Statement on PRA in Bearded Collies 13th April 2019

In light of the recent highlighting of cases of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Bearded Collies the JBLC has today considered all the evidence. This includes:

This does not mean we do not have the disease but we cannot find any evidence for it in recent years in the UK. The Animal Health Trust (AHT) have no validated test for PRA in Bearded Collies. They recognise 35 different mutations causing the disease to date and there are often multiple mutations present in a breed. For instance in Tibetan Spaniels PRA3 is seen and represents 66% of cases but in the others the mutation is not known. In Tibetan terriers PRA3 and RCD4 account for over 50% of cases. So even if the prcd mutation is of significance in the Bearded Collie it does not necessarily represent all cases and therefore it would be very difficult at this stage of knowledge to predict the inheritance mode of the disease in the Bearded Collie.

The JBLC would therefore continue to encourage all owners to have their dogs BVA/KC eye tested, which has been in the breed recommendations for some time. This applies especially to the veteran dogs as in many breeds PRA is of later onset (5 years). If positive PRA dogs are found and the owners contact us, we can then discuss with the AHT sequencing the DNA of these dogs, but in light of the complexity of the disease in other breeds it may need several cases to establish the true picture. It is important to approach this in a scientific manner as given our low registration numbers we do not want to eliminate dogs unnecessarily from the gene pool.


JBLC UPDATE Spring 2019

The JBLC has been working hard over the past twelve months on various initiatives >>> READ MORE>>>


Bearded Collie Health Survey 2018

A big thank you to everyone
who filled in the Breed Health Survey in February 2018 – it was a fabulous response and gave us plenty of data with a total of 1132 dogs entered. Overall the picture is an encouraging one with many Bearded Collies living on into old age with minimal problems but it also gives us data on areas where we do have problems. Encouraging yearly participation will enable us to monitor these problems and act accordingly and also focus in which areas we use any resources available to us. I have attached a summary of the data presented.

Bearded Collie Health Survey 2018 >>


The Addisons research

In 2016 the JBLC was approached by Professor Catchpole to help with funding for a project into autoantibodies in Canine Addisons, to see whether they can be used as part of diagnostic testing and potentially to identify dogs that have an autoimmune reaction, before they develop clinical signs. Bearded Collies were to be one of the breeds focused on in this research.

Funding was also sought from the KC Charitable Trust who donated £25,000 to the project with the proviso that the remaining £5000 required was raised by the JBLC.

We decided to try and raise the funds by setting up a Justgiving page. Each of the six Bearded Collie Clubs made a donation resulting in £1000 to start the ball rolling and together with generous donations of £1000 each from the Pointer Club, Southern Finnish Lapphund Club and Standard Poodle Club, whose breeds were also included in the research, plus money from individual donors, we raised over £10,000

The research commenced in late 2016, and members of the Beardie community and the other breeds, who owned dogs affected by Addisons, generously sent blood samples to Prof Catchpole for the project which was completed in late 2017.

In addition to the Addisons research Professor Catchpole provided a sample of DNA from an Addisonian Beardie for the KC/AHT Genome project. This, and the DNA from a healthy Bearded Collie, has been sequenced and the resulting data shared with Professor Catchpole for future research.

Unfortunately there was only one Bearded Collie of the 15 tested that demonstrated autoantibody reactivity against P450scc. It is possible that there are breed differences in which adrenal autoantigens drive the autoimmune response and these were not represented for this breed with the panel selected. It is possible that results of screening for autoantibodies against 21-OH, will yield more definitive results. Although this might appear a little disappointing, all knowledge is part of the bigger picture and further research can now be planned.

The JBLC are very grateful to the Clubs mentioned above and to all those individuals who donated money and/or blood samples for this research, their generosity will help to further our knowledge of this complex disease.

Professor Catchpole has kindly written a short summary of the work completed so far.

Summary from Prof Catchpole >>

Abstract of the paper published by the researcher >>


Bearded Collie Breed Strategy - Breed Community Development.
As part of the Breed Strategy and following the request from breeders to produce a checklist with guidance for the exchange of health information between breeders and stud dog owners when planning a mating the JBLC has produced the following: a checklist as to the type of questions that breeders can ask potential stud dog owners and a longer article which expands on the checklist and covers other points to consider when choosing a stud dog

Stud dog checklist >>

Stud dog checklist summary >>

Bearded Collie Breed Strategy >>

Bearded Collie Annual Health Survey 2018 >>

Summary of meeting 29.7.17 >>

Sire usage table >>


Give a Dog a Genome (GDG) Project

An exciting project to map the genome of 50 breeds of dog, the Give a Dog a Genome (GDG) project, has been launched by the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust. The project will radically increase our understanding of the canine genome and enhance our understanding of which changes in DNA sequence affect dog health and which are benign or neutral. It will have profound effects on our ability to identify mutations which cause inherited diseases, and the rate at which new DNA tests can be developed as tools for breeders.

The cost of sequencing each genome is £2,000. The AHT is asking owners, breeders and breed clubs for each breed taking part in the project to contribute £1,000 which will be matched by equivalent funding from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. Participation in the project is on a first-come, first-served basis, and as we are keen for Beardies to be one of the 50 breeds included in the project to help us in future work into genetic diseases, Elizabeth Ayrton has already registered an interest in the project on behalf of the breed - see the reply below from Cathryn Mellersh.

Full details of the project are available on the GDG project website.

UPDATE - The AHT have now offered our Breed a place on the Project and the JBLC and Breed Clubs are raising funds to ensure the payment is made by early March 2016 so Bearded Collies are included.

SEROLOGY PROJECT
There is also an exciting project by Prof Brian Catchpole to develop an effective serology test for autoantibodies for Addison's disease. As well as being used for diagnostic purposes, the test should be able to pick up autoantibodies in dogs before they have developed the disease so could be a screening tool for breeders to use before breeding from their dogs. It would be wonderful to support this project too, but again we need to raise funds.

If anyone has any suggestions - or spare cash - please get in touch with your Breed Club or the JBLC.