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Kerry Blue Terrier


By: La Cadiera with the colaboration of Dr. Miguel Galián (Laboklin Labs.)

Grafico Understanding D.M

This article merely reflects our opinion. We understand that maybe other Breeders may not agree with this article but we have tryed to get proper information and our intention is to share it.

Having some information on how genetic diseases work is also helpful but it is up to us to prevent and learn how to handle the breeding so Affected dogs will never appear.

Some years ago the breed was affected by PNA which proved to be absolutely devastating and turned into a witch hunt. At the time we were so unlucky that we did not have the DNA genetic tests to identify and control genetic diseases. Now the situation is tottaly different and we are very fortunate to count with solutions.

Now is the time to address this delicate subject that many breeders seem to refuse to talk about or acknowledge or simply ignore it. Some are even outraged because it could place their name and reputation in serious doubt.

Many breeders, most of them, are not aware of how serious this issue is. Not only considering these two genetic diseases but any other. It seems hard to understand that the population of Kerries is very small and the inbreeding or the very frequent and repetitive use of certain prominent individuals in the same pedigree may lead to unwanted consequences. History proves that Royalty owned diseases followed by this pattern.

Dr. Galian quotes: The vWF or Von Willebrand factor is part of the bonding agent that glues platelets together helping the coagulation of the blood thusstopping hemorrhages. In fact, Von Willebrand Type I disease is characterized by a qualitative deficiency of vWF, which prevents proper clotting and involves prolonged bleeding in severe cases of the disease.

It is similar to human Hemophilia. The specimen who suffers from this disease may not stop bleeding in the event of a cut, surgery, whelping,etc.  In high grades, some specimens have bled to death.

Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy (D.M.) will suffer from gradual to total paralysis. The hind legs go first until their whole body ends up totally paralyzed. It is not only about the suffering of the animal but also about the owners and familys pain, understandably.

Once the gen has appeared and we already have it amongst us, the next thing is to understand is that a Carrier mated with a Disease Free specimen, can produce Carriers at least in a statistical percentage of a 50% which makes very important to understand how important it is for the Breeder to be Honest and Responsible.

It is remarkable that the gen will not disappear only being mated to a Free specimen. In the graphic above you can see very clearly the way the gen works. We must be conscience that we can be having Carrier Dogs and the worst thing is that we don’t even know it. So we cannot alert the new owners or breeders who get one of our puppies.

According to Natalia Samaj-Kunze (famous Vet and Breeder in U.S.A.) comment: The goal is to breed smart and ethically. The important part is to test the dogs and pick the new generation. To disclose the breeding tests and choose what you can in next generation without losing the gene variety.

In this case, we can mate a Carrier specimen with a Disease Free one always checking the Disease Free factor, our obligation is to test all the puppies born from this litter. Some will be Disease Free but others will be not.

Unfortunately we have already reached the critical moment where it's crucial that if we have the tiniest doubt whether our specimen is a Carrier or not, we must test the animal to know exactly what the status is, so we can act accordingly taking full responsibility for our actions. So if we don't know if our dog or bitch is Carrier or Free, the right thing to do is to test it.

If our breeding dogs and their parents are not tested, we are taking a major risk. Ignorance does not exclude responsibility.

The puppies born from these litters who are Carriers must be placed with responsable people who must guarantee they will not reproduce, in the case that they are families. Only under these circumstances will these mates be acceptable and possible carried out by Responsible Breeders who know what they are talking about and what they have in their hands..

It can also produce a lot of suffering not only to the dogs Affected by the disease but also to the families and owners who have these dogs. Some people believe that all of this is only a big lie concocted by Laboratories to test more dogs and make more money. We believe the have never seen an Affected Dog.

We also deem very important to acknowledge that if some breeders do not test their dogs it's due to an economical problem, which seems like a lame excuse, but let us use this article to send out a loud call for awareness to the Laboratories so breeders can find it easier and more feasible to test their producers.

