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It seems that every day - in the world of dogs and the world beyond - we see decisions made that may work for part of a problem, but because they do not take into account the complex reality of the bigger picture, they are unlikely to be fully effective. Every step we take at IPFD reminds me of this interconnectedness - and of the need for IPFD's international, multi-stakeholder approach. And about how grateful we are for the Partners, Sponsors and collaborators who make our work possible. We have created a short, 'lite' video to highlight these issues and then expand on examples below.
IPFD's International Dog Health Workshops have helped to pull the vision of and methods by which the goal of better health and welfare for dogs is achieved.
Breed Health Strategies are the foundation of planning for health and welfare improvement in dogs. A strategy for a breed may include any, or all, of the following: disease, longevity, genetic diversity, conformation, temperament, working ability. See Breed-specific Breeding Strategies - 3rd IDHW follow-up and a subsequent document which provide specifics for establishing a sound, workable strategy. These documents define projects and processes that focus on the objectives to safeguard and improve the future of a breed. (Breed Strategies IDHW content is attributed to Ian Seath, dog breeder, chair of the Dachshund Breed Council in the UK, and leader of the Breed-Specific Health Strategies theme at the IPFD International Dog Health Workshops (IDHW).) Also see IPFD CEO Brenda Bonnett's plenary talk at the 4th IDHW: Get a GRIHP on Breed Health, which addresses the complexities of big picture health concerns that must be addressed by collective information and actions.
From the Genetics theme-based topics discussed at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop, a pressing need for genetic counseling experts emerged - experts to provide meaningful evaluation of and advice on breed-relevant use of the growing number of DNA and health screening tests available to dog owners/breeders. A key action/project at the workshop was interrogating the concept of “validation” – which pulled together many specific genetic test issues. It was decided that creating a model for addressing Validation for genetic tests would be the best use of time for the workshop. This was effective in guiding discussion to identify specific actions/projects moving forward.
The questions from the breed community: How do we know what tests to use? How can we trust the test results? See the Report from the Genetic Testing Theme, from the 4th International Dog Health Workshop.
Tools are needed! Why? Direct-to-consumer genetic tests have provided greater access to many different breed-specific and general genetic tests for dogs. This has raised concerns from owners and breeders who need more guidance and direction in making informed testing decisions. To help with this, the HGTD in December of 2019 added relevance ratings to the interface. Currently, the relevance rating is determined based on a wide-variety of evidence sources. This includes peer-reviewed research papers, recommendations from the original researchers/test developers, input from additional experts including veterinary specialists, and breed experts. It is important when considering the ratings to understand that this effectively indicates how much we currently know or do not know about a specific test for a specific breed. This does not necessarily indicate how “good”, or “bad” a test is. It also does not indicate the clinical importance of a test.
So who is doing what in the big picture - of course management of dog's well-being includes and goes beyond DNA tests - health screenings matter, temperament matters, conformation matters... The Health Strategies Database for Dogs is in the works to augment health information available on DogWellNet... stay tuned.
The ongoing creation of tools and educational content to improve the health and welfare of dogs by kennel and breed clubs, and work done by groups of breed enthusiasts drives the big picture forward.
In the Blog post, Breed Health... What is your vision?, the take-away message is, undertake actions and make decisions that can impact the dog world in beneficial ways. We continue to promote international efforts on the challenges for dogs; we work to bring together stakeholder groups and organizations.
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A recent article provided by the Golden Retriever Club of America, Golden Retriever Health and Genetics Highlight: Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in Golden Retrievers, by Ann Hubbs and Ron Rubrecht,, discussed the challenges faced in Fall 2018, by a breeder who had unsuspectingly bred a litter of puppies from two carriers of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL 5) – a devastating neurological disease considered rare in the breed. While a DNA test existed, most Golden Retriever owners wouldn’t be aware of the condition, let alone testing options. The breeder did the absolute right thing when realizing there was a problem, by working swiftly to genetically test their dogs, contacting owners, and working with the Breed Club to make other breeders aware of the risks of NCL 5.
The situation for this breeder could arise for various conditions in many breeds. Inherited diseases that are generally rare in a breed are unlikely to be considered in selection by breeders. It could be that a genetic test isn’t available, or that it is not a priority for testing compared to more common inherited risks, or, increasingly, it might be a well-known condition in a breed in one country, but less known internationally.
This is understandable, especially considering that the risks of an inherited disease in the breed as a whole, is not necessarily reflective of the risks for the breeding population. (Fig 1.) The dogs who are left intact and used in breeding, particularly by Show/Field breeders, is only a tiny percentage of the dogs making up the whole breed. It is easy to imagine how a few popular dogs who happen to be genetic carriers [See 'carrier' defined in glossary for AR inheritance] for a rare disease like NCL 5, could shift the risks of inheritance within a few generations without anyone realizing that there is a problem at all.
