The Animal Health Trust (AHT) / Kennel Club (KC) Give a Dog a Genome Project
The AHT and the KC genetics centre have recently launched a research project called ‘Give a Dog a Genome’ (GDG) the aim is to sequence the entire genome (2.4 billion letters of DNA) of 50 dog breeds. The resulting information will increase the ability to identify mutations which cause inherited diseases.
It costs approximately £2000 to sequence a genome however the 50 breed clubs who agree to join the project will be asked to contribute £1000 as the GDG work will be part funded by the KC Charitable trust. The Flatcoated Retriever Society’s General Committee has agreed to support the participation of our breed in this initiative by making a donation to the research project.
Banking of DNA at AHT The information sheet on the Flatcoated Retriever Society website regarding banking of DNA by the AHT has recently been updated. Owners can now obtain sample collection kits from Liz Branscombe, health co-ordinator for the Flatcoated Retreiver Society.
Changes To Eye Screening Advice From The British Veterinary Association (BVA) / KC
Pectinate ligament dysplasia (PLD for short, also known as goniodysgenesis) is a condition that may lead to glaucoma. You may remember reading an article last year about this.
In the light of that research the BVA have now reviewed the advice on how often dogs should have a gonioscopy test which assesses your dogs' eyes for evidence of PLD . The reason for this is that ophthalmologists now know that there may be changes over time in these structures (and also in the drainage angle of the eye). Previously it was thought this did not happen, hence the test was only done once-in-a-lifetime. The recommendation is now to test once every three years.
We do not know how many dogs will go on to develop glaucoma, but we do know that glaucoma is a painful and blinding condition. The Flatcoated Retriever Club of Scotland support the BVA/KC recommendation to screen dogs every three years in the future.
Please see the FCRS Goniodysgenesis article below for more about this, and a suggested breeding strategy from geneticist Aimee Llewellyn, in order to minimise the risk of breeding affected dogs.
Work is also ongoing at the Animal Health Trust to find out more about the genetics of glaucoma under the Canine Goniodysgenesis and Glaucoma project. Please visit AHT CGAG
for more details.
British Veterinary Association (BVA) / KC Elbow Dysplasia Scheme
Originally, it was recommended that breeders select dogs with an elbow grade of 0 or 1, as a grade 1 was considered relatively mild at the time. However, graded radiographs have shown that the majority of dogs with grade 1 elbows display obvious signs of unilateral and bilateral arthritis.
Therefore, the revised breeding advice from the BVA is as follows:
‘It is strongly recommended that breeders wishing to reduce the risk of elbow dysplasia should select their breeding stock (both dogs and bitches) only from animals with an overall grade of 0. Dogs with elbow grades of 2 or 3 have marked osteoarthritis likely to be due to ED, with or without a visible primary lesion. Dogs with elbow grades of 1 show mild or early osteoarthritis which is also likely to be due to ED.’
The elbow grades of Kennel Club registered dogs under the BVA/KC Elbow Dysplasia scheme can be seen via the KC Mate Select Health Test Results Finder. For additional scheme information, please visit the BVA website.
Health Resources and Articles
Flatcoated Retriever Society The Society website contains many useful breed reports and health articles. Liz Branscombe, Chair and Breed Health Coordinator, was named as The Kennel Clubs' Breed Health Co-ordination of the year (2016).
The Kennel Club (KC) The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare, education and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners.
British Veterinary Association (BVA) The BVA is the national representative body for the veterinary profession in the UK. They are the only UK veterinary association that looks after the interests of all vets in all disciplines. They are a not-for-profit organisation so any money that they make is reinvested to serve the veterinary profession.