Kennel Club News Release
NEW DNA TESTING SCHEME FOR BORDER TERRIERS
The Kennel Club has approved a new official DNA testing scheme for Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy (SLEM) in Border Terriers, following consultation with the breed health coordinator on behalf of the breed clubs.
SLEM, sometimes referred to as ‘shaking puppy syndrome’, is hereditary and can affect puppies from the time they begin attempting to walk. Those affected by the condition show severe tremors, mostly in the hind limbs. Scientists at the University of Missouri, the Animal Health Trust and at Wisdom Health, have now identified a mutation responsible for this disease in the Border Terrier.
To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, please refer to the worldwide DNA testing list at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-breeders/dna-testing-simple-inherited-disorders/worldwide-dna-tests.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “The Border Terrier is the tenth most popular breed in the UK so it is important that breeders have the tools needed to produce healthy dogs. This new DNA test will help to enable breeders in their efforts to eradicate shaking puppy syndrome in the breed by making sensible breeding decisions.
“The Border Terrier breed community is very health-focused and do a lot to protect and improve the breed’s health, so we are pleased that the Kennel Club is now able to record the results of this test and can contribute towards protecting the future of this popular breed. This DNA test is a result of work carried out by the University of Missouri, supported by the team at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust and researchers at Wisdom Health, and we would encourage all breeders of Border Terriers to make use of this new test.”
Dr Cathryn Mellersh, Head of Canine Genetics at the Animal Health Trust, added: “It has been a privilege to be able to collaborate on this research breakthrough which was led by Dr Ana Kolicheski and Dr Gary Johnson at the University of Missouri. My team were able to supply a number of DNA samples from affected cases in the UK, which helped to confirm that the mutation discovered in the US is the same mutation segregating in affected Border Terriers in the UK.
“It can be very difficult to identify the gene linked to an emerging neurological disease such as this, but the result is fantastic and we are very pleased to be able to quickly offer the DNA test at the AHT for the UK and European market. Now, there is no reason for any more Border Terriers to be born with shaking puppy syndrome, illustrating the enormous potential of DNA testing when implemented quickly and effectively across a breed.”
The Kennel Club continues to work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators, in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs. It is happy to accommodate a club's request to add a new DNA test to its lists and would normally need a formal request from the breed's health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs.
Test results for this DNA test will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement. The result will appear on any new registration certificate issued for the dog and on the registration certificates of any future progeny of the dog, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on the Kennel Club website. Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves.
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. Any DNA test certificates should be sent to Health and Breeder Services, The Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London, W1J 8AB, or scan and email copies of the certificates to email@example.com.
7th November 2017
PROCEDURE FOR RECORDING SLEM TEST RESULTS AT THE KENNEL CLUB
The Kennel Club sent out a press release announcing the Official Recognition of the SLEM gene test. It was written in a standard format developed for the announcement of new officially recognised tests. I am informed that the AHT is expected soon to send the KC the first tranche of SLEM test results for UK Border Terriers (i.e. those registered with the UK Kennel Club) and this is expected to include all of the tests carried out since the launch of the SLEM test.
Thus, no action by the owners of tested dogs is needed to complete this process, whereas the Press Release suggests something slightly different. You are permitted to send test results to the KC yourself if you wish, but this would very likely duplicate the reporting carried out by the AHT. I would recommend that we allow the internal reporting process between the KC and the AHT to complete its first reporting cycle, and suggest owners check the KC data in a few weeks time to ensure their results have been correctly recorded. I will do my best to alert the breed when the test results start to be published by the KC, but you will realise this relies upon third parties providing me with this information in advance.
During this period, the Breed Health Website will continue to record test results sent, along with permission to publish, to me as Breed Health Coordinator to ensure information on SLEM is available to the breed in a timely manner.
Test results will eventually be transmitted to the KC by the AHT on a monthly basis, and thus for the future there will often be some delay between the test result being sent to the owner and publication on the KC database.
ADDITIONAL ADVICE TO BORDER TERRIER OWNERS
Further to the advice to Border Terrier owners to wait for KC publication of the tests carried out thus far, it has come to our attention that some tests are carried out on Border Terriers without the registration details being provided to the AHT.
As the AHT will therefore not know if this Border Terrier is registered with the KC, they will not send these results automatically to the KC. Thus, if anybody has had dogs tested but did not provide the registration details to the AHT, these test results will have to be sent to the KC with the necessary registration details, if the owners now wish them to be published.
Any KC registered dogs without a SLEM test result, will simply be identified as not tested and thus their status will be officially recorded as unknown.