Genetic Testing Information

The SDCA Health & Genetics Committee has published two position statements on genetic testing, the first being an introduction to genetic testing and the second on Factor VII. It appears that we will have more genetic tests sooner rather than later (YAY!), so it is imperative that all breeders understand how to use these tests and owners understand how they are used so we can all work together to eliminate these disease-causing variants without reducing the breed’s gene pool.

You can read these position statements here. These position statements can also be found on the SDCA’s main web site.

Photo of Deerhounds by Andrea Moulas

by John Dillberger, DVM

The liver produces bile acids and secretes them into bile, which is stored in the gallbladder.  When the dog eats a meal and the food begins to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine, the gallbladder expels some bile into the upper small intestine, where it mixes with the food.  The bile acids help dissolve fats and fat soluble vitamins so they can be absorbed.  The bile acids are absorbed, too.  Read more

Photo Of Seci the Deerhound playing with snake by Cornelia Mosobauer

The SDCA Health and Genetics Committee recommends that the following health tests be done on Deerhounds:

Breeding Stock:

Echocardiogram: Inherited heart defects are rare in Deerhounds, but they do occur. It is recommended that every Deerhound used for breeding should have a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) to make sure the dog is free from subaortic stenosis, septal defects, and other heart defects. Dogs with heart defects should not be bred, and the breeding that produced a heart defect should not be repeated. A cardiac ultrasound will also determine whether dilated cardiomyopathy or other heart disease is present at the time of the test.

Factor VII: The Factor VII status of all breeding stock should be known. Clear Deerhounds can be bred to any Deerhound. Carrier or affected dogs should only be bred to clear dogs. Owners of affected bitches should discuss with their veterinarian possible complications that could arise from breeding an affected bitch.

Portosystemic (liver) shunt: All breeding stock should be checked for a liver shunt with a bile acid test. If the dog wasn’t tested as a puppy, then a test should be run before breeding. Click here for more information on liver shunt testing.

Puppies:

Factor VII: Breeders should be able to give puppy buyers information on whether or not their puppy has the potential to be affected with this condition.

Portosystemic shunt: Breeders should screen all of their puppies for liver shunt using a bile acid test before they go to their new homes. Click here for more information on liver shunt testing.

Cardiac auscultation: All puppies’ hearts should be listened to by a veterinarian, using a stethoscope, to check for heart defects before they go to their new homes.

More information on all of these health problems may be found on the “Health Issues” pages of this web site.

February 2014

Testing Information

Factor VII:

The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) maintains a list of labs that run DNA test for Factor VII in Deerhounds. Just select our breed and “Factor VII Deficiency” in the drop-down menus.

Bile-acid Testing:

Many labs do bile acid testing, so you can use any lab that runs the test unless you want to get CHIC certification (not to be confused with our CHIC DNA bank—they are two completely separate things) on your dogs. If you want to get CHIC numbers, bile-acid test results from IDEXX, Antech, and veterinary college laboratories will be accepted.  Please note that only tests done by one of these laboratories will be accepted.  Results from in-house testing done at private veterinary clinics, even if run using equipment and/or kits from IDEXX, will not be accepted.

More information on the Deerhound CHIC program can be found here.

Don’t forget: there is a promising new, non-surgical procedure to close shunts.

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the November/December 2004 Claymore

Please note: Since this article was published in 2004, it is now recommended that every Deerhound be screened for a liver shunt with a bile acid test. This test should ideally be conducted by breeders before puppies go to their new homes. Many labs do bile-acid testing; for more information on liver shunts and testing, go here.

Some time ago, a Deerhound owner and breeder sent me a letter asking that I devote a column to liver shunts. One of her pups had a liver shunt, and she hoped I could discuss not only the nature of disorder but also its symptoms, how to test for it, and what treatment was available. As it happens, her problem is not an isolated one in our breed.

In 1994, I reprinted a paper on liver shunts in Deerhounds by Dutch veterinarian Dr. H.P. Meyer. He reported that of 125 Dutch Deerhounds screened for liver shunt, 6 (approximately 5%) were found to have the problem. Dr. Meyer also wrote that liver shunts were most probably an inherited disorder.

This month I’ll revisit the subject of liver shunts to include what has been learned in the last decade. Read more

CLINICAL GUIDE for ECHOCARDIOGRAM EXAMINATION for Scottish Deerhounds

Below are the normal ranges for Scottish Deerhounds that you should share with your veterinarian and specialist.

These values were established by Dr. Philip Fox, from the cardiac clinic he did at the Vermont National Specialty in 2004. It is the only data extant for our breed, and it was never published by Dr. Fox (however Betty Stephenson did publish them in The Claymore).

Also, please do not think that “Scan in a Van” and the other mobile technologies one sees at dog shows are a substitute for an evaluation by a veterinary cardiologist. Those are for screening purposes only, and it’s definitely “Buyer Beware”–the variability of echo equipment and the skill of the person performing the echo need to be taken into consideration.

The following is a general clinical guide for echocardiographic examination based upon normal Scottish Deerhounds (avg wt, 45kg) :

Left atrium (mm) should be no larger than 50-55 mm Aorta (mm) should be no wider than 30-33 mm

LA:Ao ratio should be <1.5:1

Left ventricle end diastolic dimension should be no greater than 55-60 mm

Left ventricle end systolic dimension should be no greater than 40-45 mm

LV Wall end- diastolic thickness should be > 8-9mm

LV Shortening fraction should generally be > 20 %, and more comonly, >25% Heart Rhythm should be sinus or sinus arrhythmia

Note: The echocardiogram is one part of the data base that includes medical history , physical examination, ECG, and chest radiograph. Optimal diagnosis is based upon consideration of these variables.

These should be used as GENERAL guidelines and a particular normal dog, particularly a large or small animal, could fall outside of this range.