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  #11  
Old 07-29-2012, 06:32 PM
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The tests can be wonderful but just like with the PRA test developed for ESS, there's going to be some room for error and learning.

My Bailey tested genetically affected (meaning, she has two copies of the gene) 5 years ago. She had a CERF exam for the first time since 8 weeks old that same year. Her CERF showed no signs of PRA. She also had CERFs in 2008, 2010, and 2011. All three of those showed that she was still unafflicted with the disease. Her next CERF is in two weeks so I guess we'll see what it shows then.

The dog may be genotypically affected with a disease, but nobody knows when (or if) the dog will actually become phenotypically afflicted. The most valuable information we've actually gotten from this test is how old the dogs are when they start to show signs (or if they even do).
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  #12  
Old 07-29-2012, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
Keep in mind too that the degenerative myelopathy test isn't as straightforward as, say, the MDR1 test. It's difficult to really interpret how significant the results are. Aleron is correct that testing genetically positive doesn't necessarily correlate with a dog ever showing signs of DM. A lot of people had high hopes for that test, but unfortunately it hasn't yet quite panned out. It's not even really all that useful diagnostically.

I wondered if that was another issue. When the Ataxia test finally came about for AmStafs, it was discovered that there were many dogs genetically afflicted that were non-symptomatic. I assume that this is the case with the DM test rather than dogs testing negative and then developing it.

Out of curiosity, is it more diagnostically accurate in other breeds? Are other breeds more likely to develop symptoms if they are genetically afflicted?
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:54 PM
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I wondered if that was another issue. When the Ataxia test finally came about for AmStafs, it was discovered that there were many dogs genetically afflicted that were non-symptomatic. I assume that this is the case with the DM test rather than dogs testing negative and then developing it.
Yes exactly. A dog who tests as genetically positive may never develop any symptoms. It's useful to rule OUT degenerative myelopathy - say, in a dog with appropriate symptoms, a negative/negative test is useful to say that's NOT the cause. But it's not as simple as positive = affected, negative = unaffected. Which is unfortunate, that's the Goldilocks everyone would like to have.

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Out of curiosity, is it more diagnostically accurate in other breeds? Are other breeds more likely to develop symptoms if they are genetically afflicted?
As far as I know, no, although it's been awhile since I've looked into it. For awhile, the lab that developed the test was testing any dog for free so they must have data on all sorts of different breeds and I'm sure they would share any breed related information they had.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by stafinois View Post
I wondered if that was another issue. When the Ataxia test finally came about for AmStafs, it was discovered that there were many dogs genetically affected that were non-symptomatic. I assume that this is the case with the DM test rather than dogs testing negative and then developing it.

Out of curiosity, is it more diagnostically accurate in other breeds? Are other breeds more likely to develop symptoms if they are genetically affected?
I typed out a post about affected vs afflicted terminology and was going to link to a site I like but I can't find it so now I'm doubting whether it's just a "springer PRA" difference or whether the difference I tried to explain below is actually true. Sassafrass?!

Just because I saw it... afflicted refers to phenotypically displaying the disease (PRA blindness, DM paralysis, etc) whereas affected refers to the genotype (genes transmitted from parent to offspring).
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  #15  
Old 07-29-2012, 09:06 PM
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Honestly, this is lazy and imprecise but in everyday conversation I tend to use them interchangeably. *blush*

But technically your terminology is correct, as I understand it.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:41 PM
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In AmStafs the responsible breeders are taking care to breed the carriers to clears to ensure no pups are born with two copies of the ataxia gene. In theory, one could breed a dog that is genetically positive for ataxia to a clear, get a litter of carriers, breed those to clears, then keep the clears and be able to linebreed on the original ataxic dog with no fear of producing the disease.

How prevalent is DM in Boxers? Is it at the point were clear dogs are uncommon?
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:58 AM
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A friend of mine had 4 Boxers die before the age of 8. Two of cancer, one of heart failure, and the other one from an ischemic bowel. One day he was fine, the next, he had to be put down. A Boxer mix I would think about taking, but a purebred? No way. The breeders need to rethink what they are doing and to stop breeding dogs with known issues.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:39 AM
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The breeders need to rethink what they are doing and to stop breeding dogs with known issues.
It's not really as easy as that when problems are wide spread throughout the breed.
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  #19  
Old 07-30-2012, 08:29 AM
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=The breeders need to rethink what they are doing and to stop breeding dogs with known issues.
Well when cancer doesn't appear until say 7-8 years old, and most dogs are bred (for their own health and sake) between 2-6, things get a little complicated. You can't run a test for the "cancer gene" and as we've discussed, even things you CAN test for can be so widespread that to eliminate every dog with said gene would leave with you a whole other host of problems from such a small gene pool.

I would venture a guess that even the best Boxer breeders (who place a heavy emphasis on health) have produced and will continue to produce, dogs that die of cancer.
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