Research at The Kennel Club Cancer Centre Animal Health Trust in Newmarket aims to identify the genes behind transitional cell carcinoma in the bladder of the breed.

The Kennel Club (KC) is calling on owners of Scottish terriers in the UK to supply cheek swabs from their dogs to help researchers studying bladder cancer in the breed.

Research has led scientists to believe Scottish terriers have a genetic predisposition to bladder cancer.Scientists at the KC Cancer Centre at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket have agreed to assist the Scottish terrier breed council and UK Scottish terrier clubs to collect the samples, which it hopes will be used to identify the genes behind transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).

According to research carried out in the US in 2005, Scottish terriers have a genetic predisposition to TCC. Other research in 2010 found two chromosomal regions, believed to contain genetic risk factors for TCC, in the bladder of the breed.

According to the KC, ongoing research aims to identify the precise genes and mutations within these chromosomal regions that are associated with an increased risk of developing TCC. This research may form the basis of DNA tests to identify Scottish terriers at risk of TCC in the US, and, as there has been “transatlantic breeding” – breeding between UK and US Scottish terrier populations and descendants of UK Scottish terriers in the US – it is possible UK and US populations will share the same genetic risk factors for TCC. DNA samples from UK terriers are therefore integral to prove whether they share the same genetic risk factors as the US dogs.

Owners of Scottish terriers of any age that are affected by bladder TCC, or of unaffected dogs aged 11 or older, are asked to supply cheek swabs from their dogs. Kits can be obtained from the Animal Health Trust by telephone on 01638 751000 ext. 1214 or by email at oncologyres@aht.org.uk, with a donation of £5 requested for each cheek swab kit to support this work.

For more information on TCC research, visit the Scottish Terrier Club of America website.

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