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51 – Finding the Genetic Test: Pat Fendley’s Fight Against Cerebellar Ataxia in Spinone Italiano

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But I Don’t Have Spinone Italiano’s?

Every breed has something lurking in it’s DNA.  Pat Fendley’s sacrifice to “save” her breed is a lesson for all breeders.

Cerebellar Ataxia

Cerebellar Ataxia is a horrific disease that affect puppies.  They start with wobbling or stumbling.  Within months, the disease rapidly progresses until the young dog can not even stand on it’s own and is euthanized.

Breeder’s Secret

For many years, the existence of Cerebellar Ataxia was denied or ignored by some breeders.  In 1998, Great Britain publicly acknowledged the disease in the Spinone Italiano.  Lack of knowledge of it’s genetic origin caused many unaffected dogs to be removed from the gene pool.  Some even believed it was a communicable disease, rather than genetic.

Pat Fendley

Pat Fendley tells her story of working with the Animal Health Trust in Great Britain by breeding a carrier test litter to develop a genetic test to identify carrier dogs.  This test litter made it possible for many other dogs and owners to not suffer the disease.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Angela Hanson on 04/10/2017 at 4:37 PM

    Thank you Laura and Pat for this wonderful podcast. So insightful but heartbreaking as to the sacrifice of the breeders that led to the successful development of a DNA test. As breeders and owners we need to honour these selfless people and honour our breed and continue to participate in health testing and use the gift we have been given by the Animal Health Trust (AHT).

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