May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) DNA testing for the pug dog breed

May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) DNA testing for the pug dog breed

Health & Safety

The pug is one of the best-known and most instantly recognisable dog breeds in the UK, and they are hugely popular as pets all across the country as well. The pug is in fact the third most popular pedigree dog breed here overall, which means that the UK is home to a large and diverse pug population, and the breed has a large number of fans and followers here too.

However, the pug breed has ultimately become a victim of its own success in many ways, and the sheer level of demand for dogs of this type coupled with the modern taste for ever-more exaggerated looking dogs with prominent eyes and flat faces means that this is one of the most high-profile dog breeds in the UK in terms of hereditary health issues.

The pug breed as a whole tends to suffer from more than its fair share of both conformation defects that can affect the dog’s quality of life and longevity, and hereditary health issues that predispose dogs of the breed to a number of problematic and potentially very serious health conditions too.

Only by means of careful breeding to produce litters that have a healthy conformation that is fit for life, and to limit the spread and frequency of hereditary health issues can the breed be improved, and the wellness and future survival of the breed ensured.

This means that all responsible pug breeders are very conscientious about choosing their mating matches with great care, and integrate pre-breeding DNA testing protocols into their breeding programmes to give their litters the best possible chances of having a healthy start to life.

There are several hereditary health conditions that can be found in pugs that can be identified with DNA testing, and one of these is called May-Hegglin anomaly, or MHA for short. This is a type of blood disorder that is unique to the pug dog breed, and which is a form of thrombocytopenia.

If you are considering breeding from your pug and want to produce healthy litters that will appeal to responsible pug puppy buyers, having your dog (and their mating match) tested for the markers of May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) is strongly recommended prior to breeding.

In this article we will outline the basics of May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) in pugs, explain how the condition is passed on and inherited, and tell you how to get your pug DNA tested to find out their status. Read on to learn more.

What is May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA)?

May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA) is a type of hereditary disorder of the blood that in dogs, is only found in certain dogs of the pug breed. It is one of a cluster of conditions that are collectively referred to as thrombocytopenias, which means that affected dogs have a low blood platelet count, and may have overly large blood platelets too.

Blood platelets perform a number of important roles in the dog’s body, including preventing bleeding by clotting the blood, and helping wounds to knit together and heal properly. However, pugs with May-Hegglin anomaly don’t have enough platelets to allow this to happen properly, which can lead to problems stopping bleeding and healing wounds, which can prove life-threatening.

How is May-Hegglin anomaly in pugs inherited?

May-Hegglin anomaly in pugs is a hereditary disorder, which means that it is not contagious and cannot be caught by other dogs. The only way for a pug to develop May-Hegglin anomaly is to inherit the gene fault that causes the condition from one of their parents, which is passed on by means of autosomal dominant heredity.

This means that any pug with May-Hegglin anomaly that is used for breeding will pass the condition on to their own offspring, even if the other dog is perfectly healthy and clear of the condition. This contrasts with autosomal recessive heredity, which requires both parents to pass on a gene fault before their pups will be affected by it.

A pug with May-Hegglin anomaly should not be bred from, as they will pass the condition on to their own litter; and you can find out if any given pug has the condition and so, can pass it on through the breed line by means of DNA testing.

How to get a pug DNA tested for May-Hegglin anomaly (MHA)

If you are considering breeding from your pug, it is really important to undertake the relevant pre-breeding DNA health tests that are available for dogs of the breed, to ensure healthy mating matches.

To know if a litter might inherit May-Hegglin anomaly, both parent dogs will need to be DNA tested.

To get a pug tested for May-Hegglin anomaly, you need to book a consult appointment with your vet and ask them to take a DNA sample from your dog in the form of a buccal swab or vial of blood. This will then be shipped to an approved testing laboratory, who will return a result of the dog’s status.



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