Thank you Nottingham University Vet School for organising an informative day, giving up your time at a weekend, and also giving us a chance to be heard and listened to.
For those who didn’t attend a here is quick precis:-
FCE - appears quite rare and they have had nothing to go on - but welcome more, but at the moment just anecdotal
Osteosarcoma - They really do need more samples and the up take has been better in the Deerhounds than in the Wolfhounds. More samples of tumour tissue where timing is very important are required to further this research. The team have narrowed the genes down to where they believe there is a genetic link - from 26,000 down to 500. They have mapped the interaction between about 50 of these and because they all interlink, they are hoping, but more research is required, that a drug which treats one of these genes could have a positive impact on the others - tuning them on and off …. and there are drugs out there already that effect some of these genes may well impact the cancer growth - thus using existing drugs instead finding new drugs.
The exciting and extremely good news is that heart testing is making a difference to the disease - there is always the danger that breeding out heart disease can lead to other disease although this doesn’t appear to have happen in shunt testing. Keep heart testing your hounds and many thanks to all who particiapate and the Cardiologists who give up their time and especailly to Dr Serena Brownlie PhD BVM&S CertSAC MRCVS for her life long dedication to our breed.
There appears to be a link between A/F and DCM in so far as animals are 10 times more likely to progress from AF to DCM than develop DCM without having AF first.
As with Osteosarcoma it is likely to be caused by a number of genes rather than one - again more samples required.
With the genes for heart disease they expect they to be a familial link - so a collection of genes in one breed line may cause or lead to DCM but the same set of genes in another line may not. There is also the distant possibility that DCM is Wolfhounds is a different disease to DCM on other breeds. Together with the genetic differences between breeds, this is why separate testing on Wolfhound and Deerhounds is required (they have a very similar makeup).
As yet a link hasn’t been found between the abnormalities in heart results to DCM, just the AF correlation.
Nottm Uni is unique in their testing in so far as they are not testing the DNA but the RNA - which is effectively the top half of the DNA and is more accurate.
There is a large variation in the presentation of the disease - so hence a variation in the longevity of an affected dog. They think that the hounds with an increased number of affected loci (building blocks) are likely to have a more severe form of DCM that those with a few affected loci. Most of the genetic work has been carrying out on the Dobermans and as they have received limited amount of swabs for Wolfhounds so far in comparison.
Individually each building block does not explain each case of DCM but when combined together they explain an increase in numbers of DCM
They also believe there are different types of DCM and that this will differ between breeds.
The Team are also interested in looking at a causative link between nutrition and health.
The Vet School want more data from us all, for osteosarcoma, heart and pneumonia - more follow through please - so filling out more questionnaires!
Discussed chronic rhinitis and they don’t think there is a genetic link that they were aware of, but they are willing to do more research into. Investigating vaccination links with impaired immunity. However the recommendations are to continue with vaccinations as Parvo is on the increase and Canine Distemper is making a comeback, especially in inner cities.
Pneumonia is another one of the issues they are investigating in the Wolfhound. It is far more prevalent in Wolfhounds than in any other breed probably because it has such a deep chest. The a/b’s might not quiet reach the cause and this one of the reasons why it might recur. From data collated so far it appears that the Excenel may not be the pancea we once hoped!
Pneumonia survival rates are very good if you catch the condition early - early diagnosis is key.
It was becoming obvious from the day that funding is all important now for the Nottingham Team, having spent £300,000 to date and they are getting to the point now where they need external funding as well as more samples. So it looks like all our excellent fund raising efforts have not be in vain - and the huge amount of funds we have all raised in the IWHG account, £25k and still increasing, will be put to good use!
Sequencing a dog’s genome costs in the region of £1,000 and they have finished five dogs so far, although these were Dobermans and not Wolfhounds. Once the data is available, there are also ongoing costs to study and reach conclusions. The University are investing significant sums in the search for cures and treatments and it really is incumbent upon ourselves to help both financially and publicly by providing the necessary samples.
Time and again we see posts and threads about the future of the breed and the best way to safeguard it going forward so it was very surprising and I'm sure disappointing that only 17 Wolfhound people came to listen and interact with the professionals who are trying so hard to work with us.