EMPHASIS IN VON WILLEBRAND AND D.M. DISEASES IN KERRY BLUE TERRIERS
Por : La Cadiera with the colaboration of Dr. Miguel Galián (Laboklin Labs.)
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.
The only reason behind this communication is to wave a red flag at EVERY SINGLE BREEDER, FAN AND KERRY BLUE LOVER WORLDWIDE. A very dangerous threat sits right around the corner.
This menace could be cracked if we take the necessary measures now. Having some information on how genetic diseases work is also helpful but it is up to us to prevent and even eradicate these diseases now while we still have time.
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. Some are even outraged because it could place their name and reputation in serious doubt.
We understand that we are at a critical moment not only in Europe but in our country as well where we have magnificent specimens and an immaculate reputation that should also move under the "Health"wing.
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 repetitive use of certain prominent individuals in the same pedigree may lead to unwanted consequences. History proves that Royalty owned diseases followed 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 cannot stop bleeding in the event of a cut, surgery, whelping,etc. Some specimens have bled to death.
Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) 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 appearedand we already have it amongst us, the next most important thing is to understand that a Carrier, even if it's mated with a Disease Free specimen, can produce Carriers at least in a statistical percentage of a 50%.
Again and again you will hear If I breed my Carrier with a Disease Free dog, its OK, the gen will disappear! Totally false but what is even more important is that without even knowing it, you are breeding Carrier dogs. The fact that new owners are not warned or told about this only adds to the problem.
According to Natalia Samaj-Kunze 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, if we assume the risk of mating 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, we must test the animal to know exactly what the status is, so we can act accordingly taking full responsibility for our actions.
If our breeding dogs and their parents are not tested, we are taking a major risk. Ignorance does not exclude responsibility.
However, we believe that the ethical and decent thing to do is that the owners of Carriers of any genetic disease must be honest and make them public so the rest of the Breeders can decide whether to use them or not, evaluating the risks entailed. The puppies born from these litters who are Carriers must be placed with people who must guarantee they will not reproduce. Only under these circumstances will these mates be acceptable and possible carried out by Responsible Breeders who know what they are talking about.
Profitability or searching for the best puppy, just maybe the best is a Carrier, must not rule over health.
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 bought these dogs. We must all be aware that "He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind, apart from the fact that this problem could touch all of us and the price to pay will be very dear.
Some people believe that all of this is only a big lie concocted by Laboratories to test more dogs and make more money.
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.
We are in favor of removing those animals who are Carriers from breeding programs but we respect the breeders that decide not doing so as long as their behavior is absolutely serious, responsible, trust worthy and totally transparent.
The only thing left to say is that here in Spain, as far as we know, two Carriers have already been mated under the owners total ignorance and a big question mark hovers over their offspring. The beginning of the end.
If honesty prevails and media coverage is avoided, we believe that the benefits will show. There are already Great Breeders who announce that their fantastic dogs or studs are Carriers and keep producing with caution, without any problem. It's very important to 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".
The health of our beloved breed is in danger and it's up to us to solve it.
As far as we are concerned, we honestly don't know what else we can do beyond writing this article and providing adequate information.
We propose and humbly request that Carriers should be made public so we can all know, evaluate the risks and choose mating or not with these Carriers. Most of us already know many important dogs who are Carriers and we think it is absolutely hypocrite to be whispering behind their Breeders backs instead of being clear and transparent with each other.
Ethics and honesty can only benefit all of us and we could control these diseases easily. All the information should be out in the open and not only available to some. Otherwise, rumors, some true and others not quite, will fly not helping anyone and, as usual, never helping our major concern, our dogs!!!
In short, pointing the finger or witch hunting will never eliminate the genetic diseases of our cherished breed, "The Kerry Blue Terrier". Education, honesty, responsibility and cooperation are the key.
Please do not turn a blind eye or ignore this grave problem. Each and every one of us must get seriously involved.
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.
By La Cadiera Kerry Blue Terrier - Traducción: L. de Luna
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