German Shepherd Dog > EPI Genetics Question (6 replies)
EPI Genetics Question
by Dane on 25 January 2011 - 00:12
I have a question(s) that I hope the breeding community out there can shed some expertise on.
I have a puppy that I produced that has been diagnosed with EPI at 6 months of age. I didn't find out about the diagnosis until lately and the puppy is now over 3 years old. I kept back two puppies from the same litter, a male and a female. Both of my puppies that I kept back have produced litters which were planned (Hips, elbows done, etc - this thread isn't about those things). Anyway, the puppies I kept back have both had litters. The male's litter are 8 months old and the females litter is 3 months old. So far none of the puppies from either of these two have come down with EPI. I know it's too early to tell in some cases. My question is this - Would you remove them both from your breeding program?
My thoughts are this.... even though there is a chance that they are carriers of the EPI gene (going on the presumption that the disease is autosomal recessive) do I scrap them and go for new lines where god knows what I could end up with in the way of genetic diseases? We all know many breeders are mum when it comes to what is in their lines so I could end up with even worse than I have? I know I have to be extremely careful who I breed them to but again, that's providing who I am breeding them to is proven to be EPI free. How am I sure of that anyway? We all know there is no genetic test yet for the EPI genes. If there were lots of us would be using it and the disease could be close to eradicated. Until that time it feels like every dog is a potential carrier of this disease - just like other genetic diseases. What are your thoughts on this? Let's please try to keep it civil.
by Renofan2 on 25 January 2011 - 01:50
|Hi Dane: I don't know if it has been determined if you only need one carrier, but can share something I learned a few years back. I was questioning vet regarding epi as he had an epi dog and Molly was diagnosed with EPI. We knew of one female who whelped 3 different litters by 3 seperate males. In each litter she produced at least one epi puppy and in the second litter 2 epi pups. So either her being a carrier was enough or each of the males she was bred too were also carriers. In addition, one of her pups was bred and produced several pups with epi. |
Not sure if this is the norm as my vet could not find any breeders willing to document the number of epi dogs they produced.
If anyone else has any information regarding this subject, I would be interested in learning more.
Good luck with your decision. I can tell you from being an owner of an epi dog, it is expensive and heart breaking at times. Some dogs respond very quickly to enzymes and are fine. My dog has had instances where she does not respond to treatment. This past summer she lost so much weight that her organs started to fail. I truly believe if I had not taken her to a specialist, that she would not be with me today.
by BlackthornGSD on 25 January 2011 - 02:09
|The inheritance of EPI is not clear. In Germany, 2 affected dogs were bred together, with the expectation that all of their puppies would have the disease. Instead, none of them did. |
Here's more info:
From the Research page on that site:
by Mysticwind on 25 January 2011 - 03:50
|Have you had TLIs done on your dogs to see if they were anywhere near the borderline? I've had two EPI dogs and fostered a 3rd some years ago. The normal range is something like 5-25. If your dogs were to test close to 5 then I would keep testing them to see if their numbers change. If they have really high values you may not really be "safe" but it would support breeding them still. Really hard to say how it is inherited. Not many GSD breeders do TLI testing as part of their usual pre breeding testing. |
by GSDNewbie on 25 January 2011 - 04:15
|There is conflicting info on EPI. I had a female pup with a severe degree of epi five years ago. I had made it known online of the issues and several littermate owners contacted me privatly saying they to had dogs with epi. I ended up euthing this female at 13 months old. She had a SEVERE case of it. |
In the studies I have done during her life and after I am noticing that many people are having issues with gsd puppies not having their nutricional needs met or are not absorbing. They are eating feces or always acting starving and or nervous issues and temperament issues and eating things they should not. I wonder if some exibit epi as pups get diet changes and or nutrient absorbers given them that then go on leading healthy normal lives if done before the age that there enzyme functions are permenantly affected. My female was fed an excellent grain free kibble diet at first then she was on raw after diagnosed with epi. After diagnosed she was given meds and supplemented with fresh slaughtered cow pancreas daily and anything else I could try to find to save her. Perhaps the ones that respond early are lesser cases and just seemed resolved for the rest of their lives. This female was bred from VA lines and multiple owners sought me out from the litter. The bitch died in whelp on her first litter so no idea if her lines or herself would have had epi issues later. Personally I do believe the lines are riddled with it and not all that have it are being recognised as such or it is misdiagnosed as just behavioral issues. The sire was sold but I did not follow his pups from there on to try find out if it was still happening. One person told me it has to be carried from both sides, however I never found any such documentation anywhere supporting that info.
by Abby Normal on 25 January 2011 - 11:46
|If this is the same study, two puppies did develop PAA which is a major cause of EPI:|
Results from a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the March/April 2010 issue and performed at the University of Helsinki in Finland cast doubt on that theory. Researchers mated two German Shepherd Dogs with EPI and tracked the litter of six puppies throughout their lives. If EPI was indeed an autosomal recessive condition, all offspring of the two affected dogs would be affected with the disease. During the 12-year study, only two of the six puppies developed PAA. The most common cause of EPI in dogs is pancreatic acinar atrophy (PAA). But it is still inconclusive, and research is ongoing.
Some dogs do not develop the disease until they are well into maturity, I have known two dogs one of 5yrs and one of 7yrs to develop the disease, so great care needs to be taken not to assume a dog that seems unaffected at 3 or 4 is actually free from the disease.
IMO dogs with EPI should most definitely not be bred from, and the experts studying the cause of the disease also recommend NOT to breed:- Until then, Clark, Steiner and Williams advise against breeding dogs with EPI or repeating matings that produced affected dogs. “The only way to decrease prevalence of the disease is by not breeding affected dogs,” Steiner says.
It is a dreadful disease and not worth risking sending more affecteds/carriers (for want of a better description, but you know what I mean) into the gene pool, not to mention the suffering caused to owner and dog. Research into the disease is ongoing, but doesn't appear as if it will be as simple as autosomal recessive unfortunately.
Definitely - don't breed.
by LynOD on 25 January 2011 - 19:27
|I have an EPI dog diagnosed at 15 mos of age. It is a horrible disease very expensive to treat. She is a wonderful dog with a slew of other health problems as well. This is not a disease that should be passed on, if there is a chance the dogs should not be bred.|