Wire Haired Dachshund Club

Dachshund Breed Council News Letter December 2010. 


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 03/12/10

Breed notes from Dog World 10/12/10

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