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  • Brenda Bonnett

    COVID-19 - a novel experience for dogs and people

    By Brenda Bonnett

    Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you. In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations.  It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as t
    • 1 comment
    • 536 views

Our community blogs

  1. 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.

    Fig1.jpg 

    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.

     

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    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.

    Fig3.jpg

     

    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.

     

      

    Reference:

    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

     

     

  2. Congratulations to the University of Sydney and OMIA - the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals database.  25 years old 25 May 2020.  Check out the celebration webpage here.

    omia-university-of-sydney.png.bc0ec5583d

    This amazing resource underpins research and education on genetics in many species and has been a key support for advancement in the world of dog genetics and genomics.

    The development and maintenance of this fantastic database is due to the input and support of many academics, researchers, and others, many of whom volunteer their expertise and time.  But it would not have existed or been maintained without the commitment and passion of Frank Nicholas.  We gratefully congratulate him on this milestone.

    OMIA is a collaborating partner of the IPFD, and we have been coordinating and linking with them to maintain the quality of the Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs database and resources. The OMIA numbering system is vital for international collaboration and critical to harmonizing genetic phenes across research and industry.

    IPFD is very proud of and grateful for this association and will help celebrate this event with a donation via the OMIA site

    Why not join us in recognizing this important and necessary achievement?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Hello all!

     

    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 FullSizeRender 7.jpgHealth Workshop, was an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge research that is improving dog OFA Logo 2017.jpghealth. 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

     

     

    Veterinary Student Attendees at the AKC National Parent Club ConferenceAfter 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

     
     
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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.

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    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.

     

     

     

     

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    Every other year, in April, this education is held specifically directed to hunting dog breed clubs.

     

     

  5. 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 dog is, based on the veterinarian’s initial examination, showing signs of serious respiratory symptoms (including also severe hyperthermia).
    • The supervising veterinarian interrupts the test due to the dog’s serious respiratory symptoms.
    • The dog is not able to successfully complete the test and/or recover from it sufficiently within the required time.

    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.  

    UPDATED 7-15-2019

    All the information on the Finnish walk test can be found here.

    "Walk test

    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."

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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

  7. 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!

     

    Slide1.thumb.PNG.2c6575c76e1d828f2cfd208703927bf8.PNG

     

     

    Here is the downloadable PDF version:

    IPFD Poster.pdf

     

     

     

     

    Be sure to keep checking www.DogWellNet.com for more information on dog health and wellness!

     

     

     

  8. 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: 

     

     

     


     

  9. Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi
    Latest Entry

    By Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi,

    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.

    selection-pressure.png

    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.

    BSHS-IPFD-Resources---Get-a-GRIHP-B.BonnIPFD 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/

     

     

     

     

     
    Additional information

    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 information
     
    University 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.
     

     
    Research
     
    The 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
     
    2019
    Villani, 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.
     
    2017
    Katz, 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.
     
    2016
    Kolicheski, 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.
     
    2015
    Gilliam, 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.
     
    2013
    Bond, 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.
     
    2012
    Mizukami, 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.
     
    2011
    Mizukami, 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

     

  10.  

    Is COVID-time the Right Time to Kon Mari Your Genetic Testing Plans?

    a blog by Aimee Llewellyn-Zaidi, MSc; Project Director of the IPFD Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD) initiative.

     

     “People around the world have been drawn to this philosophy not only due to its effectiveness, but also because it places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking.” -Marie Kondo, Founder of the Kon Mari method.

    If you’ve already, like so many of us, used the Kon Mari de-cluttering method of “sparking joy” and being “mindful, introspective, and forward-looking” in cleaning out your garage, re-organizing your closets, and finally hanging those shelves, then it is no surprise you might be feeling like your breeding plans could do with a little refresh and reorganize. Sometimes in life, it is really valuable to assess our habits and old ways to see if they still “spark joy” or in this case, are still working effectively to achieve breeding goals. With many breeder organizations encouraging caution when planning litters, or recommending delaying mating plans, (click here) this could be the perfect time to reflect on dog breeding, and be mindful, introspective, and forward-looking with genetic testing!

    Being Mindful:

    Identifying what you want to achieve with genetic testing is critical in ensuring that the tests you use are fit for your purpose, and that you are making informed breeding decisions. There are a number of potential goals: confirming a litter’s parentage, using disease/trait test results to guide breeding plans to reduce risks or promote desirable characteristics, or providing a genetic permanent identification for your breeding dogs or puppies.

