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April 2018

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Happy Easter to all our readers.

DNA Test for IVDD - results of a UK sample exercise

In October 2017, University of California, Davis, researchers revealed the discovery of a genetic mutation across breeds that is responsible for chondrodystrophy (the skeletal disorder leading to shorter legs and abnormal intervertebral discs) in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. We reported this and their claim to have developed a DNA test for IVDD. At the time, we were rather concerned that, although a potentially exciting development, the conclusions were based on analysis of a very small number of Dachshund DNA samples.


We have been working with the Animal Health Trust on the genetics of IVDD and UCD generously agreed to screen a set of samples which we had collected for Dr. Cathryn Mellersh in the UK. These comprised UK dogs aged 4-7 who had suffered IVDD herniations and dogs over the age of 10 with no clinical history of IVDD symptoms. 144 samples were sent, covering Smooth, Long and Wire coats in both Standard and Miniature sizes.


These samples were all genotyped for both FGF4 retrogenes (CFA12 and CFA18) and unfortunately all samples were homozygous for both loci.  We had hoped that the Wirehaired dogs might be variable at least (based on experience from other genetic studies), but that isn’t the case.


So this means, sadly, that neither of these loci can be selected against to reduce the prevalence of IVDD, in UK Dachshunds at least.


These data also indicate that all the dogs we tested are homozygous for both of these risk factors.  The fact that not all of these dogs had developed IVDD means either (i) environmental factors account for the ‘missing risk’, or (ii) that there are additional genetic risk factors that have yet to be identified.  Or a mixture of (i) and (ii).


These findings reinforce those of our Danish colleagues who genotyped a similar sized sample of dogs that had (a) low calcification screening scores and (b) high scores. They found very few dogs without the mutation on CFA12.


The conclusions from the AHT samples and Danish samples mean that the UCD "test" cannot be used to screen against IVDD and our advice remains that X-ray screening is the only viable test available currently.


We are grateful to Dr. Cathryn Mellersh at the AHT and to Dr. Danika Bannasch at UCD for their support.

Readers might be interested in the National Register of Pedigree Dog Breeders. This is a not for profit community set up by David Cavill FRSA, the founder of the Animal Care College and author of All About Mating, Whelping and Breeding - now out of print but plenty of copies available for a few pence on Amazon.

It has no adverts, no cookies (except within the site itself) and accepts no sponsorship. Breeders must sign a code of practice before they are accepted as members and there is a lot of free information on the site for breeders and potential puppy owners. All suggestions for improving the site are welcomed. It is not a commercial site - it is a community of like-minded breeders. Have a look and do not hesitate to contact David if you have any questions.

Valerie Skinner - another “Dachshund great” who will be sadly missed

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Valerie Skinner (Ritterburg). Val had been unwell for some time and we understand she was in a care home when she passed away on 24th March. Apparently, she was “talking right up to the end”, which will come as no surprise to those who knew her and loved her.

Val was the recipient of the Dachshund Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Her contribution to the breed and to Dachshund Rescue, in particular, was enormous. Her death comes 3 years to the week since the passing of her husband John.

We are sure the Dachshund community will wish to send their condolences to Val’s family at this sad time.


Lafora Screening update

Another successful Lafora testing day was held on 28th March. 31 samples are winging their way to Canada for DNA testing. Thanks to Sue Holt, Nora Price, Mandy Dance and the staff at the Poole House Veterinary Hospital.

Having had calls recently from both Beagle and Basset owners with affected dogs, we are pleased that we have a breed scheme up and running.

A paper was published last week that summarises the results of all the testing carried out by Dr Minassian's lab. The peer-reviewed paper concludes:
This study provides valuable data for the MWHD community and shows that the DNA test is a useful tool for the breeders to prevent occurrence of Lafora disease in MWHDs. DNA testing has, over 6 years, helped to decrease the frequency of carriers and dogs at risk. Additionally, the DNA test can continue to be used to slowly eradicate the disease-causing mutation in the breed. However, this should be done carefully, over time, to avoid further compromising the genetic diversity of the breed. The DNA test also provides a diagnostic tool for veterinarians if they are presented with a dog that shows clinical signs associated with canine Lafora disease.

Thank you to all the Discover Dogs volunteers

A huge THANK YOU to the Midland Dachshund Club and Ian Smith, in particular, for organising yet another Discover Dogs for Dachshunds. As always, the booths looked great, with lots of information for owners and potential owners.

Photos here.

The biggest thanks must go to all the volunteers and their superbly behaved dogs. Without them, there would be no Discover Dogs.

The next Discover Dogs is at London ExCel on October 20-21, 2018.


Walks against IVDD

Join "Walks Against IVDD" on their monthly walks to help fight against IVDD in our beloved Dachshunds. These virtual walks are open to ALL dog walkers, ANYWHERE in the country. Simply sign up for this month's challenge & share your #WalkAgainstIVDD pics to earn your rosette.
All profit from every entry (minus minimal running costs) is donated to research against IVDD. Let's put a STOP to this heartbreaking disease. 
Thank you to Dawn Branley for organising "Walks against IVDD". 

Scottish DC Breed Seminar

The Scottish Dachshund Club are hosting a Breed Seminar & Mentoring Session at Middleton Village Hall, EH23 4QU on Sunday 15th April, the day after the Hound association of Scotland Championship Show. The morning session & Breed Standard will be presented by Lesley McNaughton (Cedavoch Longs & Smooths) with the chance of taking the Dachshund Breed Council multiple choice exam. A buffet lunch & afternoon mentoring session will take place with the total cost of the day just £15 or £10 without the exam. All enquiries to express your interest as soon as possible please as numbers are limited; by e-mail to quoting SDC Seminar in the subject field. A booking form will then be sent to you.

Find out about IVDD Screening
We're on Instagram now. Follow @DachshundHealthUK
Download the full DBC Health Report 2017 (pdf).

Dates for your diary...

Online Calendar of UK Dachshund shows and events

On the internet...

New on our websites...

Do you know someone with a Dachshund with IVDD? Recovery can be long and painful for both dog (and owner) so why not let them know that you're thinking of them with this lovely 'Got Your Back' sausage dog card? Cards are available, either singly or in packs of 5 (get 5 cards for the price of 4).

Order from Selina Knox at 

NB The entire purchase price of these cards will be donated to the Dachshund Breed Council's IVDD research fund.

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