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.
Project Update October 2017 We have been advised by the GDG team that they have now reviewed the health concerns we summarised for the Flatcoated Retriever and collated the information. For each condition they have considered a number of factors including:
Is it a particular concern for the breed?
Is it highly prevalent in the breed?
Is there any existing scientific (genetic or clinical) evidence?
Is it relevant to any of our current areas of interest?
Is it relevant to the work being conducted by other scientists?
Is sequencing of a single dog likely to be beneficial or helpful in any way?
After assessing all of the evidence available the team has decided that it will be most useful to sequence the whole genome of a dog with Histiocytic Sarcoma. A DNA sample from a suitable dog has been collected and the sequencing process will now take place. When the sequence data is received the GDG team will update us and liaise with other research collaborators to share their findings.
Liz Branscombe Dip AVN(Surgical) RVN KC Breed Health Coordinator
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.
BVA Gonioscopy Grading Scheme Pilot Project (July 2017) The BVA Eye Panel Working Party has recently agreed to pilot a grading scheme for Gonioscopy under the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme.
In an email from the KC health dept. we have now been informed that,
"This pilot study aims to give potential breeders the best scientific advice about reducing/eliminating primary closed angle glaucoma (PCAG)/primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) without compromising genetic diversity.
The pilot study started July 2017 and the Eye Panel Working Party will assess its progress in November 2017. There may be minor amendments during this interim stage if any new scientific evidence emerges.
Please note that while the Gonioscopy grading scheme is being piloted, the BVA will record the grades and the Kennel Club will continue to publish the results of Gonioscopy, as either 'Clinically unaffected' or 'Clinically affected' - as is done at present. The only change to the current arrangement is that owners will have access to the grading system proposed and agreed by the Eye Panel Working Party."
Further detail from BVA for owners can be found in the attached pdf <Available Here>
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-ordinatior 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.