     

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    Genetic tests fall into a few different types. For breeders, you might mainly be interested in parentage testing (providing confirmation of a puppy’s parents), permanent identification (a panel of markers that provide a unique genetic “fingerprint” that cannot be removed), and disease/trait tests (individual tests, or packages of tests that give risk or inheritance information on a wide-variety of inherited diseases and traits, such as coat type or color.) There are also genetic tests that are diagnostic or used to assess clinical risks, and increasingly, tests that investigate breed diversity or breed determination. What types of tests you use is determined by what your goals are – it is easy to confuse testing options, and you don’t want to order a parentage test thinking you’re getting a permanent ID, or health information. If you have a number of goals, many genetic test providers offer packages of tests, or reduced costs when purchasing multiple tests and test-types.

    When choosing disease or trait tests for your breed, you can start by searching the breed-specific tests listed on HGTD. The HGTD project has recently launched Breed Relevance Ratings (BRR) as a guide to what research and evidence (or not) supports available breed-specific tests. BRR uses a “traffic light” system to indicate what we currently know about a specific test for a specific breed. You can use this information in a number of ways, but it is useful when assessing how well-understood a specific disease test might be in your breed. These ratings are dynamic, and will change over time as more information becomes available. As HGTD also provides information on each disease/trait test, you can see the original research for many tests, and use this in conjunction with any information from your test providers to better interpret and understand test results. This is especially valuable when balancing a number of different test results in your dogs, with other breeding considerations. As more breed-specific tests become available, more dogs will of course have a variety low/medium and high-risk results. There is no such thing as a genetically “perfect” dog!

    We have recently heard from a number of kennel clubs who are either already starting to incorporate parentage testing and genetic permanent identification into their databases, or making plans for this in the future. It can be really reassuring to both breeders and pet homes to have genetic confirmation of parentage – and if you have a genetic permanent identification, it can’t get “lost”, be removed, or be changed. When choosing a parentage or ID test, look for ISAG accreditation to ensure that your test results are interpretable internationally. The ISAG panel used by many GTPs is considered a “gold standard.” They have recently released a new ISAG 2020 panel for SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) testing, in addition to the 2004, and 2006 STR (short-tandem repeat/microsatellite) panels. Once you’ve decided on your goals, and what test(s) you might want to achieve them, who is your best test provider? The Search by GTP/Lab option lets you review test providers, including what tests they offer, any accreditation, and special expertise they have. Many genetic test providers are able to perform and provide test results completely remotely and only require you to use a home kit to test your dogs.

    Claire slide.jpgKeep in mind that during the COVID-19 pandemic that any tests that require a blood sample, or being sampled by a veterinary professional may not be recommended at this time. Other considerations for choosing a test provider might be which GTPs are “accepted” by your kennel club, what reports look like and any after-care, and what types of tests are offered. (click here) Genetic test providers are increasingly offering breed-specific “panel” tests, which can be really cost effective. It is worth checking to ensure the panel they are offering includes all the tests you’re interested in, or be ready to buy additional tests. In addition, it is recommended that if you are using a panel test, you take your time when reading breed-specific reports. Some panel test providers like to provide all results, irrespective if the test is yet known to be breed-relevant, and others prefer to report only results that are known or suspected to be relevant. Responsible genetic test providers have clear risk information in their reports, whichever style they use. There is a risk that making breeding decisions based on results from irrelevant tests (e.g. where the mutation in your breed has no known correlation with disease risk) could lead to an unnecessary reduction in genetic diversity, false-confidence in disease risk reduction, or welfare issues if a dog’s results are mis-interpreted as a diagnosis for a disease they will never have symptoms of.

    Introspective/Self-reflective: what to do when you get your test results?

