A number of tests are available for the German Shepherd. Two or more of these tests purchased as part of this bundle will be discounted.
- Degenerative Myelopathy associated with the SOD1 gene
- Hyperuricosuria associated with the SLC2A9 gene
- Multi-Drug Resistance associated with the ABCB1 gene
- Pituitary Dwarfism associated with the LHX3 gene
Important: Degenerative Myelopathy is a rare disease that presents most commonly in German Shepherd Dogs and Boxers, sporadically in Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Borzoi and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. It is rarely diagnosed in other breeds or mixed-breed dogs. DM is considered genetically complex and will have more than one contributing genetic variant. The variant targeted by this test is widespread and found in more than 120 breeds. However, association of the variant with the disease has only been shown in very few breeds and should never be used to inform breeding decisions, except where close relatives have been clinically diagnosed.
Canine degenerative myelopathy (previously also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. Most dogs are at least 8 years old before clinical become apparent. DM usually starts with a muscle weakness, loss of muscle and loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. Progression is generally quote slow, but dogs will eventually be crippled within approximately 3 years of the onset of disease.
The SLC2A9 gene codes for a protein that allows the kidneys to transport uric acid from the urine. Dogs with mutations in both copies of the SLC2A9 gene are predisposed to have elevated levels of uric acid in the urine, hence the name hyperuricosuria. Dogs with hyperuricosuria most commonly present with symptoms of recurrent urinary tract inflammation, which include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and straining to urinate. They may also have loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting and pain. Urinary stones in the bladder can cause urinary tract infections or more seriously, blockage of the Urethra.
Both male and female dogs can be affected, but due to differences in their anatomy obstruction of urine flow is more common in males. Although an x-ray can be used to exclude other types of stones, urate stones cannot typically be seen using x-rays and must be evaluated by ultrasound. Not all dogs with mutations in both copies of the SLC2A9 gene will have symptoms of disease, thought they will have increased uric acid excretion in the urine.
In certain breeds a mutation on the ABCB1 gene, which encodes the MDR1 protein (which stands for Multi Drug Resistance 1) can cause animals that carry the mutation to be particularly sensitive to certain drugs. The variant was first detected in a subpopulation of dogs that were highly sensitive to Ivermectin-induced neurotoxicity. The variant on the ABCB1 gene results in the brain being unable to efficiently pump some drugs out, causing a toxic build-up of these drugs in the brain. Dogs subsequently experience and range of symptoms from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy, seizures, or coma.
Pituitary dwarfism in dogs is a congenital condition caused by a deficiency of growth hormone. Dogs affected by this condition have underdeveloped pituitary glands, which leads to a lack of multiple hormones necessary for proper growth and development. Although affected dogs appear normal at birth, they begin to show signs of growth failure around two to three months of age and never reach their normal adult size. In addition to growth deficiencies, these dogs exhibit distinct characteristics such as retaining their soft, puppy-like coat and a failure to grow primary guard hairs. They often experience various skin abnormalities like scaling, bacterial skin infections, and hyperpigmentation. By the time they reach 3 to 5 years of age, affected dogs may develop severe hair loss on their trunk, neck, and limbs (alopecia) and may also suffer from complications including mental dullness and kidney disease. If left untreated, affected dogs typically have a significantly shortened lifespan and may die or need to be euthanized by the age of 5 due to concerns about their quality of life.
If left untreated, their lifespan is significantly shortened and dogs are often euthanised.