• Genetics;
  • Hereditary Disorders;
  • Metabolism;
  • Reticulocytes


Erythrocytic pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency, first documented in Basenjis, is the most common inherited erythroenzymopathy in dogs.


To report 3 new breed-specific PK-LR gene mutations and a retrospective survey of PK mutations in a small and selected group of Beagles and West Highland White Terriers (WHWT).


Labrador Retrievers (2 siblings, 5 unrelated), Pugs (2 siblings, 1 unrelated), Beagles (39 anemic, 29 other), WHWTs (22 anemic, 226 nonanemic), Cairn Terrier (n = 1).


Exons of the PK-LR gene were sequenced from genomic DNA of young dogs (<2 years) with persistent highly regenerative hemolytic anemia.


A nonsense mutation (c.799C>T) resulting in a premature stop codon was identified in anemic Labrador Retriever siblings that had osteosclerosis, high serum ferritin concentrations, and severe hepatic secondary hemochromatosis. Anemic Pug and Beagle revealed 2 different missense mutations (c.848T>C, c.994G>A, respectively) resulting in intolerable amino acid changes to protein structure and enzyme function. Breed-specific mutation tests were developed. Among the biased group of 248 WHWTs, 9% and 35% were homozygous (affected) and heterozygous, respectively, for the previously described mutation (mutant allele frequency 0.26). A PK-deficient Cairn Terrier had the same insertion mutation as the affected WHWTs. Of the selected group of 68 Beagles, 35% were PK-deficient and 3% were carriers (0.37).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Erythrocytic PK deficiency is caused by different mutations in different dog breeds and causes chronic severe hemolytic anemia, hemosiderosis, and secondary hemochromatosis because of chronic hemolysis and, an as yet unexplained osteosclerosis. The newly developed breed-specific mutation assays simplify the diagnosis of PK deficiency.