Hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) DNA testing for the Doberman dog breed
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Hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) DNA testing for the Doberman dog breed

Dogs
Health & Safety

The Doberman pinscher is a very handsome looking dog from the Kennel Club’s working group, which reflects the breed’s long and versatile history in a wide range of different working roles such as with the military and police.

Doberman pinschers also make for excellent pets for the right type of owners, and the breed today is most widely kept as pets and companions rather than for working purposes, and they are a reasonably common sight all across the UK and further afield.

Dobermans are one of the most intelligent dog breeds of them all, and they are also very energetic dogs that need plenty of both physical exercise and mental stimulation too. This is part of what makes them such excellent working dogs and they are capable of learning and following a lot of different commands, but it can make them challenging to keep because you need to dedicate a lot of time and thought to their care.

In terms of Doberman pinscher health, the breed tends to be robust and hardy and not overly fragile or delicate, and the average lifespan of Dobermans is between 9-12 years across the board, with some dogs of the breed living a lot longer than this.

However, as is the case for virtually all well-established pedigree dog breeds, there are a few hereditary health conditions that can be found within certain Doberman breed lines, which can have a significant impact on the health and longevity of individual dogs affected by them.

One such condition is hereditary deafness, which is caused by a specific gene mutation that can be found in some Dobermans, and which is annotated as hereditary deafness PTPRQ to differentiate between this and other forms of hereditary deafness found in other breeds and caused by different gene mutations.

Whilst deaf dogs can and usually do lead fulfilled, happy and otherwise healthy lives, deafness does have an obvious impact on the lifestyle of both affected dogs and their owners, and such dog require special care and training. Additionally, hereditary deafness in the Doberman pinscher can also cause vestibular dysfunction, having a further impact on their health and lifestyle.

There is a DNA test available to identify the markers of hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) in the Doberman pinscher, and if you are considering breeding from your Doberman it is a good idea to get your dog (and the dog you plan to mate them to also) tested prior to mating, to ensure that the pups they produce won’t inherit this form of deafness themselves.

In this article we will outline how hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) in the Doberman pinscher is passed on through inheritance, how it affects dogs, and how to get a Doberman tested for hereditary deafness. Read on to learn more.

What is Doberman hereditary deafness (PTPRQ)?

Hereditary deafness is a type of deafness that is inherited by a puppy from their parents, as the result of a genetic mutation or cluster of mutations that are passed down through the bloodline from dog to dog.

This means that affected pups will be deaf from very soon after birth, although whether they will be completely deaf or only partially can be variable. Additionally, Doberman hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) can also come accompanied by a range of other symptoms too, which are associated with vestibular disease – such as ataxia or an unusual gait and lack of muscle coordination, head tilting, and walking or pacing in circles.

How is hereditary deafness in the Doberman passed on through breed lines?

The cause of hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) in the Doberman pinscher has been narrowed down to a specific genetic mutation within affected dogs, although the exact mode of transmission isn’t fully known. Whilst researchers suspect that the mode of heredity of Doberman hereditary deafness is autosomal recessive, this isn’t known for certain.

However, assuming that this is the case, knowing the status of any two prospective parent dogs enables breeders to work out the risk factors for their litters – whether any given pup within a litter will be clear, a carrier of, or affected by the condition.

  • Two clear Dobermans will have a clear litter.
  • Two affected Dobermans will have an affected litter.
  • Two carrier Dobermans will have a litter with each pup having odds of 50% for carrier status, 25% for affected status and 25% for clear status.
  • A clear Doberman and an affected Doberman will have a litter of carriers.
  • A clear Doberman and a carrier will have a litter with each pup having 50-50 odds for clear and carrier status respectively.
  • A carrier Doberman and an affected Doberman will have a litter with each pup having 50-50 odds for carrier or affected status respectively.

It is important to bear in mind that whilst researchers work on the assumption that Doberman hereditary deafness is passed on by autosomal recessive heredity as outlined above, this has not been proven – so talk to your vet about your mating matches based on the status of parent dogs and get their advice before going ahead.

How to get a Doberman DNA tested for hereditary deafness

To find out if a Doberman you might be considering breeding from is likely to pass on the markers of hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) to their offspring, both them and the other dog within the mating match need to be DNA tested.

Let your vet know your intentions and ask them to take a DNA sample from the dogs you wish to test, which they will then send off to the appropriate laboratory to identify the markers of hereditary deafness (PTPRQ) in the Doberman.

The lab will then return the results of the test to you within a couple of weeks.

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