PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW - IT IS VITAL IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO BREED FROM YOUR STAFFORD OR LOOKING TO BUY A HEALTHY STAFFORD PUP THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF THESE FACTS!
Although the Stafford is basically a healthy breed there are two known inherited problems for which we are fortunate to have a DNA test. When planning to breed or when buying a puppy it is IMPERATIVE that you know the DNA status of both sire and dam for the two conditions Hereditary Cataract (HC) and L-2-Hydroxyglutaric acidurea (L-2-HGA). Breeding from DNA tested clear stock means that all resultant progeny will be clear of the conditions. If one of the parents is a carrier for either condition all puppies in the resultant litter should then be DNA tested by the breeder before they are sold so that their individual status can be determined.
If you are planning to buy a puppy please only ever buy from stock which is tested. It is the only way you can be certain that your puppy will not suffer from either condition. If a puppy is tested as a carrier it means that although the pup will not develop the condition it will be able to pass on the rogue gene if it should be bred from in future. This needs very careful consideration.
For anyone planning to breed from their Stafford please ensure that you have the DNA status for your breeding stock prior to mating. Do not agree to mate a tested dog to an untested one. In this age of litigation you may well find yourself in court if you should produce an affected puppy from untested stock.
"And for a brief explanation of the conditions please see below:"
HC – HEREDITARY CATARACTS.
There are various types of hereditary cataracts found in Staffords. The one which is best known, and for which we have a DNA test available to determine genetic status, is Juvenile Hereditary Cataract, officially known as HC-HSF4. It is known that Juvenile Hereditary Cataract is inherited autosomal recessive path (i.e. Both parents must be carriers of the defective gene to produce affected offspring). This type of HC is a progressive condition and this means that although a puppy is not born with cataracts they will start to develop at a young age - possibly from around 8 months - and will progress until the dog is totally blind. This condition is bilateral which means it affects both eyes equally. All breeding stock should be DNA tested for this condition (or be hereditarily clear) to enable the defective gene to be eradicated from the breed.
For further information on HC-HSF4 and the DNA test please see Here > >
Warning – Eye Test Result Anomaly
Recently we have been informed of two Staffords, which are both HC-HSF4 genetically clear, being failed by eye panelists as having hereditary cataracts. While there is no disputing that both have some form of cataract, clinically neither is of the classical juvenile hereditary type caused by the HC-HSF4 gene. Neither has yet been reported in the Breeds Record Supplement (BRS) but when they are, we are concerned that people may arrive at the wrong conclusion that they are juvenile HC when in reality there are many types of HC (PPSC being one of them as an example).
We wish to stress that the genetic test for the HC-HSF4 gene is robust and reliable and has now been in use for about six or seven years with no problems. Should any further dog, which is HC-HSF4 clear, be failed as having a hereditary cataract, could the owner please inform us, attaching a copy of the report.
May we remind owners that we wish to be informed of any dog diagnosed as having PPSC as we are still collecting data.
The matter is being pursued with both the BVA and KC with the hope of getting the reporting system amended to differentiate between JHC and other forms of hereditary cataracts.
Archie Bryden, Lead Health Co-ordinator
Diane Taylor, HC NESBTC
Lesley McFadyen, HC EASBTC
L-2-HGA - Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria.
In past few years a small number of Staffords were diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, its clinical name is L2 hydroxyglutaric aciduria or L-2-HGA. This condition manifests itself in varied ways with affected dogs displaying behavioral changes and dementia, anxiety attacks, having full blown seizures, as well as exercise intolerance and ataxia (unsteady gait), tremors and muscular stiffness. Dogs from totally different bloodlines have been found to be sufferers. The disorder (and a similar linked disorder D-2 HGA) is found in humans, again very rare, but nevertheless devastating for those families affected by it. The disorder has an autosomal recessive method of inheritance, which means that both parents must be carriers of the affected gene to produce affected offspring.
Through excessive hard work by the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket and by people submitting blood and urine samples from the families of affected animals a genetic test has been determined to identify the carriers of the gene which causes L-2-HGA.
For more info and instructions on sample collection please follow this link.
"*if DNA testing for HC is requested at the same time as L2 then both tests together can be done at a discounted rate of £117 inc VAT."
PHPV – PERSISTENT HYPERPLASTIC PRIMARY VITREOUS.
The mode of inheritance of PHPV is not so clear, but it is known that it is a congenital condition (present at birth) and that it is not progressive. This means that if a puppy is born with PHPV it can be detected by ophthalmic screening from 6 weeks of age and if it is affected, whatever the condition of the problem at that stage it will not change throughout the dogs life.
PHPV can be operated on, but it is a serious operation and can be traumatic and very expensive. It is not always covered by insurance due to the hereditary nature.
Even though the genetic test is now available for Hereditary Cataracts it is still important to screen for PHPV.
PPSC – POSTERIOR POLAR SUBCAPSULAR CATARACT.
This type of cataract is found in other breeds, particularly the Labrador and Golden Retriever.
It usually remains as a small, punctuate cataract and doesn’t usually lead to sight problems in these two breeds. It has been placed on schedule 3 of the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme because a number of Staffords that have been through the Scheme have been found to have this type of cataract. This type of cataract cannot be detected through litter screening. The mode of inheritance is unknown and has a variable age of onset.
BREEDING STOCK SHOULD BE TESTED ANNUALLY TO DETERMINE THAT THE DOG/BITCH IS CERTIFIED CLEAR AT THE TIME OF MATING - DOGS MUST BE MICRO-CHIPPED FOR PROOF OF ID FOR CLINICAL SCREENING - PUPPIES SHOULD BE CLINICALLY EYE SCREENED AT AROUND SIX WEEKS OF AGE PRIOR TO LEAVING FOR THEIR NEW HOME.
For any litters taken for clinical litter screening of eyes the KC has advised if the KC registration forms for the puppies have been received then these should be taken (these should be available if litter is registered on-line when 3/4wks old), but if not yet received, the dam's registration papers should be taken plus the registration or stud book number of the sire, which breeders require for registration purposes.
Should you be unable to supply full details of the parents, notably the sire, the examiner should test the litter but only give the results verbally and retain the official report to be posted to you when the missing details have been supplied.
"The Animal Health Trust is researching PHPV currently and it will be hoped that at some future stage a DNA test may be developed."
For a list of eye testing clinics please follow this link.
The SBT Breed Council of GB & NI has produced a Cause of Death Survey which, it is hoped, will be useful in determining anything of significance within the breed. If you have owned a Stafford that has died in your ownership since 1995 please download, complete and return a copy of the survey http://www.staffords.co.uk/health_survey.htm