Thursday, December 9, 2010

News and Gratuitous Oda

Gratuitous Oda picture... isn't she pretty!

Back in early November, I sent off DNA swabs on five of my dogs to test for the gene for Degenerative Myelopathy.

There is some anecdotal information swirling around that the DM test for GSDs isn't very reliable--some dogs tested clear have shown up with problems that certainly look like DM. And other dogs who show two copies of the suspect gene have never had any DM-like problems. These are not widespread contradictory cases, but that they exist at all implies that the full genetic story has not been revealed for DM in GSDs.

For a long time, I resisted doing the DM testing because of this reliability problem. Finally, though, I decided that what the test did was give me information.

And it is up to me to gather as much information as possible before doing a breeding--it is up to me to try to apply that information in ways that will increase the likelihood of sound puppies with long, healthy lives. And if the DM test can help me avoid having even one puppy whose body starts failing at 5 or 6 years old, if it can prevent one family and one dog from having to live with that misery, then the DNA testing will be worthwhile.

So, in the absence of symptoms (in parents or the dogs themselves), I decided to treat the test results as both informative and useful--at the least, the genes tested for are likely involved in the inheritance of the problem in GSDs, even if we later find out that it's necessary to look at other factors as well.

Well, the good news is that every of my tested dogs came up clear, carrying none of the suspect alleles. So, Nike, Coal, Danca, Hunter, Jubilee, and Xita all came up clear.

And because both parents (Coal and Danca) are clear, then I know that Lynx and Macha and Musket do not--cannot--have the genes for this problem.

Gratuitous Oda picture #2 (with a rear end of Macha) --doesn't Oda look a lot like Outlaw?
For the O puppies, I know that they are in the absolute worst case "unaffected carriers" -- which means that even if they did get the gene from their dad (who may or may not have any genes for this problem), they should never be affected. So, for the O puppies, it would be a good idea to test any individual who is going to be bred, but there's no point in doing the test until all other health/performance/conformation hurdles are crossed. A dog who comes up with 1 allele (an unaffected carrier) can still be bred--selectively and with care (which is the whole point anyway, no?). In that case, one chooses a partner that has zero alleles (non-carrier), then all of the puppies will be healthy and unaffected, and individual pups can be tested if they are being considered for breeding.

Gratuitous Oda #3
She's so pretty, I can't believe she's one of mine.

Other good news is that I have Xita's AKC registration in hand, and back in early November, I sent off her DNA swab to AKC. (Before registering puppies out of an imported dog, AKC has to have a DNA sample for their records--they don't actually do anything with this sample unless someone challenges the parentage of a puppy somewhere along the line.)

As soon as I get her DNA confirmation, I can register the O litter, and I should be able to send puppy owners the AKC papers within a few weeks of that date (AKC typically has a fast turnaround at the litter registration stage). So, hopefully that will be completed before the new year. Such a long chain of paperwork!


K9-CRAZY said...

Wow! She is beautiful!

FG167 said...

Wow! I would LOVE that girl - she is striking and her temperament sounds LOVELY! And I usally avoid getting girls :-) Your young man there is VERY handsome as well!