Linkage test (DNA based) - CA (Cerebellar ataxia)

Please note that this is a linkage test - find out what this means below.

Details about the disease

CA is a neurological disorder which affects gait, co-ordination and balance. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that regulates the control and coordination of movement. In this condition, cells in the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls coordination of movement) begin to deteriorate, causing poor coordination and lack of balance.

Clinical signs

Clinical effects have an early onset and usually present within the first few weeks or months of life. The disease is progressive and affected puppies are often euthanised before the age of 1.

How is it inherited?

The disease is described as an autosomal-recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

What is a linkage test?

Most DNA tests identify whether your dog has a specific genetic mutation that causes a disease. Linkage tests do not do this, instead they find parts of unrelated DNA that are almost always inherited with the genetic mutation. Linkage tests may not be as precise as other DNA tests, but they can still be highly accurate. Laboratories will often estimate how accurate their test is. The accuracy of a linkage tests depends on the links between marker DNA and the actual mutation being maintained (i.e. them continuing to be inherited together).

Why do laboratories create linkage tests rather than regular DNA tests?

Laboratories may offer linkage tests for three main reasons:

  1. Sometimes scientists are unable to find the exact gene that causes a disease, but they are able to find sections of DNA that are somehow linked to, and inherited alongside it
  2. It may be technically difficult to find the mutation and it may be easier and cheaper to look at and determine linked markers instead
  3. The test for a particular genetic mutation is patented by a specific laboratory and may not allow others to offer this test, or may ask that they pay to offer it. In these circumstances some laboratories may create a linkage test so that they can offer the test to their clients

Which laboratories test for this condition?

A lists of laboratories that offer CA linkage tests can be found below.

Laboratories that send a copy of your dog's results straight to The Kennel Club, so you don't have to.
Laboratories Contact details
AHT (UK) The AHT closed down on 31 July 2020 and no longer offers this test.
Web:
www.aht.org.uk

Where will your dog's results be published?

DNA test results from these laboratories are sent directly to The Kennel Club and are recorded on to the dog's record in the registration database, and are published:

Breeding advice and what your dog's results mean

If, once your dog is DNA tested, you would like to find out what their DNA test results mean, or how to select the right mate to avoid producing affected puppies, then please read our breeding advice and DNA testing information.

How to find out if a potential mate has been DNA tested

The Kennel Club’s Health Test Results Finder allows you to find the results of DNA tests carried out as part of official Kennel Club DNA testing schemes for any dog on The Kennel Club’s Breed Register.