As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to test Kyuss for the newly discovered genetic mutation associated with dilated Cardiomyopathy. It is available from NC State University for anyone interested in testing their Doberman.
I received the test kit in the mail 11 days after submitting my request. (Not bad!) The test kit included two sealed swabs for DNA collection and my receipt. It would have been great if they had included a printed instruction card for collection as well, but the instructions are readily available online.
That evening an hour and a half after Kyuss’ meal I swabbed each cheek for 20 – 30 seconds as per instruction, although I sung a happy birthday to Kyuss in lieu of counting. In hindsight I think it might have made the experience worse for him. Poor dog.
After leaving the swabs to air dry overnight, I packaged them back up and mailed them that morning. I received the test results just over 3 weeks after mailing them.
Kyuss is Positive Heterozygous.
Positive Heterozygous (1 copy of the mutated gene and 1 copy of a normal gene) Dogs that are positive heterozygous should be carefully evaluated for signs of disease (Holter monitor and an echocardiogram). If abnormalities are detected, possible treatment options should be discussed with your veterinarian. Adult dogs that do not show signs of disease and that have other positive attributes could be bred to mutation negative dogs. Puppies may be screened for the mutation and over a few generations, mutation negative puppies may be selected to replace the mutation positive parent and gradually decrease the number of mutation positive dogs in the population.
I know this doesn’t guarantee he will not suffer from DCM as the testing is still in its infancy. No matter the result I received, I planned on continuing to holter and echo his heart.
“So why test?” I’m sure some of you may say. Well in all honesty, I tested Kyuss as I feel that in some small way I may have helped the Doberman breed along a path to better health. They now have his DNA on file and if in 30 years, long after Kyuss has passed, they discover a new marker for DCM. They can go back and re-test him and learn more.
I encourage any dobie-parent out there to test their dog if they have the resources, even if s/he is just a pet. And don’t be afraid to test for fear of the result. This test is not a guarantee as to whether your dog will acquire DCM or not. If you choose to test, you’d making a contribution which may help the breed greatly in the future.