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Prevalence of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy SOD-1 Mutation in Working Shepherd Dogs across Australia and New Zealand – Presented by Jayne McGhie

Canine degenerative myelopathy (CDM) is a progressive degenerative, inevitably fatal neurologic disease in dogs.  Well recognised in German shepherd dogs, CDM contributes to the loss of working dogs from service due to spinal disease.   Because the average age of onset of clinical signs in afflicted dogs is 8-9 years, natural selection against breeding with dogs carrying the mutation does not occur.  A genetic test for the linked gene mutation SOD1:C.118G>A is available.  This study identified the prevalence of the SOD1:C.118G>A gene mutation in police and military working dogs within Australia and New Zealand (a relatively genetically isolated population).  606 dogs: 469 German shepherds, 137 malinois were tested on a custom genetic test panel.  The overall prevalence of the ‘A’ allele was 21.7% with 32% of dogs being heterozygous carriers (GA) and 6% of dogs homozygous affected (AA).  Forty-seven percent of German shepherds carried the mutant allele (39% heterozygous; 8% homozygous affected) compared with 6% of malinois (6% heterozygous; 0% homozygous affected).  This cohort of working dogs showed a significantly lower prevalence of homozygous affected dogs than recorded in UK and USA populations, and significantly more carrier dogs than reported in USA populations

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