by Cairo1 on 29 February 2020 - 03:02
I don't post often but this topic is close to my heart! I recently imported a DM carrier from the CR. Whilst this was not ideal, I had room to move (had a number of suitable DM clear males) and I think it does not hurt to know something about the genetics of your dog. She was imported pregnant to a very nice male who was tested to be DM free - certified and I had a copy of the report.
Being one of only a handful of breeders doing regular, full breed DNA panels, you can only imagine my horror when 8 of the 9 puppies returned with +/+ (ie 'affected'). I was devastated. So, I had bloods drawn and sent them to the US for confirmation and of course, the results were the same.
This outcome made me scramble for answers and there were few to be had - other than the sire's results were incorrect. Subsequent testing showed him to be +/+ also, hence the large number of 'affected' puppies.
I did find some answers though. I was in touch with Dr Carol Beachat who owns the website Institute of Canine Biology (and FB page) and got some great information and access to some very good articles. The one thing that became my mantra was that "the results were neither diagnostic nor prognostic". She was utterly convinced of that and there is plenty of reading to support that. There is also a tool to make some calculations in relation to the inbreeding co-efficent and the likelihood of actually succumbing to the disease. In my case we calculated that the likelihood of them actually exhibiting the disease was less than 3% based on the COI. It was an interesting and emotionally draining exercise but I came out the other side felling less devastated and more pragmatic about the situation. I was, of course completely transparent about the results and I did not lose any sales but I did compensate my clients by way of a drastic price reduction.
This was my experience. I would still prefer to have DM free dogs. . . but no-one died as a result and to be brutally honest about it, it is a disease of older dogs. And it can ONLY be determined on autopsy - that is a fact. Institute of Canine Biology
by Hundmutter on 29 February 2020 - 07:02
Sorry Cairo, the ICB is a commercial teaching organisation, it isn't strictly a band of objective scientists seeking to 'peer review' the work of those testing for DM - so while it probably does say somewhere on the ICB website that DM can only truly be determined post mortem (perfectly correct), I don't think it's a very original source of comment on the topic. If you have read your way through all posts on this thred you will see nobody is contradicting that premise. Given that there is no way (yet ?) to confirm the diagnosis of DM in any breed, and certainly not in GSDs [where this whole trail started out as 'German Shepherd Syndrome'] and much as we would like that to become possible, what we are stuck with is firms making money out of promises they may not be able to justify.
If a lab. tells us it will take our money and run a test on our dog, it would be nice to be very sure that what is being tested for is accurate !
Some people who have had GSDs with 'early onset' DM in both the US and the UK (and maybe elsewhere) HAVE had them necropsied - and have had DM confirmed. So it is not exclusively a problem of the 'older' dog. And by the way, while I have come to expect some evidence of demylienisation in my elderly GSDs once they reach double figures, I don't think I'd be very happy about seeing loss of rear action in a dog of 7 or 8 years, whatever the cause proved to be. And it is clear that many 'middle aged' Shepherds - or younger - are being pts @ much younger, maybe 4 years or so younger, because DM is suspected; so I don't think you can say "Nobody died".