Tag archives: ataxia

Degenerative Myelopathy and Centronuclear Myopathy in the Labrador Retriever

Degenerative Myelopathy and Centronuclear Myopathy in the Labrador Retriever

It’s not hard to love a Labrador retriever. Their outgoing, family friendly personality, great rapport with children, receptiveness to training, and their ability to hunt both waterfowl and upland game have made them a highly desirable and well-loved breed. This popularity is reflected by their place at the top of the American Kennel Club’s registration statistics for the past 24 consecutive years.

When adopting or purchasing a new canine family member or hunting companion, we would all like to know that our enormous investments in love, time, and money will see a sizable return. For a family dog, we’d like to know that they will be healthy and live as long as possible. For a hunting or working dog, in addition to a long life, we’d also like to know they will be able to have a long, healthy career performing the specific task for which we’ve prepared them. Though we could never eliminate or predict all disease risks for our dogs, genetic testing technologies have made elimination and prediction of some inherited diseases easier than ever before.

This blog is the first of a four part blog series examining preventable inherited diseases of America’s favorite dog, the Labrador retriever. What ...

Polyneuropathy: A Preventable Inherited Disease of the Greyhound

Polyneuropathy: A Preventable Inherited Disease of the Greyhound

From their ancient Egyptian roots depicted in carvings of their predecessors, the speed and agility of the greyhound has long fascinated humans who found great potential in the breed as hunting companions, and much later, as fantastic family dogs. Like other members of the large grouping of dog breeds known as sighthounds, it was obvious to their ancient human handlers that the greyhound’s exceptional athletic skill, lean muscular body, and keen vision could be invaluable for hunting both large and small game. While it is no longer as common for greyhounds to be used for hunting, their docile temperament outside of the hunt contributed to an easy transition to the more domestic lifestyle most greyhounds now live. Though able to run 40 miles per hour when properly conditioned, with regular exercise the greyhound is just as content taking it easy with their human family members. Despite their majestic appearance and impressive athletic attributes, like other purebred dogs, greyhounds are known to inherit some genetic diseases that may keep this talented runner at the starting block. One such disease, known as greyhound polyneuropathy (GP), is caused by a mutation in the NDRG1 gene.

GP is a severe, progressive neurological disease similar ...

How prevalent is Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in the dog?

How prevalent is Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis in the dog?

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a group of inherited mammalian diseases characterized by abnormal accumulations of a metabolic byproduct known as lipofuscin in nerve cells and various organs of the body.  The accumulation of lipofuscin eventually leads to progressive nerve cell dysfunction and severe neurological symptoms including behavioral changes, balance issues, muscle atrophy, uncoordinated movement, blindness, head tremors and seizures.  Other organ systems can also be affected to various degrees depending on the severity of lipofuscin build up.  Most dogs will die due the disease or are euthanized when neurologic problems progress to the point of preventing normal daily activities.  While most types of NCL begin to cause clinical signs around 1 to 2 years of age in dogs, the age of onset and speed of progression vary significantly upon the type of NCL.  Variable presentation and progression among NCL types is expected given that multiple genes can cause this clinical condition.

Unfortunately, details about disease incidence and prevalence within a breed are often difficult to obtain including NCL.  Without going into an in-depth discussion about statistics, among other conditions, in order to estimate incidence and prevalence of disease for an entire population, individuals ...