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Combined 2020 & 2021 AGM Health Report



Proposed Changes to the ABS Rules

Dogs are to be tested a minimum of once prior to being used for breeding, this will now be a recommendation rather than a requirement.



A research company called Embark, are researching the genetic basis of Wobblers. They are open to including UK Dobermanns in their study. They are looking for dogs with a confirmed diagnosis (usually requiring the MRI scan) and then arrangements can be made for a saliva swab.  Sue Thorn would arrange for bulk kits from Embark and supply them to our owners. If the dogs are no longer with us, but there is a stored blood or semen sample, this may also be usable.



The two year limit to hereditary clear status for genetic diseases (including vWD) has been deferred until 2023.  The KC announced they will limit the assignment of hereditary clear status of registered dogs to 2 generations.  This will come into force in January 2023.  This was brought in to safeguard against the impact that dogs with an incorrect hereditary clear status could have on health issues within the breed.  This is unless the status can be confirmed by DNA parentage profiling that is recorded by the KC.



All studies and research including the How to Fix a Broken Heart project with Dr Connolly at the RVC has been impacted by Covid.  This study was looking into the potential for cardiac stem cells from healthy dogs to be injected into dogs with DCM to reverse the symptoms.  There was also a project to assess any link between a gene known as Titin and DCM.  (The Titin gene was identified following research into the PDK4 gene in America.) They will on recommencing be looking for dogs with confirmed DCM and dogs over 5 years of age recently tested clear by echo and holter monitoring.

The preliminary results of Jo Dukes-McEwan’s research into the use of blood bio-markers for initial DCM testing, concluded that bio-markers are an effective first test, provided that lower thresholds are used, above which echo and holter are carried out.  Results above the cut off levels do not necessarily mean that the dog has DCM, but it does mean additional testing is indicated by echo and holter.  The research shows that when the 2 bio-markers tests are used together, cTnl and NTproBNP, the results are thought to be 90% effective against those where echo and holter testing has been done.



The KC has the Dobermann longevity at 8 years, Sue Thorn’s database is currently showing longevity at 9.2 years.  Almost half of her records show almost half have died before their 9th birthday and 1 in 7 dogs died before their 6th birthday.


ABS Change as voted by the 10 breed clubs

That bitches should not be bred from before the age of 2 years. (This can only be added on the basis of evidence of harm and the KC report there is no evidence to support this)

That eye testing should be carried out before breeding and at the age of 8 years.(The KC were requiring every dog to be tested within 12 months of every mating for the ABS) The recommendation may be for testing should be carried out before breeding.

All of the breed clubs have also added to their Code of Ethics that owners must ensure vWD and other test results are entered onto the dogs records at the KC.

Paul Andre - Joint Health Coordinator

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