But first a word on Dr Hamilton’s bio-marker for ARVC:
- The bio-marker system for detecting developing ARVC before disease signs or Holter indications has now been patented,
- An upgraded manuscript on the subject has been submitted to a foremost major medical journal, and is in the process of review,
- Funding has been raised to allow further assessment of the screen both in humans and our dogs, but more funds will be needed to show its full potential for detecting cardiomyopathy carriers in our Boxer populations.
- American veterinary cardiologists are becoming involved and these include our own (UK) hyper-enthusiastic Simon Swift who is now working in Florida.
- It might seem that the ABC, or ABCCF, is also now interested in the bio-marker screen.
With JKD, there has been even more of a bumpy ride of late:
- Prof Amos has been ill, twice and the search for the gene location has therefore been badly delayed, although I gather all is underway again now.
- American JKD cases have been increasingly reported and they have been contributing substantially to the Amos DNA work
- Lynn Kincla’s publication of new pedigrees on the Boxerjkd website has unfortunately been delayed, partly by her house move but also because of difficulties getting veterinary and other details. Most are however now publishable and will be put up on the site very shortly. They involve British and other European dogs.
- One UK litter has come to particular attention because it contained three affected cases and the possibility of a fourth; and the litter which comprised only seven pups is only 9 months old. Fortunately, all people involved, owners of the sire, dam, and all puppies have been uniquely cooperative, and swabs for DNA from the whole litter are being supplied. And all the pups will continue to be closely monitored.
At breeder level in the UK, it appears that views on JKD have become increasingly confused. In contrast to clear actions in past times on progressive neuropathy (PA), sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), and cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in which breeding guidelines were set up and SUCCESSFULLY applied within a few months, we are now in our 8th year with JKD without any resolution in sight. Nobody knows what to believe and what to do. Despite my facebook efforts to keep people abreast of developments, and all the information and advice from Boxerjkd, there is still a lack of understanding. Not everyone uses facebook of course, but options for providing information are increasing limited these days. Instead, information seems to be almost totally reliant on diverse and generally flawed personal opinion and ringside gossip.
So, why is it different from former times? A major factor, I’m sure, is that with each of the earlier diseases, clubs held open meetings around the whole country at which I and specialists in each field of veterinary medicine explained the nature of the diseases and their genetics, and breeding guidelines were offered. The latter were clearly accepted by breeders as indicated by a show of hands at the end of each talk and the concepts were supported and ultimately endorsed by Breed Council. But in the 8 years since JKD recognition not a single meeting of this type has been organised. However, things may be breaking. In the last few days I have been officially asked to speak on JKD at the next (April) meeting of Breed Council and I believe that two clubs are requesting Breed Council to encourage all clubs to have open meetings on the disease such as we had for the earlier diseases. At such meetings JKD and its complications could be described, the basis for the genetic conclusions on the inheritance explained, advice given on what can be done, and equally importantly, what should NOT be done, and with further suggestions offered to help resolution of this well-established and difficult inherited problem in our breed.