    Question Marks.pngUnless you are only interested in parentage or permanent ID, you will almost certainly have more than one genetic disease/trait result to consider in your breeding plans. You will also have other aims outside of genetic testing such as conformation, behavior, and clinical test results, as well as, perhaps the health and longevity of dogs related to the breeding pair. There are many resources that can provide a wide-variety of breeding advice for your breed. (click here) It can be helpful to divide the genetic test information on the dam and sire into a number of categories – what test results do I have? Which are high, medium or low risk? Any that are no risk at all? And, with what I know about the disease test results, how important are they to the health and welfare of my dogs when balanced against other concerns in my breed? Part of what makes genetic tests such a valuable tool, is that you are able to make fairly confident decisions when it comes to paring dogs to reduce or eliminate disease risk, i.e. it may be strongest for rejecting certain pairings. In other words, after eliminating certain potential mates due to genetic incompatibility, you can go on to look at the pros/cons, benefits and risks of the options remaining.  Even if genetic testing offers some solid information, do not get lulled into making false assumptions about the over-all suitability of mating pairs or the health of a dog or its progeny (see: Health tested does not mean healthy). Genetic testing is a core breeding tool, but breeders must not get complacent or  allow the popularity, simplicity and ‘high science’ of using ‘DNA’ results to distract them from tackling the greater challenges of informed breeding decisions, e.g. prioritizing health, conformation or behavioral traits that don’t come with genetic tests.  No one analytic tool or test can replace the broad knowledge and experience that is needed in order to adequately consider the big picture for breeding decisions. Take time to reflect back to your original goals, with your gained insight into the tests and results…“I want to eliminate this mutation from my breeding plans, but doing it slowly will be better for my breed as a whole” vs “this is a really rare disease with high welfare-impact, so trying to get it out of the breeding population quickly is important” vs “I have 20 important considerations, and this genetic test is only one of them.” This is a really useful way to keep your eye on the end-goals, use genetic tests to help hone your breeding plans, and focus your energy.

    Forward looking

    Genetic testing technology, including what tests are available and advances in interpretation and advice (as well as confusion!) are only going to increase over time. Most kennel and breed clubs are already including genetic test results in breed records to some extent , and as the genetic technology advances and becomes more accessible, the future is likely to include genetic testing as standard practice, especially when it comes to registration – with parentage testing, and/or health testing regulations. Being informed now will help you to be prepared for the future, and improve your breeding plans moving forward. As a final note, a key part of the Kon Mari method of organizing includes the concept of “thank you, and good bye.” This philosophy allows you to reflect on what worked in the past, be okay with it, and also say good bye to move onto better things for your future. This is the same in dog breeding – you might have tried something in the past that doesn’t work now, or you might have had something that worked okay but could be better. Or you may have old habits and attitudes that could be dropped.  Say goodbye, and move on. Learn the lessons from the past experiences, but only take with you when moving into the future, what is right for you and your breeding strategies now and moving forward. 

     

    References:

    Kondo, Marie. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

  11. HGTD Update: 12 May 2020

    Since the last blog, we’ve had additional expert review of many Breed Relevancy Ratings (BRRs) – particular in commonly tested eye conditions, and ataxias. As we are growing our expert out-reach for input into BRRs, we are pleased to note that there is consensus between experts self-reviewing their tests as well as peer-reviewing each other. This adds reassurance to us that the current BRR estimation of combining what we can learn from research publications, phene discoverer’s expert opinions, and informal peer-review between geneticists, is working. So far, we have been able to estimate BRRs for more than 1167+ of the 2684 possible breed-specific test combinations.

    To support BRRs, we are also adding in additional and newly published breed-specific publications and other references in the Breed Specific Information area of the generic phenes. You can find any breed-specific publications or other resources via the "Search by Test/Disease", under the Researched Breeds section.

    One example is for Spinocerebellar Ataxia, CAPN1-related – where you can see for 3 breeds, there are links to further information, breeding strategies, and researcher comments and publications:

    capN1.png

     

    Check out in the HGTD by searching on Ataxia...CAPN1  HERE

    or go directly to the OUTPUT HERE.

     

    Our lists of peer-reviewed publications and referenes are growing by the minute. As a reminder, in the Test/Disease (Phenes) section, you can find the original mutation discovery paper (where known) as well as a selection of other relevant references. As this expands, we are exploring other ways to capture this information to be able to share it in a useful way for you.

     

    If you are a researcher, or know of a publication we don’t currently list - especially any breed-specific references, please let us know! We try to include the reference as well as links to open-access resources or a pdf, whenever possible. You can email me at aimee.llewellyn-zaidi@ipfdogs.com

    Terrier image by P. Kirsi, from Pexels

  • Blogs Disclaimer
    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.

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