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March 2022 AGM Health Report


Titin Project – How to fix a broken heart.

The project has commenced looking in to the Titin gene, which is known to be involved in Human DCM and Dr Meurs has found a link in US Dobes, leading to this work to see if there is any significance in UK Dobes.  Even though if a link could be established, this would not be a panacea, but it may possibly lead to breeders avoiding putting together dogs with the faulty gene, which might potentially give some reduction in the incidence of DCM.

Sue Thorn is looking for Dobes with a diagnosis of DCM and also dogs of 5yrs of age plus, who have had clear results within the last 6 months.

Blood Biomarkers

Jo Dukes-McEwan’s full paper on blood biomarkers has been accepted for publication.  Some use of funding was agreed from the Breed Clubs to bolster funding arranged by Jo, to make the paper available to everyone.  The use of blood biomarkers which initially was a hypothesis, has been proved by Jo’s research as an adequate first line of testing, it is not been recommended as a gold standard test but first line test only and still requires Echo and Holter tests to confirm.

Embark Study

Embark Veterinary and Hill’s Pet Nutrition have partnered on the largest research project to date investigating genetic risk factors that may lead to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), with a view t develop a genetic test to identify the potential risk of developing DCM.  They report that up to 60% of Dobermanns are likely to be diagnosed with DCM in their lifetime.  Although the causes of DCM is unclear, there is evidence that genetics and nutrition are key to its development and progression.  There are 2 known genetic variants that may predispose Dobermanns to develop DCM.  Embark want to genetically test 1000+ dogs affected by DCM of breeds affected by DCM.  They are actively recruiting dogs who have been diagnosed with DCM through echocardiograph performed by a cardiologist.

Cruciate Ligament

RCVS - Canine Cruciate Registry.

Improving the quality of care for dogs with cranial cruciate ligament ruptures.  The aim is to build the evidence base to better understand which surgical techniques and implants improve patient outcomes.  The registry is managed by the RCVS. 
If your dog needs cruciate surgery, mention this project, you can only take part if your Vet refers you.

Wobblers CVS

Last June, Sue Thorn started liaising with Embark who are researching the gentic basis of wobblers.  They are open to include UK Dobes in their study.  They need dogs with a confirmed diagnosis of wobblers (usually from MRI) and then a buccal swab could be arranged.  If the dog is no longer with us, it may be possible to use stored blood or semen.

Paul Andre - Joint Health Coordinator

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