For NCL 5 in the Golden Retrievers, fortunately, there is a genetic test available that can identify those dogs who are clear, carrier, or genetically affected for the condition. This will be especially valuable for those specific breeding lines within which the disease has occurred or is suspected. However, it is important to put into perspective how concerning NCL 5 is for the breed, relative to other important factors, in order to be sure that breeding decisions are made sensibly across all the considerations when making breeding plans.
Currently, within a US population tested by Embark, only <1% of the dogs tested are carriers of the NCL 5 mutation. This is known as carrier frequency. At this level of carrier frequency, breeders can develop breeding plans that include clear and carrier tested dogs, to efficiently breed away from the mutation risk, without causing a genetic bottleneck or producing genetically affected puppies. It is important for a disease like NCL, which is still likely to be clinically rare in the breed, to breed away steadily to balance any other inherited risks, as well as allowing selection for positive characteristics. Avoiding a knee-jerk reaction will help to ensure that future generations have a greater variety of breeding lines to choose from.
IPFD is continuing to develop plans for the Health Strategies Database for Dogs that aims to catalog all conditions that are being addressed by those designing breed-specific health programs around the world, especially kennel and breed clubs. See “Get a GRIHP on Breed Health” - Breed Health Strategies Presentation given by Brenda Bonnett at the 4th International Dog Health Workshop.
What’s a GRIHP?
Globally Relevant Integrated Health Profile... https://dogwellnet.com/files/file/422-4th-idhw-breed-specific-health-strategies-dogwellnet-resources-brenda-bonnett/
HGTD has a number of resources to help breeders and owners make informed decisions on genetic testing. You can search for genetic test providers, breed-specific diseases, and more information on tests/diseases HERE.
Recently, HGTD has launched relevancy ratings for many of the tests that the participating genetic test providers are offering. Using data and information from researchers, test providers, kennel and breed clubs, and veterinary scientists, relevancy ratings are a way of indicating all of the currently known research material on a specific test for a specific breed.
Additional informationUniversity of Missouri - Golden NCL: http://www.caninegeneticdiseases.net/GoldenNCL/The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals records the NCL5 test results for Goldens - search at https://www.ofa.org/diseases/breed-statistics.Also see further information on Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis at OFA: https://www.ofa.org/diseases/dna-tested-diseases/neuronal-ceroid-lipofuscinosis.
ResearchThe NCL 5 mutation origin paper:Melville, SA., Wilson, CL., Chiang, CS., Studdert, VP., Lingaas, F., Wilton, AN. : A mutation in canine CLN5 causes neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis in Border collie dogs. Genomics 86:287-94, 2005. Pubmed reference: 16033706. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2005.06.005.2019Villani, N.A., Bullock, G., Michaels, J.R., Yamato, O., O'Brien, D.P., Mhlanga-Mutangadura, T., Johnson, G.S., Katz, M.L. : A mixed breed dog with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is homozygous for a CLN5 nonsense mutation previously identified in Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs. Mol Genet Metab 127:107-115, 2019. Pubmed reference: 31101435. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2019.04.003.2017Katz, M.L., Rustad, E., Robinson, G.O., Whiting, R.E.H., Student, J.T., Coates, J.R., Narfstrom, K. : Canine neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses: Promising models for preclinical testing of therapeutic interventions. Neurobiol Dis :, 2017. Pubmed reference: 28860089. DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.08.017.2016Kolicheski, A., Johnson, G.S., O'Brien, D.P., Mhlanga-Mutangadura, T., Gilliam, D., Guo, J., Anderson-Sieg, T.D., Schnabel, R.D., Taylor, J.F., Lebowitz, A., Swanson, B., Hicks, D., Niman, Z.E., Wininger, F.A., Carpentier, M.C., Katz, M.L. : Australian Cattle Dogs with Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis are Homozygous for a CLN5 Nonsense Mutation Previously Identified in Border Collies. J Vet Intern Med :, 2016. Pubmed reference: 27203721. DOI: 10.1111/jvim.13971.Mizukami, K., Yabuki, A., Kohyama, M., Kushida, K., Rahman, M.M., Uddin, M.M., Sawa, M., Yamato, O. : Molecular prevalence of multiple genetic disorders in Border collies in Japan and recommendations for genetic counselling. Vet J 214:21-3, 2016. Pubmed reference: 27387721. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2016.05.004.2015Gilliam, D., Kolicheski, A., Johnson, G.S., Mhlanga-Mutangadura, T., Taylor, J.F., Schnabel, R.D., Katz, M.L. : Golden Retriever dogs with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis have a two-base-pair deletion and frameshift in CLN5. Mol Genet Metab 115:101-9, 2015. Pubmed reference: 25934231. