A GENETIC TEST FOR COLLIE EYE ANOMALY
New Rules Apply
The Society has introduced a new rule from 1st June 2013 that applies to the testing of dogs before pup registration. This relates to Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), a hereditary disease that affects the dog’s vision. The potential for improved control of the disease through better breeding information will benefit the Border Collie.
As explained in the March/April 2013 edition of ISN, the Society would like to help breeders reduce, and even eradicate, the incidence of the disease for the breed’s health. A veterinary eye examination of an individual dog will never tell you whether it carries the potential for the disease whereas the DNA blood test will.
Is it compulsory?
Yes, it is compulsory for all breeding dogs to have been DNA CEA tested before any progeny may be registered. All the current eye examinations (ophthalmic) are recommended and breeders should carry on with these. The new rules will let owners breed pups from parents with a known CEA condition i.e. Normal, Carrier or Affected.
Why won’t the Society accept a CEA inherited status?
At the current time we are not accepting an inherited CEA status, we require each dog to have a test in its own right. We know that whilst the vast majority of matings are carefully planned, there are occasions when accidental matings occur and owners are not always aware that this has happened.
Are the new rules right and fair for everyone?
In looking at the amount of genetic testing required, a balance was struck between setting rules for the best breeding practice and helping members accept new ideas and options. The cost implications of compulsion were also taken into account, since this might lead to a disinclination for registration and thus complete loss of control.
How will this new rule help Breeders?
By the Society recording all this data on CEA and the instances of Normal, Carrier and Affected, we will have a very representative sample of CEA and the breed, and this will provide reliable data for research into this disease and importantly provide breeders with specific information for better management of CEA going forward. In addition as a Society it is important that we educate members not to avoid dogs with a Carrier status – they have many excellent working dog traits which must be continued within the breed.
Are you saying it is OK to breed from Carrier dogs?
Definitely yes, under controlled conditions. Following discussion with the experts in genetics, it was recognised that controlled breeding from CEA Carrier dogs could be of benefit to the genetic strength of the breed while ultimately permitting eradication of the atypical CEA gene. Most all animal geneticists will point out that it is very bad for a breed’s health to ‘ban’ a single gene characteristic as this can easily lead to unforeseen consequences. Normally, the Society will not accept pup registration where one of the parents is an Affected but, if the dog is of exceptional merit, there can be an appeal to the Stud Book Committee for specific permission.
Why do you still recommend an ophthalmic examination if a DNA test has been done?
The complication comes in predicting the offspring when the three conditions are interbred. The following diagram explains the average outcomes.
How do I get a test done?
If your vet submits the test on line then a further 5% discount will be applied.
To take advantage of the discount visit the OptiGgen website for the following information:
Submitting a Test
After your vet has taken the blood sample from your dog he/she should then complete the online submission form
Information for your vet - Tips for a successful online submission
If your vet is unable to submit the test online you can still receive a 20% discount by using the ‘Test Request Form’
A discount can also be obtained for testing the progeny of Normal to Normal matings. Please download and print off the form here for submitting with your dog’s blood sample. Note: this test cannot be submitted online.
Arrangements have been made for OptiGen to forward the test results directly to the Society on a quarterly basis.
Discounts are available until the end of 2013
Will the ISDS publish results?
The ISDS is still considering whether to publish DNA CEA results. Although this may be helpful to some people seeking a mating partner for their dog, the emphasis for seeking matches should be on other characteristics. Within a short time, it should be common knowledge within an area if a good dog or bitch is DNA normal. Breeders can advertise the fact in the magazine if they so wish. The ISDS will not try to organise collective blood sampling sessions but will assist in the free advertising of any sessions organised by any local group.
Is this rule change really going to help?
The difficulty until now is that the ophthalmic test system is probably just holding the CEA Carrier incidence in the ISDS dog population at around 25% - it would possibly have stayed at that figure for ever. But now, the DNA test system undoubtedly gives any breeder the opportunity to eradicate the CEA gene from their bloodstock and without sacrificing the good line characteristics and this has to be good for the healthy development of the Border Collie.