The Rhodesian Ridgeback World Congress meets every four years where a large number of breeders and fanciers (domestic as well as international) come together to discuss the breed. Many thanks to Helle Lauridsen, DWN contibutor, for providing a follow-up to the Rhodesian Ridgeback World Congress 2016.
This article provides a follow-up to the 2016 event - with a focus on addressing Dermoid Sinus in Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
The congress was a great success with a full day focused on breed health.
A whole chapter was focused on Dermoid Sinus, the only breed specific disease for Ridgebacks.
Helle Lauridsen writes... on the topic...
"Dermoid Sinus has been seen by the outside world as a huge problem, but much less so by Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders...
as it is now very rarely encountered and not always, as myth and an old article in Nature indicates, only in ridged dogs.
DS also occurs in RR mixes and in other breeds and is always (100%) operable."
"At the congress it was decided by the delegates to counter the 'stories' about Dermoid Sinus with facts. While the German clubs are progressing towards funding a DS DNA study, the RRWC Health committee wanted to investigate the size and development of the problem, before moving forward initiating a research project into the correlation of the 1996 Australian Folic Acid Study by Felicity A. Nicholls-Grzemski. Her theory is that as DS in dogs and spina bifida in humans are both embryo neural tube defects; DS can also be easily prevented with Folic Acid as Spina Bifida is prevented in humans.
The following summary provides further information on the RRWC Health Committee's dermoid sinus investigation.
The Ridge on the back of the Rhodesian Ridgeback is the hallmark of the breed, but unfortunately the genes for the ridge can also cause the congenital neural tube defect known as dermoid sinus ( Duplication of FGF3, FGF4, FGF19 and ORAOV1 causes hair ridge and predisposition to dermoid sinus in Ridgeback dogs., Hillbertz N, Nature genetics,2007 vol: 39 (11) pp: 1318-1320) . However, as the Nature Genetics article title indicates, the ridgegene only causes PREDISPOSITION to dermoid sinus.
An Australian Folic Article study from 1996 (by Roberts J., and A. Nicholls-Grzemski - A Role for Folic Acid in the Prevention of Dermoid Sinus in the Rhodesian Ridgeback) shows correlation with the intake of Folic Acid and the occurrence of DS. Since then many breeders have been supplementing their bitches, and commercial food brands have added folic acid to their formulas.
At the 2016 congress the RRWC Health Committee was tasked to fully investigate the correlation between nutrition and Dermoid Sinus. The first step was to investigate the prevalence and development of the disease; and the results are heartening, the percentage of DS puppies has fallen from 4,5% to less than 1,5% in the last 10 years.
(figures from national breed clubs' statistics from Finland. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland and Czech Republic)
Several Presentations from the RRWC are available at: http://www.nordicrrwc.org/rrwc-2016/program
Currently (5-3-2016) available presentations include:
Dermoid Sinus operations - the no kill policy in Germany
Thomas Laube (DEU) and Martin Klopsch (DEU)
A bRidge too far
Linda Costa (AUS) and Orit Nevo (ISR)
Breed standard and Judging
Patrice Johansen (AUS)
Visual model golden zone
Barbara Turpin (CAN)
Healthy breeding, common sense
Astrid Indrebø (NO)
Strategies for maintaining genetic diversity in the Rhodesian Ridgeback
Anja Geretschläger (AUT).
The ridge gene test
Miroslav Hornak (CZE)