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2015.04.001.2013Bond, M., Holthaus, S.M., Tammen, I., Tear, G., Russell, C. : Use of model organisms for the study of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Biochim Biophys Acta 1832:1842-65, 2013. Pubmed reference: 23338040. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.01.009.2012Mizukami, K., Kawamichi, T., Koie, H., Tamura, S., Matsunaga, S., Imamoto, S., Saito, M., Hasegawa, D., Matsuki, N., Tamahara, S., Sato, S., Yabuki, A., Chang, H.S., Yamato, O. : Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis in Border Collie dogs in Japan: clinical and molecular epidemiological study (2000-2011). ScientificWorldJournal 2012:383174, 2012. Pubmed reference: 22919312. DOI: 10.1100/2012/383174.2011Mizukami, K., Chang, H.S., Yabuki, A., Kawamichi, T., Kawahara, N., Hayashi, D., Hossain, M.A., Rahman, M.M., Uddin, M.M., Yamato, O. : Novel rapid genotyping assays for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis in Border Collie dogs and high frequency of the mutant allele in Japan. J Vet Diagn Invest 23:1131-9,
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Do you know if the JADD in NSDTR is simple mendelian or complex? UC Davies genetics lab is offering a test. Do you know if it is a reliable test? Do you think the test should be mandatory for NSDTR used for breeding given its early age of onset and serious impact on an affected dog's health and welfare? I would be very grateful for your comments.
Anon UK NSDTR Breeder
Dear NSDTR Breeder,
It is my understanding that the JADD (Juvenile Addison's Disease) genetic test that is available is a simple inheritance (autosomal recessive) and based on the published discovery research, it seems likely at this time that this test for the NSDTR has a 75% penetrance. According to the researchers, this means that the dog that is tested as genetically affected for JADD has a 75% risk of going on to develop the clinical signs of the disease. This is sometimes referred to autosomal-recessive, with incomplete penetrance. They don't know why 25% of genetically affected dogs don't get the disease, and they don't know for sure that this mutation is the only one associated with developing the disease. We don't yet know how "common" this disease or the risk is. This makes it difficult to know how important it is as a disease to test for. It may be worth you contacting the UK NSDTR Breed Club, as they appear to be aware of the disease, but also seem to only have noted 1 reported case in the UK. (you can find links to their club website, including health pages below) It is very possible for a disease to be more or less common in different countries.
As for UC Davis, I believe they worked closely with the research team (who is also based at UC Davis) to develop the test, so while it isn't to say that other test providers aren't also doing a good job, it is a general good idea to have the test performed by the team who discovered it, or who worked closely/collaborated, as they should be familiar with any technical challenges. They are also, I believe still working with breeders in furthering research for this disease, so they may be hoping to have a better idea of prevalence in the future, and perhaps addressing that unknown 25% aspect. (see reference below)
As for it being a mandatory test for breeding, I guess you mean the Kennel Club registered dogs? It is hard to know. I believe the test can have value, and that the researchers are providing most of the information needed to help with breeding decisions, but it is not as black and white as a classic autosomal recessive disease, with 100% penetrance. In an ideal world, a club might organize (or researchers might somehow support/collaborate) to test dogs randomly across the population, and get some idea of how common the mutation is. This would help them determine how to prioritize testing for this disease.
If pushed, I'd probably personally test for JADD, based on the potential welfare impact, and for contributing to further research. But, not at the expense of not doing hip scoring, or tests for the more common eye conditions.
I hope that helps!
New genetic mutations are being discovered all the time. It is important to consider why you are considering genetic testing, and to prioritize what is important for your dog’s welfare, and consider what is best for the breed/population as a whole.
When a test isn’t a straightforward “simple” inheritance, it may mean that you don’t have the full-picture of the disease and its inheritance. It can still be beneficial to test – you’ll get some information about your dog, you might want to incorporate it into breeding plans, and you’ll probably be contributing to the research – especially if you are engaging with the original test developers/researchers. But, these tests will not provide any yes or no answers.
If the inheritance is complex, or the test is still essentially in a research phase, you shouldn’t necessarily prioritize a new test over the conditions and concerns that are established in your breed. If you have limited resources, focusing on established DNA tests for common diseases in your breed, any clinical screening such as hips/elbows/eyes/hearts/etc., and breeding for soundness and behavior should be your first priorities.
