Gordon Setter Breed Council & British Gordon Setter Club has
recently been made aware of a new DNA test available to Gordon Setters.
More information on CA & DNA Test.
Retinal Atrophy - "Moving On"
February 2009 it was confirmed that the Gordon Setter could suffer from
a autosomal recessive mutation of a gene which causes PRA. In the
Gordon Setter this has been found to have "late onset" that is it is
unlikely to be displayed until 10 years of age, although ophthalmic
testing could show early clinical signs from 7 years of age.
At this time the members of the British Gordon Setter Club together
with the other breed clubs and associations all joined together to fund
research into this condition via The Animal Health Trust (AHT).
Seminars were held with eminent speakers to ensure that the condition
was understood and how it could be managed, although it was made clear
that this was not a curable condition.
Many breeds suffer a form of PRA but the mutation in the Gordon Setter
unfortunately did not match that of any other breed and so the AHT had
to genotype the mutation and this could take many years of research and
It is therefore amazing that the mutation was discovered in under 2
years and there is now a test available ( please see information below)
to allow us to move forward with our breeding programmes which if
sensibly managed will mean that PRA within the Gordon Setter can be
eradicated completely although this will take several years.
The British Gordon Setter Club is extremely grateful to Cathryne
Melluish and her team at the AHT who have worked so hard to bring the
test to fruition.
The chart below shows how by using the knowledge of whether a dog is
CLEAR, a CARRIER, or even AFFECTED, it should be possible to eliminate
the condition in just a few generations. Consideration need to be given
to the dog as a whole as we cannot simply breed for eye sight, we need
to breed for type, temperament, good hips and overall good health.
of Mutation for Progressive Retinal Atrophy in the Gordon Setter
A mutation responsible for the development of Progressive Retinal
Atrophy (PRA) in the Gordon Setter has been identified by geneticists
working in the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust.
PRA is a well-recognised inherited condition that many breeds of dog
are predisposed to. The condition is characterised by bilateral
degeneration of the retina which causes progressive vision loss that
culminates in total blindness. There is no treatment for PRA.
Owners report that their affected dogs develop night blindness in the
first instance, which is indicative of a rod-cone degeneration, so we
have termed this mutation rcd4 (for rod-cone degeneration 4) to
distinguish it from other, previously described, forms of rod-cone
The mutation is recessive and 19 out of the 21 Gordon Setters in our
study that had clinical signs of PRA were homozygous (carried two
copies) for this mutation, indicating it is the major cause of PRA in
the breed. Two dogs in our study had PRA but did not carry the rcd4
mutation, indicating there might be another, genetically distinct,
rarer form of PRA segregating in this breed.
The Animal Health Trust has developed a DNA test for the rcd4 mutation
that will be available from Monday 14th March, 2011. DNA test kits will
be available to order online, via our website (www.aht.org.uk)
from March 14th. The price of the test will be £48 per sample, which
The research that led to identification of the rcd4 mutation was funded
by many different organisations, including the Kennel Club Charitable
Trust, the British Gordon Setter Club, the Gordon Setter Field Trial
Society, the Gordon Setter Association, the Gordon Setter Club of
Scotland and the LUPA project (www.eurolupa.org) as well as
several individuals who have also contributed significantly. The AHT
would like to thank sincerely all the organisations and individuals who
donated funds to help support the research as well as all the owners
who contributed DNA and information from their dogs.
Setter Breed Council
Guidelines on PRA (RCD4) testing
Clinical Eye Testing is advised prior to each mating
Annual Eye testing is essential for stud dogs
In every mating one partner must be Clear
CCarrier x Carrier / Carrier x Affected / Affected x Affected should
not be done
Advice will be revised on an annual basis, in consultation with the AHT
Over time, the ultimate aim is to eradicate PRA from the breed.
Puppy sale contracts should always be done which include breeding
endorsements that can only be lifted by the Breeder.
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