A new official DNA testing scheme for degenerative myelopathy (DM) has been approved by the Kennel Club, at the request of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club. The test is offered by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals.

A new official DNA testing scheme for degenerative myelopathy (DM) has been approved by the Kennel Club, at the request of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club.
 
This test was developed by Dr Gary Johnson at the University of Missouri and is offered by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) in America and further details can be obtained from the foundation at www.offa.org.
 
The mutated gene responsible for degenerative myelopathy has been found present in 43 breeds including GSDs, boxers, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, and both breeds of Welsh corgi.DM is a disease of the spinal cord in older dogs, which initially presents as a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The disease is chronic and progressive, and results in paralysis.
 
The test will determine whether your dog is normal (two copies of the normal gene), a carrier (one copy of the normal gene and one copy of the mutant gene) or affected (two copies of the mutant gene).
 
In the breeds studied at the University of Missouri, no normal or carrier dog has ever been confirmed as having DM. All affected dogs have been shown to have an increased risk of developing DM. However, DM is a late onset disease which means that some dogs tested as affected could still be clinically normal because they have yet to express the disease clinically.
 
Copies of all future test certificates issued by OFA will be sent directly to the Kennel Club, where the test result will be added to the dog’s details on the registration database. This will trigger the publication of the test result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will also appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and it will be available via the Kennel Club’s Health Test Result Finder.
 
Owners who have already had their dog(s) DNA tested for this condition can send copies of the test certificate into the Kennel Club and the data will be added to the dog’s registration details. In addition, if the owner includes the original registration certificate for the dog (not a copy) then a new registration certificate will be issued, with the DNA result on it, free of charge. Please send the DNA test certificates to:
 
Health & Breeder Services Department
The Kennel Club
1 – 5 Clarges Street
Piccadilly
London
W1J 8AB
 
For further information on this scheme please contact Prof Jeff Sampson at jeff.sampson@thekennelclub.org.uk.

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