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Portuguese Water Dog – Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy - Budatha

Portuguese Water Dog – Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy

 

Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a rare, fatal condition caused by an autosomal recessive gene. It affects young dogs, who succumb to heart failure before reaching adulthood. As a simple recessive gene, it had been difficult to identify and was particularly heartbreaking as seemingly healthy puppies would suddenly die, often shortly after joining their adopted families. Since a recessive gene is responsible, that means if at least one parent is “normal” (that is, it does not carry a copy of the cardio version of the gene), its offspring can not contract the disease.

In 2007 a genetic linkage test became available which appears promising. This is not a test which confirms if a dog has, or doesn’t have the disease; nor will it definitively predict the disease, as even if a dog is a JDC carrier this does not guarantee its offspring will suffer the disease. It only links certain strains of DNA as carriers of JDC. This is significant in that these strains can now largely be deselected for in the breeding process, as has been successful with GM1 Storage Disease (see above). The test is not yet complete for every bloodline, and why the identified strains are implicated is still unknown, and so in essence the cause of the condition remains a mystery to be solved.


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