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What is being done about simple inherited disorders?

21 July 2014    09:00
AHT KC Surverys © Amanda Drummond

To reduce the incidence of dogs affected by simple inherited disorders, the Kennel Club and a number of other organisations have created tools, schemes and information to enable and encourage breeders to identify healthy dogs for use in their breeding programmes. The Kennel Club encourages breeders to make informed health decisions when choosing a mate for their dog, with the aim of eventually eradicating these diseases from each breed.

Investing in research

The Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, was launched in 2009 and has already impacted on the health of dogs by accelerating research into canine inherited diseases. The canine molecular genetics section at the Animal Health Trust, led by Dr Cathryn Mellersh, work closely with clinicians, breed clubs, dog breeders and owners to identify inherited conditions. The Centre aims to understand the genetic basis of these disorders and develop simple DNA tests that determine the status of an individual dog.  By developing DNA tests for simple inherited disorders it allows tested dogs to be identified as clear, carrier, or affected and enable breeders to reduce the probability of two dogs producing affected puppies.  To assist with this research, the facility has received £1.2 million in funds from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust to investigate 25 inherited diseases.

Promoting good breeding practices

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeder Scheme encourages good breeding practices by setting standards for and monitoring members of the scheme. Among these standards is the need for breeders to health test their breeding dogs for specific breed-relevant conditions prior to mating. Assured Breeders use these test results to make responsible decisions to choose dogs for mating to reduce the risk of producing affected puppies.

Access to health information

The Kennel Club's Breed Information Centre provides information on breed-specific health schemes and DNA tests. Dog breeders and puppy buyers are encouraged to visit this page to discover which DNA tests are recommended, or available for their breed. In addition a worldwide list of breed-specific DNA tests and the laboratories that provide them is available as an information resource.

The Health Test Results Finder, one of the services offered on Mate Select, is a free online open-access tool, used to find out the results of health tests carried out on individual Kennel Club registered dogs, as well as their parents, progeny and siblings. These tests include those carried out under the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club health schemes, as well as DNA tests carried out as part of official Kennel Club DNA testing schemes.  DNA test results submitted to the Kennel Club are automatically uploaded on to our website, allowing breeders and puppy buyers to make informed health decisions prior to choosing a mate for their dog or before purchasing a puppy.

Educational tools

The Kennel Club provides a number of information guides to dog breeders and owners including 'Breeding from your DNA tested dog' and 'Health Screening and the Kennel Club'.  These educational tools provide key information and advice to breeders and owners about the importance of knowing the health status of their dogs and how to breed away from producing affected dogs.   Free printed paper copies for your veterinary practice can be obtained here.

Did you know?

Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD) has been eradicated from the Irish Setter through collaborative work between the Kennel Club, breed clubs and DNA testing laboratories following the development of a DNA test in 2000.

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