Most pedigree dog breeds have a small handful of hereditary health conditions that can become prevalent within breed lines if left to spread unchecked, and often, it is the most popular dog breeds that have been around for the longest times that have most potential risk factors.
The German shepherd is one of this number, and this instantly recognisable dog breed is one that most of us know fairly well, as fans and admirers if not owners. German shepherds are large, intelligent and versatile dogs with a long working history, which has helped them to secure their place as one of the most popular large dog breeds in the UK for both working roles and domestic life.
However, there are quite a range of hereditary health problems in the German shepherd breed that can be found within different breed lines, and many of these conditions don’t show obvious physical symptoms from birth. Additionally, dogs may be carriers of the genetic fault that causes some conditions without being affected by them themselves, which means that even a dog that is themselves healthy might pass on a hereditary health condition to their own young.
Fortunately, many of the hereditary health issues that can affect German shepherds can be identified by means of DNA testing to pinpoint the presence or absence of the gene fault that causes each respective condition, and one of these is called Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII. This is a rare type of genetic disorder that has been identified in certain breed lines, and which can lead to a wide and far-reaching range of problems.
In this article we will outline the basics of how Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII affects dogs, how it is inherited, and how to get a German shepherd tested for Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII to find out their status prior to breeding.
Read on to learn more about German shepherd Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII DNA testing.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII is a specific type of genetic disorder that is uncommon even within the German shepherd breed, with which it is most commonly associated. This is one of a number of different genetic disorders that can cause a wide range of problems and symptoms in affected dogs, and which tend to develop early in life. First symptoms may manifest in puppies that are just a few weeks old, although it can take months in some cases.
German shepherds with Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII display a range of signs and symptoms that can be varied and broad in nature, and that may include clouding or obscuration of the corneas of the eyes, significant skeletal deformities and problems with the normal, healthy growth and development of the skeleton itself. This affects the dog’s ability to walk and run normally, leading to significant gait abnormalities and difficulties getting around.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII in German shepherds is inherited by the autosomal recessive means, which means that the genetic input from both parent dogs and not just one of them is what determines any dog’s status.
This means that you have to know what the status of both parent dogs is before you can work out the status of the puppies that they would produce if they were mated, and the only way to find this out for sure is with DNA testing.
A German shepherd may be clear of the condition entirely, affected by it, or a carrier of it. Carrier dogs will have no problems and be unaffected by Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII themselves, but they can still pass the markers of the condition onto their own offspring. Carrier dogs can still be bred from, but only to a clear dog in order to ensure that they do not pass on the affected form of the condition.
Here’s how the heredity of Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII in German shepherds works:
To get a German shepherd tested to find out their status for Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII, all you need to do is arrange for your vet to take a DNA sample from your dog, which takes the form of a small vial of blood or a swab from the inside of their cheek.
This sample is then couriered off to one of the approved laboratories that are authorised to carry out the test, and the results returned to the dog’s owner.