WHAT IS IT ?
- Canine Fucosidosis is a disease which is severe, progressive and ultimately FATAL.
- It is characterised by deteriorating signs of the nervous system that progress over a period of several months, sometimes from an early age. Signs include inco-ordination and ataxia (loss of control of movement), change in temperament, loss of learned behaviour, loss of balance, apparent deafness, visual impairment and varying degrees of depression. The inco-ordination and ataxia affects all four legs and is mostly evident when affected animals are walking on slippery surfaces or attempt more complicated movements such as turning. In addition, affected dogs lose weight and may suffer from swallowing difficulties and sometimes regurgitation of food.
- The disease, which affects young adults, usually between 18 months and 4 years of age, is caused by the absence of an enzyme called alpha-L-fucosidase. This enzyme is one of many required to break down complex compounds into simple molecules that the body can use. When this enzyme is absent, the pathway is blocked and the more complex compounds build up in the cells of the affected animal, accumulating in the lymph nodes, liver, pancreas, kidney, lungs and bone marrow. However, it is the accumulation in the brain and peripheral nerves that is most important, since it interferes with normal function, giving rise to the clinical signs described, eventually resulting in death.
- Canine Fucosidosis can affect all English Springer Spaniels, whether they are of ‘field trial', ‘working', ‘show' or ‘pet' origin. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
- The condition is inherited through an autosomal recessive trait and has been reported by ESS owners/breeders from all over the world.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT IT ?
Use the DNA Test available since 1997 which:
- Can be undertaken at any age and needs only to be done once in a dog's lifetime.
- Makes it safe, for the time being at least, for the breed to use identified Carriers
Click on http://www.aht.org.uk/genetics_tests.html to download testing forms.
WHAT HELP WOULD THAT BE ?
- A Kennel Club Breed Scheme for Fucosidosis has been in operation since 2005, with results now recorded in the KC's Quarterly Breed Records Supplements, on KC Registration documents and on the KC's Website, thus ensuring that the audit trail of information about a ‘genetically clear' for Fucosidosis English Springer is not lost.
- ESS Breeders can plan their breeding programmes accordingly, making it feasible to completely eradicate this fatal disease from the Breed. For the time being, should they wish to use a CARRIER in order not to sacrifice excellent breed points, this is OK provided it is never mated to another CARRIER or to an untested dog. Likewise, two untested dogs (unless from genetically clear parents) should never be mated together. By mating a CARRIER to a CLEAR, we will not be producing AFFECTED dogs - we will just be prolonging the production of CARRIERS. Although not an ideal situation, it is acceptable until breeders find the ‘Clear' dog that also proves to be their ideal stock to carry on their breeding lines.
- All ESS breeders/owners are advised to follow Breed Club ‘Ethical Guidelines'
THE COST OF THIS (ONE-OFF) TEST IS £48.00 PER DOG
Or £82.00 (inc VAT) if used at the same time as the DNA test for PRA, Cord 1 mutation
Wouldn't you agree that this is a small price to pay for the health and welfare of the Breed?
If you have any queries or would like any further information, please contact the Health Coordinators
The procedure for requesting a DNA test for Fucosidosis is as follows:
Genetic Services, Animal Health Trust,
Suffolk CB7 7UU.
- The AHT will usually post the results to you within 4 - 6 weeks of receipt of sample.
- If you wish to have the Fucosidosis and PRA Cord 1 DNA tests done together, the joint cost is £82 (including VAT).
To find test results for individual dogs click on Health Test Results Finder
To find a list of Fucosidosis Test Results click on Fucosidosis DNA Results