC Canine Health Foundation are pleased to debut the next podcast in the Genome Barks series.

In this week’s Genome Barks podcast, CHF Director Lee Arnold welcomes Bruce Hammerberg, DVM, PhD, a professor of immunology and parasitology at the College of Veterinary Medicine North Carolina State University. Funded in part by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Dr. Hammerberg has spent the last decade studying the function of mast cells and IgE in allergic diseases.

The essential cause of the itching skin that starts atopic dermatitis reactions has been well known for decades, yet we do not know why there is an alarming increase in the number of dogs afflicted with this disease and we do not know why some dogs suffer much more than others living in the same environment. The cause of the itching skin is histamine and other mast cell products that are released when mast cells coated with the immunoglobulin IgE binds allergens such as house dust mite or pollen proteins. All dogs have mast cells in their skin and many without the disease have IgE that specifically bind allergens. The ever increasing numbers and complexity of genetic factors being discovered that predispose humans to allergic diseases are likely to be found as similarly daunting obstacles to fully understanding the genetic basis for canine atopic dermatitis.

Working with breeds as diverse as the West Highland White Terrier and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dr. Hammerberg has focused his attention on atopy (allergies) in genetically susceptible dogs, working to develop markers to predict disease development in puppies.

New podcasts are released every two weeks and can be accessed from either the American Kennel Club website at or the AKC Canine Health Foundation website at – click on “Podcasts”. They will also be available on Apple’s iTunes® and at