DNA Testing and the German Wirehaired Pointer
DNA Testing allows breeders to minimise the risk of producing disease affected puppies. As of March 2009, there is just one DNA test actually available for German Wirehaired Pointer specific conditions and that is for von Willebrands Disease. Breeders can access this through Laboklin Laboratory and the current price is £65.96. Their contact details are:
Laboklin (UK) 61 Mouldsworth Avenue, Manchester, M20 1GG, Tel: 0161 282 3066.
We strongly encourage the dog owners to perform the DNA testing in order to avoid the possible problems in the future. The price may not be high when we consider that we have a possibility to identify early the potential problems of your dog.
Idiopathic Epilepsy Research
Sadly epilepsy is reported in the breed. However there is an extensive research project underway at the Animal Health Trust to develop a DNA test for this nasty condition.
There are three types of GWP that can valuably contribute to this research:
- Any GWP that has been diagnosed as affected with idiopathic epilepsy
- Their close relatives such as siblings, parents and grandparents, nieces and nephews etc.
- Older GWPs – 8 years and over – who are NOT affected. They do not need to be related to affected dogs. This group acts as a control group.
The researchers require mouth swabs taken from the inside of the dog’s cheeks. You can get swab kits free of charge from the Animal Health Trust or by telephone on 01638 555 621. These kits are needed for the research and can greatly help your dog!
There is no fee required for this – it is currently a free service because it is part of a major study into epilepsy. The swabs do not harm the dogs.
Once a test has been developed breeders will be able to ascertain whether or not their lines are clear of epilepsy. It may happen that the first test does not show anything, however, it there is even the smallest possibility for a problem, we will usually find something unusual at the initial test.
For many breeders the ‘promise’ of the DNA test has been dangling in front of them for too long without any real breakthrough so a degree of skepticism is forgivable. However please think about this:
- The LUPA project is funding research into canine disease to the tune of £50 Million
- Computer modelling programmes are enabling the research scientists to locate the relevant sections of DNA faster than ever before
- The speed with which the DNA tests are coming on stream is quickening
- The Kennel Club has just set up with the AHT a Canine Genetics Centre with more resources than ever.
To find out more about how dogs are contributing to DNA Tests that will ultimately benefit us humans visit the LUPA website.
The more we can learn about the health status of today’s German Wirehaired Pointer population, the more we can guarantee the long-term future of the breed.