Dr. Galian quotes: In pure breeds, in some breeds more than others, there are high levels of inbreeding which leads to genetic flaws.

Of course that there are animals that are Disease Free of any genetic illness, be it vWD or any other, which makes them great candidates as producers.

However, there are also animals who are Carriers (not affected by the disease), with extremely positive features which could only improve the breed making them excellent producers. Of course, this must always be done by Breeders who know their wares and always mating them with other producers proved as DISEASE FREE. The offspring must always be tested to guarantee the correct selection.

There are already Great Breeders who announce that their fantastic dogs or studs are Carriers and keep producing with caution, without any problem. We must be brave and grab the bull by its horns for the benefit of us all and specially, supposedly the most important reason for us must always be the health of "OUR BREED".

As far as we are concerned, we honestly don't know what else we can do beyond writing this article and providing adequate information.

Ethics and honesty can only benefit all of us and we could control these diseases easily. Education, honesty, responsibility and cooperation are the key.

Finally, we would like to add these basic guidelines Dr. Galián has shared with us so we can all understand how the gene is transmitted:

- DNA of a vWD FREE animal: This animal is homozygous and his alleles are normal. This dog will Never transmit the disease.

- DNA of a vWD Carrier: This animal is heterozygous in relation to this gene therefore one allele will be normal and the other one affected. There is a 50% chance that this dog will transmit the disease to his/her offspring but the dog as such will never have it.

-DNA of a vWD Affected: This animal is homozygous. Both of his alleles are affected, so he/she will Always transmit the disease to their offspring plus the puppies will also suffer from the disease

The last and most important point: Von Willebrand Type I disease is autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance which means that even in animals with only one of the genes with this mutation (N/vWDI, carrier), the presence of disease cannot be ruled out. The affected animals (vWD/vWDI) will suffer this disease at its most severe shape and form with higher times of bleeding and clotting problems. Having said this, Carriers can also suffer a lighter version of the disease suffering from mild bleedings to severe hemorrhages.

The character of most genetic diseases is autosomal recessive, as for example D.M. or the famous Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which Carriers are clinically healthy and will only transmit the gene, but in the vWDI, the Carriers will also undergo a lighter version of the disease.  I have been discussing this issue with colleagues in the genetics department and although they know about your publication, it is not clear that the gene is dominant and just because it could be, we recommend caution as  problems could surface. In fact, our last newsletter deals precisely with the various diseases of von Willebrand. As to vWDI we still emphasize that the risk exists if the animal fails to produce enough clotting factor.

I understand that this creates a conflict of interests for the breeders and many of them would like me to state that carriers are clinically healthy which does happen in other pathologies. However, in the case of vWD1 and for example in MDR1 (hypersensitivity to ivermectin ), carriers could suffer from these symptoms.

What to do in case of domestic accident or something of the sort: Do whatever to cut the hemorrhage. At home you probably have limited means so putting pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding and speed up blood clotting is the first step. Obviously, the animal must be taken to the vet immediately so the appropriate drugs to accelerate blood clotting can be administered or surgery is needed.

We have to keep in mind that loss of blood does not necessarily have to be external,via a wound,which would make it evident. In many cases the loss of blood is internal giving way to a hematoma or an accumulation of blood in a body cavity like the chest or the abdomen. This is the reason why you cannot rule out the problem in case of any kind of accident. The animal must be monitored and if there is the smallest of doubts, seek veterinary help.

With the collaboration of Dr. Miguel Galián Jiménez DVM PhD
Abt. Mikrobiologie / International Manager
Steubenstr. 4. 97688 Bad Kissingen (Germany)
Tel.:  +49(0)971-7202 0.  Fax: +49(0)971-6854 6
RG. Schweinfurt; HRA 3631
Ust-ID: DE 206 897 824

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Nota: no se responsabiliza de la informacion u opiniones vertidas en estos contenidos ni tiene por que estar de acuerdo con ellos.

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