Hot on the heels of the new DNA test for Juvenile Cataracts comes this breakthrough from Cornell – a possible DNA test for Canine Hip Dysplasia! The possible ramifications for dogs and for dog breeders are staggering. No more waiting until 18 months to find out that your (already pointed, or in some cases already finished) show dog has hip dysplasia. No more excuses for not eliminating affected dogs (arguments I’ve heard – “We have too much invested in him”, “She’s already finished, and HD isn’t that big of a deal”). We now possibly have a chance to screen our dogs young, and remove affected dogs from our breeding programs.
It’s a mistake to think that HD only affects large breeds, or working dogs. I’ve personally owned a dog with HD and luxating patellas, and it took lengthy and expensive surgery to give her back movement and a semblence of comfort. I know other breeders who’ve suffered alongside their affected dogs, as well. It’s true, perhaps, that it needs to be a severe case to affect a French Bulldog, but the simple fact is that since HD is unquestionably a genetic disease, any affected dog has the potential to produce offspring who can go on to become seriously afflicted.
If these advances in genetic screening contine, we will have progressively more tools at our disposal to enable us to make breeding choices that will truly impact our breeds and our bloodlines, in ways more important than any show ring win. Let’s hope that breeders are willing to take advantage of them, and to follow through on their results.
Cornell Develops Genetic Test for HD
> Breakthrough discovery leads to powerful genetic test
> The challenge was posed nearly forty years ago; the trail has been hot
> for the last two. Long-standing partnerships have resulted in advances
> in diagnosing and understanding
> hip dysplasia in dogs, a disease that occurs when a specific combination
> of genes exists and results in hip osteoarthritis and disability.
> Research indicates that, in addition to Labrador Retrievers, discoveries
> in the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia will assist other breeds
> including Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Rottweilers,
> German Shepherds and Newfoundland dogs, and has the potential to offer
> insights into similar diseases in other mammals.
> In 2007, with grant support from the Morris Animal Foundation and Pfizer
> Incorporated, Dr. George Lust and colleagues Dr. Rory Todhunter, Steven
> Friedenberg and Dr.
> Zhiwu Zhang discovered the first panel of genetic markers that could
> lead to genetic testing for the diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia. With
> a new sample of dogs, they plan to verify the accuracy of this panel of
> genetic markers for hip conformation that can predict the breeding value
> of the dog.
> A breakthrough in diagnosis, these genetic tests are expected to be more
> accurate than current procedures, less expensive to perform, and enable
> earlier identification of both normal dogs and those at risk for hip
> dysplasia. Genetic tests may also reduce the need for progeny testing.
> “This has been a long-sought goal,” says Dr. Lust. “Now, with one DNA
> sample we are on the road to telling if a young dog will develop
> normally. We will not need to wait until the dog is old enough to
> undergo the current radiographic screening.”
> The research team also identified a mutation in the gene for fibrillin 2
> that segregates in a sample of dysplastic dogs and non-dysplastic dogs.
> Fibrillin 2 is a gene expressed in the tissue of hip joints. This is the
> first gene reported to be associated with canine hip dysplasia. The
> discovery opens
> opportunities for defining the biochemical basis of the disease.
> In other related research, Dr. Lust partnered with Dr. Bernard G.
> Steinetz at the New York University Medical Center to study the
> relationship of two milk-borne hormones—relaxin and estrogen—to the
> onset of hip dysplasia. In a controlled study, the investigators concluded
> that early anti-hormone treatments may be able to negate the effects of the
> milk-borne hormones as they relate to induction of canine hip
More on Dr. Lust and his research here – http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/faculty/view.php?%20id=178