References/Further reading and resources:
TWO NEW DNA BASED TESTS AVAILABLE FOR THE NSDTR Written by Danika Bannasch DVM PhD; Professor Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis Published Spring 2012 Issue-Quacker. http://nsdtrc-usa.org/pdf_files/2012/Quakers-JADD-CP1-0512.pdf
UK-Based Breed Club, with Health resources: www.toller-club.co.uk
National Kennel Clubs are major stakeholders in the governance and regulation of dog breeding. As such, they have been the targets of major criticism related to dog health issues. It is therefore interesting to investigate to what extent health and welfare is a priority for kennel clubs (KCs), and what are the capacities and actions implemented to deal with those issues.
A survey was sent in 2017 to 40 KCs with 15 answers received from 11 European (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) and 4 non-European countries (Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the USA) aimed at describing and comparing information across countries in dog breed health management (Wang et al. 2018).
First, in order to determine the population of dogs under the responsibility of KC, the percentages of all dogs being registered as ‘pedigree’ dogs were estimated considering the 15 surveyed KCs, as well 35 other countries, using sources such as the FCI online statistics. Across countries, the average and median percentage of the entire dog population that were registered pedigree dogs, respectively was 20% and 14%. However, there was a large variation across countries, with European Nordic countries showing, in general, a larger proportion of pedigree dogs (see Figure 1). This aspect is of importance, since it is expected that the responsibility toward general dog health, as well as the capacity to improve the situation, relates to the proportion of dogs that are at least to some extent under the influence of the KCs.
When asked about the current challenges, KCs ranked exaggerated morphological features and inherited disorders as the most important issues, showing those two problems are now clearly identified as priorities (Figure 2). By contrast, issues such as economic constraints to breeding were rarely viewed as problematic for dog breeding. Kennel clubs also commented on challenges related to the difficulty to find balance between increased regulation and the risk of losing members; to achieve consensus and compliance of breeders and clubs toward breed health strategies; as well as lack of capacity regarding information provision and education.
Surveyed countries showed great diversity in terms of information management, implementation of breeding strategies, recommendations, requirement, restriction and tools. Most KCs indicated that information on genealogies, breed standards and dog shows were recorded in their data base for most, if not all breeds; however, health information (e.g. screening examinations, genetic tests) was more sparsely recorded and provided to the public, both for breeds within countries and across countries (Figure 3). For instance, KCs from Austria, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA provided health information status on pedigrees and in online data bases, but in general, not all breeds were covered. When considering implementation of breeding strategies, six countries indicated that there were no breeding strategies implemented by any breed clubs, while in three countries (Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands) it was reported that each breed club had its breeding strategy.
Several countries indicated that they were planning to develop breeding tools and provide health information to users, and for instance, France and Belgium reported having ongoing work to develop tools to provide online pedigree with health information or estimate breeding values for complex disorders such as hip dysplasia.
Although limited by the relatively low number of countries considered, this survey showed that despite large differences in their approach to breeding policies and management, the awareness to improve breeding and health of pedigree dogs was strong among the surveyed Kennel Clubs. The dog breeding world is increasingly global in scope. The understanding of both the diversity of health initiatives and the potential for coordinated actions internationally is key to further efforts to promote dog health and welfare.
There is probably still a lot of progress to be made in term of information provision and collection, as well as planning breeding strategies considering dog health. In particular, finding a consensus in terms of constraints and priorities for breeding, is expected to be particularly challenging for Kennel Clubs and breed clubs in order to implement those strategies. Although the situations differ across countries, exchanges of experiences may surely help to find the most adequate solutions toward improvement of health and welfare.
Wang, S., Laloë, D., Missant, F. M., Malm, S., Lewis, T., Verrier, E., ... & Leroy, G. (2018). Breeding policies and management of pedigree dogs in 15 national kennel clubs. The Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.018
Brenda’s blog gave a great overview of the American Kennel Club National Parent Club Canine Health Conference we attended earlier this month in St. Louis, Missouri. I am grateful for the sponsorship from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals provided to myself and the 31 other veterinary students in attendance.
This conference, like the 3rd International Dog Health Workshop, was an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge research that is improving dog health. Topics were varied and included tick borne disease, epilepsy, lymphoma, and reproductive health. It was exciting to see my Colorado State University (CSU) Immunology professor, Dr. Anne Avery, present on her lymphoma research.
Right: View from the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch
After completing a CSU clinical orthopedics rotation a few weeks prior to the conference, it was especially interesting to hear what I had learned about Omega-3 fatty acids in my rotation be reiterated by presenter Dr. Wendy Baltzer from Massey University. Her Purina funded study described that a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids post-surgical correction of cranial cruciate ligament disease is helpful and results in less progression of arthritis and lameness.
