New DNA testing schemes for Labrador Retrievers

The Kennel Club has approved two new official DNA test reporting schemes for macular corneal dystrophy (MCD) and Stargadt’s disease (STGD), following consultation with the respective breed health co-ordinators on behalf of the breed clubs. Results will be recorded with the abbreviation MCD and STGD respectively.

Macular corneal dystrophy is an inherited eye disease that causes problems with a dog’s sight. In affected dogs, a build-up of carbohydrate causes the surface of the eye (the cornea) to become cloudy. As the condition progresses, affected dog’s eyes become cloudier and affects their vision.

Stargardt disease is an inherited eye condition that gets worse as a dog gets older. This disease affects the parts of the eye that sense light, causing them to deteriorate and cause loss of vision, dilated pupils and a reduced response to light. Dogs that are affected by Stargardt disease don’t usually go completely blind, but retain some degree of vision.
The diseases are both described as autosomal-recessive. 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.

Tested dogs will be recorded on The Kennel Club systems as either:

The dog does not have any copies of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog is highly unlikely to be clinically affected and will only pass on a normal copy of the gene to a puppy.

The dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog is highly unlikely to be clinically affected, but may pass one copy of the normal gene, or one copy of the abnormal gene on to a puppy.

The dog has two copies of the abnormal gene associated with the disease. The dog will likely be clinically affected by the disorder and will pass one copy of the abnormal gene on to any potential offspring.

To find out which laboratories The Kennel Club is able to record results from for this test, and which labs will send results direct to The Kennel Club, please refer to our pages about MCD and STGD. Please note that these listings are not necessarily comprehensive and other labs may offer the tests. Find out which DNA tests are relevant to your breed.

Dr Joanna Ilska, Genetics & Research Manager at The Kennel Club, said: “The Kennel Club constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported with resources which help them to make responsible breeding decisions. The Kennel Club works alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and is happy to consider a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists. A formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.”

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement and also on the Health Test Results Finder on The Kennel Club website.

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves. DNA test certificates should be scanned and emailed to Health results (The Kennel Club) .

Owners are reminded that, from August 2018, it is mandatory that the dog’s microchip (or tattoo) is recorded along with either the dog’s registered name or registered number on any DNA certificates. Any test results issued after that date that do not carry these identifying features will not be accepted.