Wire Haired Dachshund Club



Issued by the Wire-haired Dachshund Club and the Dachshund Breed Council.


The Wirehaired Dachshund Club and the Dachshund Breed Council are pleased to announce the launch of a full DNA screening programme for Lafora Disease in Miniature Wire-haired Dachshunds.

Lafora Disease is an inherited, late onset, progressive myoclonic epilepsy which is believed to affect up to 10% of UK Miniature Wire-haired Dachshunds. The condition typically becomes apparent after normal breeding age and progresses slowly over many years. There is no cure and management of the condition can be difficult.

The DNA test will be provided by Centogene, a German laboratory that has been offering a Lafora test to humans. The test, using cheek swabs, will identify “Clear”, “Carrier” and “Affected” dogs for the EPM2B Lafora gene mutation. Previously, the only test available could not differentiate between “Clear” and “Carrier” dogs.

In addition to screening for the known EPM2B mutation, a cohort of dogs will be able to have a full gene sequencing research test carried out in order to establish the extent of any further mutations that may be associated with Lafora Disease.

Nina Dible, Chair of the Wire-haired Dachshund Club said: “Our 2010 Lafora screening programme highlighted the need for a full DNA test and I am delighted that we are now able to launch this programme. I hope it will be fully supported by the Mini Wire community. It gives owners the ability to avoid breeding any more Lafora Affected dogs and we have a real possibility of eventually eradicating this harmful mutation from Mini Wire Dachshunds. I am also hopeful that we will be able to establish this as an official test, recognised by the Kennel Club”.

Nora Price has been appointed Programme Coordinator and all tests will be arranged by her, supported by Christine Gibson and Jo Lavin (WHDC Committee members), following a protocol agreed with Centogene and the Kennel Club. The costs of participating in the full screening programme are still being finalised and anyone who tested their dogs in 2010 will be given preferential rates.

Owners of MWHDs wishing to have their dogs tested should contact Nora Price.


E-mail: pnprice@mypostoffice.co.uk (Tel: 01543 276797)


Further information on the screening programme will be published over the coming weeks.



9th June 2011: For immediate release.



Issued by the Wire-haired Dachshund Club and the Dachshund Breed Council.





Lafora’s Disease in MWHD

Lafora’s disease is an inherited, late onset, progressive myoclonic epilepsy.  This degenerative neurological disease has been identified in Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds. The disease is characterised by myoconus. Typically this looks like a backwards shuddering/jerking of the head when there is movement towards the eyes, when light intensity increases, when there is flickering light (e.g. television) or at sudden noises. Some dogs also develop epilepsy. Middle aged to older dogs (age range 5-8 years) of both sexes can be affected. Unfortunately there is not a completely effective treatment, however many are improved on anti-epileptic drugs.

The abnormal gene which causes this disease has been identified and a DNA test is available (but only from a laboratory in Canada). This is especially important as the disease develops after the normal breeding age, so an early test could provide a way for breeders to “breed away” from this problem.


If a dog has tested positive (affected) then both parents and all the offspring of that dog are either carriers or affected.





Canine Lafora Disease website



Animal Health Trust Presentation on Lafora Disease

posted 5 Mar 2011 02:26 by Ian Seath   [ updated 5 Mar 2011 02:45 ]

Click The Link Below For More Information.


DBC News

December 2010

Dachshund Breed Council



Lafora's Disease in Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds

Most people will know by now that the WHDC has received the results from the DNA swabs taken to test for Lafora's Disease in Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds over the period end March to mid July 2010.  96 samples were taken, of which 95 had sufficient DNA to test.  Twelve dogs were identified as "Affected" and, of these, three were already known to have the disease.  This incidence is higher than was expected, at around 12 per cent.  All who submitted tests have been contacted and, in every case, if the result was "Not Affected", it has been explained that this does not mean the dog is "Clear" of Lafora's Disease; it could still be a "Carrier".  It is vitally important that all Miniature Wire breeders understand this. 

At present there is no test available to distinguish between "Clear" and "Carrier" dogs - this was explained to everyone who brought their dogs to be tested and it was apparently the reason that some breeders decided not to have their dogs tested.

The researchers at the Canadian hospital who carried out the tests have requested five-generation pedigrees from every dog tested to help identify "Carrier" lines, to enable Miniature Wire breeders to breed away from this debilitating disease, and there has been an excellent response to this so far, with more than a third of the pedigrees submitted already.

Every Miniature Wirehaired owner/breeder must surely want to breed away from this condition. No-one is at fault for the existence of the disease, and because the age of onset is after normal breeding age there is no way anyone can be thought to have deliberately bred from Dachshunds with Lafora's.

We have discussed the results with Dr. Cathryn Mellersh who leads the KC's Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust. She said that if the 12 % “Affected” is a representative sample of the breed, she would expect there to be approx. 45% “Carriers” in the wider population as well.  This is a high proportion, which further emphasises the need for action to reduce the mutation frequency.  As a comparison, 45% is approximately the proportion of cord1 PRA “Carrier” Mini Longs back in 2005.

We have also discussed breeding strategies and Dr. Mellersh felt that breeders should adopt the same approach as with cord1 PRA; i.e. allowing “Carriers” to continue to breed as long as they are only mated to “Clears”.  Advising people not to breed from “Carriers” would be likely to have an adverse effect on genetic diversity in what is a relatively small population.

Most people seem to think that a substantial sum of money should be invested by the Dachshund world in developing a test to distinguish between Dachshunds who are “Clear” of Lafora's and those who are “Carriers”.  Unlike the DNA test for cord1 PRA which is available from the AHT, the full Lafora test will only be available in Canada from the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. However, the full test is not currently in use and will need to be reinstated and it is for this, plus the running of the tests, which we need to raise funds. Dr. Mellersh supports the Wire Club's decision to work with the Canadian team on establishing the full Clear/Carrier/Affected DNA test.

The WHDC, the Miniature DC and the Breed Council will be working on the next steps over the coming weeks, including plans for raising the required funding. The WHDC has published the results on its website (here) and they will also be in its next newsletter.

Lafora's Disease has also been reported in Beagles and we have been speaking with the Beagles' Health Coordinator to ensure we can share learning and potentially pool resources.

A support group for owners of dogs with Lafora's was set up in 2010 and their website is: www.laforadogs.org where you can find out more about the disease and living with an affected dog. You can also download the Breed Council's information sheet here.

We are sure all Mini Wire owners and breeders will wish to thank the WHDC for their work so far on this health condition and in particular, former Chairman Lesley Patton who managed the implementation of the 2010 screening programme.

Breed notes from Dog World 10/12/10


 Breed notes from Dog World 03/12/10

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