Leukocyte adhesion deficiency (type III) DNA testing for the German shepherd
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Leukocyte adhesion deficiency (type III) DNA testing for the German shepherd

Dogs
Health & Safety

The German shepherd is one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds, and one whose size and versatility makes them an excellent choice for both working roles and life as a pet. German shepherds are also good at canine sport, capable of learning and executing a wide range of commands, and very responsive to training.

A properly trained, appropriately exercised and well managed German shepherd is a dog like no other, and they are in great demand as pets in the UK consistently every year. However, the breed is one that has undergone a lot of selective modification over the last few decades and is also one that has quite a number of potentially serious hereditary health conditions within individual breed lines, which means that choosing a healthy dog is very important, and can be a challenge.

You can’t tell just by looking at a dog if they are healthy and will remain so for life; but when it comes to hereditary German shepherd health problems, many of the known hereditary health conditions in German shepherds can be identified in dogs by means of DNA testing.

DNA testing allows a dog’s owner to find out the status of their own dog for any one of a number of hereditary health conditions, which can help breeders to make informed choices about which dogs to breed from.

One German shepherd health condition that can be identified by DNA testing is called leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III or LAD III, and this is a test that all German shepherd breeders should consider performing as part of planning for a litter.

In this article we will look at leukocyte adhesion deficiency III DNA testing for the German shepherd in more detail, examining how the condition is passed on from dog to dog and how to get a German shepherd tested for leukocyte adhesion deficiency III. Read on to find out more.

What is leukocyte adhesion deficiency III (LAD III) in the German shepherd?

Leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III or LAD III is a type of blood disorder that occurs in dogs with a hereditary predisposition to deficiencies of the immune system, which leads to German shepherds that inherit the disorder being prone to developing recurrent and hard to shift infections.

German shepherds with LAD III lack the ability to send leucocytes to sites of injury or inflammation to handle threats and pathogens, and the signature of the condition is raised leukocyte levels in the dog’s blood.

Leukocyte adhesion deficiency III causes the abnormal formation of white blood cells and blood platelets, which affects the body’s ability to clot the blood at the site of injuries and that compromises the function of their immune systems too.

German shepherds with leukocyte adhesion deficiency III will look perfectly normal and healthy, but if they receive even a minor injury that breaks the skin or leads to bruising, their bodies will not be able to heal it properly, which can lead to a life-threatening loss of blood. This makes surgery for affected dogs very risky, and often, unavoidable surgeries require blood transfusions in order to enable the dog to pull through.

What is the mode of heredity for LAD III in German shepherds?

Leukocyte adhesion deficiency type III in the German shepherd is passed on from dog to dog by means of autosomal recessive heredity. This means that even if a dog has one parent with the disorder, if the other parent dog is totally clear of it the dog in question won’t be affected by it either – although they may pass on carrier status to their own offspring if they have inherited this trait.

When it comes to explaining an autosomal recessive health condition’s mode of heredity, any given dog is assigned with a status of either clear, carrier, or affected. You need to know the status of both parent dogs to work out the status that their litter will have, which is expressed as follows:

  • Two clear parent dogs will have a clear litter.
  • Two affected parent dogs will have an affected litter.
  • Two carrier parent dogs will have a litter within which each pup has a 50% chance of inheriting carrier status, a 25% chance of inheriting carrier status, and a 25% chance of inheriting affected status.
  • A clear parent bred to an affected parent will have a litter of carriers.
  • A clear parent bred to a carrier will have a litter within which each pup will have a 50% chance of being either clear or a carrier.
  • A carrier parent bred to an affected parent will have a litter within which each pup will have a 50% chance of being either a carrier or affected.

DNA testing or leukocyte adhesion deficiency III in the German shepherd

In order to breed healthy litters and improve the health of your bloodlines and the German shepherd breed as a whole, German shepherd breeders are advised to undertake LAD III DNA testing on their parent stock prior to deciding upon a mating match.

DNA testing is easy to arrange with you vet; you just need to book an appointment for your vet to take a simple DNA sample from the dog. They will then send this off to an approved laboratory that can carry out the test, and the results will be returned directly to the dog’s owner.

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