To improve our services and provide our customers with more testing options, we have added a few new tests to our test menu!
M LOCUS (MERLE)
A mutation in the SILV gene leads to the unique coat pattern known as “Merle” typically seen in breeds such as Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Dachshund, Great Dane, Louisiana Leopard dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi and many others. The Merle pattern is typically categorized as mottled patches of color on a solid or piebald coat. The Merle pattern can affect all solid coat colors including black (blue merle) and brown (red merle) coated dogs. The Merle pattern can also be described using different terms in different breeds such as “dapple” in Dachshunds. The Merle mutation can be present in various sizes which can impact expression and lead to what is known as a “Cryptic Merle” that shows either very small patches of merle or none at all. These dogs will appear as non-Merle but can still pass the Merle mutation to their offspring in a manner that will lead to offspring that will show the Merle coat pattern. The test offered here will detect the presence or absence of the Merle mutation and does not differentiate between Merle size alleles.
LETHAL ACRODERMATITIS (LAD)
Lethal Acrodermatitis (LAD) is a severe skin condition affecting Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers that is caused by reduced zinc absorption and leads to impaired development, immune deficiency and characteristic skin lesions. These lesions appear as swelling on the muzzle and around the eyes and ears. Dogs affected by this condition will also exhibit hard, cracked and crusted skin lesions particularly on their feet and footpads. Symptoms may also include pneumonia and diarrhea. Affected dogs may also show signs of coat color dilution in pigmented skin areas. Symptoms typically appear starting in the first week and puppies can show a slower growth rate and appear weak and inactive. Within one year, affected puppies will also appear about half the weight and size of a healthy dog. The disease can progress quickly with dogs typically not living beyond two years of age.
BORDER COLLIE GLAUCOMA (BCG)
Glaucoma is a painful and potentially blinding disease associated with high eye pressure that can be caused by an improper drainage system within the eye. Lack of fluid drainage can lead to increased fluid pressure inside the eye and subsequent damage to the optic nerve potentially leading to a total loss of vision. Symptoms of the disease can include severe pain, light sensitivity, eye spasms and watery eyes. Dogs suffering from the condition may display behaviors such as hiding, refusal to eat and defensive head movements in response to painful symptoms. It is important to note that the test offered detects a ‘candidate’ mutation that has been strongly associated with glaucoma in Border Collies but will require additional research to demonstrate a conclusive connection to the disease. Nevertheless, the current ‘candidate” mutation test can provide value in assisting with breeding decisions.
GOLDEN RETRIEVER PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY 2 (GR-PRA2)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a category of different progressive conditions leading to retinal atrophy and potential blindness. Three separate mutations (PRA-PRCD, GR-PRA1 and GR-PRA2) have been identified to date that can lead to PRA in Golden Retrievers. Golden Retriever Progressive Retinal Atrophy 2 (GR-PRA2) is a late-onset inherited eye disease that typically shows clinical symptoms including retinal degeneration at approximately 5 years of age with variation in the age of onset. Primary clinical signs of the disease include changes in reflectivity and appearance of a structure behind the retina that can be diagnosed through a veterinary eye exam. Disease progression can include thinning of the retinal blood vessels leading to decreased blood flow to the retina. Dogs affected by GR-PRA2 initially have loss of vision in dim light (also known as night blindness) followed by loss of peripheral vision with eventual progression to complete blindness in most affected dogs.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY ROD-CONE DYSPLASIA 3 (PRA-RCD3)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a category of different progressive conditions leading to retinal atrophy and potential blindness. Cardigan Welsh Corgis can be affected by a particular type of PRA known as PRA-RCD3. Disease symptoms can present as early as 1 year old or earlier and are typically observed during an eye exam. The rod cells of the eye which are responsible for vision in low-light (night time) show gradual deterioration and the dog rapidly exhibits “night blindness” which is typically seen as a gradual inability for the dog to go outside at night due to loss of night vision. At approximately 2-3 years of age, the dog’s cone cells begin to degenerate. The disease continues to progress leading to a loss of color vision and vision in bright light and eventually results in complete blindness.