I’m am looking forward to graduation in 9 months and continued involvement in dog health. The opportunities I have received since first starting my IPFD project have been endless and I am very thankful for the DogWellNet.com community!
Left: Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club Health Conference
Well, it's been 10 weeks... and I've learned quite a lot. I hope you have, too! As my project comes to an end, Nina and I wanted to give our viewers a big thank you. I hope you enjoyed this blog series and feel more confident about what your role is in solving antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We would also like to extend a huge thank you to the Skippy Frank Fund who sponsored this entire project, and a thank you to Dr. Jason Stull and Dr. Brenda Bonnett for being wonderful mentors every step of the way.
It is important to keep in mind that science is an ever-changing field that is constantly updated with new material. For example there's a new study that just came out suggesting that not finishing a course of antibiotics may not cause resistance, which is contrary to the current belief. Here is the link to this article if you would like to read more about it. Even though this blog is over, I hope that you continue your AMR education as new scientific data arises.
To complete my summer project, I have constructed a poster that I will be presenting at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Day.
Take a look!
Here is the downloadable PDF version:
Be sure to keep checking www.DogWellNet.com for more information on dog health and wellness!
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The Finnish Kennel Club (FKC) has finished the protocol and the instructions for fitness (walk) testing of breeding dogs in brachycephalic breeds. The test is similar to the one used by the Dutch Kennel Club.
Finnish test instructions have been developed by veterinarians doing research on BOAS. Their results concerning the Bulldog have already been published. The researchers are still continuing their research and testing Pugs and French Bulldogs, whose results will be published later.
According to the Finnish guidelines, a dog gets an approved walk test result if he/she walks 1000 meters in 12 minutes or less, and recovers sufficiently from the walk within the recovery time. In the future, it is also possible to have different time limits for different breeds. The test result is failed if
The FKC arranged the first pilot test in February, and the second pilot will be arranged in May. Also orientation for veterinarians will be held at that second pilot. After that, breed clubs are able to arrange the tests by their own. The tests have to be carried out in accordance with the FKC's Guideline for walk tests, in order to get the test result recorded in the FKC breeding database.
The FKC is following the development and use of different tests in other countries. It is also having close collaboration with the other Nordic Kennel Clubs on this subject. The aim is, in the long run, and with the help of accumulated experience, to develop the test further, to be as appropriate as possible.
All the information on the Finnish walk test can be found here.
The walk test is meant for short-muzzled (brachycephalic) breeds that have symptoms caused by upper respiratory tract disorders. These breeds include Pug, English Bulldog and French Bulldog. The dog's exercise tolerance and the ability to breathe normally are evaluated in the walk test and the clinical examination included in it. In the walk test, the dog must walk a certain distance in a defined maximum time and recover from the exercise within a defined time frame."
IPFD Board Member Dr. Patricia Olson was the keynote speaker at the Inaugural One Health Program at Midwestern University on October 8, 2015 (Downer’s Grove, Illinois).
Midwestern University also has one of the newest veterinary schools in the U.S. (Phoenix, Arizona). Physicians were paired with veterinarians to deliver lectures on obesity, pneumonia, osteochondritis dissecans and epilepsy. Dr. Olson’s lecture was on collaborative research, using the clues from animals to help advance both human and animal health/welfare.
See the pdf of her thought-provoking talk here:
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Once a year, in October, the SKK Breeding Committee organizes a weekend course for
breeding officials based on the book Dog breeding in theory and practice by Sofia Malm (SKK genetic expert) and Åsa Lindholm.
The Genetic Expert and The Breeding Consultant of the SKK Department for Breeding and Health are in charge of the course.
The aim is to give breed clubs education and tools they need to work with breeding plans and breed-specific strategies.
The contents of the course include basic genetics and guidance in how to conduct work at club level.
There’s also a certain amount of self-directed studies.
Every other year, in April, this education is held specifically directed to hunting dog breed clubs.
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On the podium:
1st : Meisterhaus Signet Higher'N Higer ; Breed: Basenji ; Owner: Lise DURLOT and Dimitri HEBERT ; Breeder: Brenda CASSELL and Tad BOOKS
2nd : Fall In Love Forest Ohara Of Bloom White ; Breed : Samoyede ; Owner: Mira MITKOVA ; Breeder: Elisabeth FAUCON
3rd : Eternal Drago Of Nordic Forest ; Breed : Siberian Husky ; Owner and breeder: Valérie CHARNEAU
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The contents of these blogs are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from these blogs.