The Animal Health Trust (AHT) and the Kennel Club have announced a new DNA test for the genetic mutation causing macular corneal dystrophy (MCD) in Labradors.
The mutation for MCD is recessive, meaning only dogs that inherit two copies of the mutation will be affected. Dogs identified by the test as clear have no copies of the mutation whereas carriers have one copy of the mutation. Clears and carriers cannot develop MCD, although carriers will pass the mutation on to about half of their puppies if they reproduce.
Dogs identified as genetically affected have two copies of the mutation and will develop MCD around middle age. The DNA test can be used to screen dogs at any age and provides a means of eliminating the causal mutation from the Labrador retriever gene pool.
Dogs affected with MCD will develop cloudy eyes, due to an abnormal accumulation of carbohydrates (known as glycosaminoglycans) in their corneas. The only treatment for the disease in people is to surgically perform a corneal transplant; however, this has not yet been performed successfully in dogs for the treatment of MCD.
Cathryn Mellersh, head of canine genetics at the AHT said: “We’re really pleased to be able to provide this new test in 2015. Screening Labradors for the mutation responsible for this condition will help to identify those dogs at risk of developing MCD and/or passing it on to their puppies. Dogs don’t typically develop MCD until middle age – so without a DNA test there is a chance affected dogs are unknowingly bred from. Now, affected and carrier dogs can easily be identified through one simple test – giving breeders peace of mind.
Visit www.ahtdnatesting.co.uk to order the test. A 10% discount is available when at least 20 samples are submitted within a month. Interested parties should contact email@example.com with a start date to request a discount code.