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Stargardt’s disease in Labrador retrievers – with Dr Katy Evans

Current information regarding Stargardt’s testing in Labrador Retrievers. Should dogs be rejected based on genotype? What is your selection strategy?

Katy Evans qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Bristol in 2001.  After almost 7 years of clinical work, she undertook a Postgraduate Studentship in Small Animal Epidemiology at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, 2007-2010, funded by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.  This included working with survey data to investigate patterns of disease in particular dog breeds, while gaining an MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health from the Royal Veterinary College, London. 

Katy then took up a PhD Studentship, based at the Animal Health Trust, registered with the University of Nottingham and part funded by Guide Dogs UK.  This entailed working with Guide Dogs’ historical health and behavioral data to investigate the potential for estimated breeding values (EBVs) for traits of interest, to improve the accuracy of selection decisions.  In January 2015 she successfully defended her thesis, entitled ‘Genetic evaluation of guide dogs in the UK’.  She spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nottingham, working to turn the findings of her PhD into workable tools for Guide Dogs UK.  Two years at the Kennel Club in London as Health Research Manager followed, with the key focus of Katy’s time there being getting the ‘Breed Health and Conservation Plans’ project off the ground. 

In January 2019, Katy joined The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, as the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics, overseeing the breeding program at the oldest still existing guide dog school in the world.  She has a career change Golden Retriever who decided that being a guide dog was not for her, and a young Border Collie who should never be allowed to guide anybody anywhere!

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