New measures for registering progeny of imported Keeshonds - Veterinary Practice
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New measures for registering progeny of imported Keeshonds

New restrictions will come into effect as of 1 January 2021

Following consultation with the Keeshond Breed Health Coordinator and breed clubs, it has been agreed that all imported Keeshonds, or overseas dogs being used in a UK breeding programme (including AI), must be DNA tested for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) before registration of their progeny is accepted. Similarly, any litters produced from AI must be tested prior to registration – to avoid wasting of semen samples from deceased dogs and possible loss of useful genes. This restriction will come into effect as of 1 January 2021.

PHPT results from an inappropriate and excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH) into the blood. As a result of this, calcium levels rise above normal levels, which if undetected, can lead to too much calcium within the body, causing clinical signs such as muscle weakness, tiredness, excessive urination and/or thirst, lower urinary tract problems, weight loss, and vomiting. In the majority of affected animals, clinical signs are not evident until later in life, often after the point at which a dog would be used for breeding.

Whilst this condition is rare in the UK breed population, it is acknowledged that untested imported dogs may have the potential to rapidly reintroduce disease. Given the very small global population size of this breed, making use of breeding animals from a range of countries is essential in an attempt to conserve genetic diversity.

Breed Health Coordinator, Anji Marfleet, commented: “The breed are excited that the proposal has been accepted, which will lessen the risk of untested dogs bringing PHPT into the UK population. It will also benefit breeders to raise the profile of health testing, and in particular awareness for this condition. The Keeshond is a small breed so the ability to use dogs from overseas, but also be aware of their hereditary status, will ensure we can maintain the gene pool for our breed and continue to breed healthy dogs. The breed are also keen to monitor and research PHPT further in the UK population, and will continue to engage in research opportunities surrounding this disease.”

Details about other diseases, and which test providers The Kennel Club is able to record results from, and those that will send results direct to The Kennel Club, can be found online.

Dr Tom Lewis, Genetics and Research Manager at The Kennel Club, said: “The Kennel Club constantly reviews DNA testing schemes in conjunction with breed clubs to ensure that breeders are supported with resources which help them to make responsible breeding decisions. We work alongside breed clubs and breed health coordinators in a collaborative effort to improve the health of pedigree dogs and are happy to accommodate a breed’s request to tailor restrictions for a DNA test, for breeds which fit a number of suitable criteria. A formal request from the breed health coordinator or a majority request from the breed clubs is normally required to do this.”

Test results will be added to the dog’s registration details which will trigger the publication of the result in the next available Breed Records Supplement, and also on the Health Test Results Finder on The Kennel Club website.

Results for dogs already tested can also be recorded, but owners will need to submit copies of the DNA certificates themselves. DNA test certificates should be scanned and emailed to health.results@thekennelclub.org.uk.

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