"Nemaline myopathy DNA health testing for the American bulldog dog breed
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"Nemaline myopathy DNA health testing for the American bulldog dog breed

Dogs
Health & Safety

The American bulldog is not as well-known within the UK as our native English bulldogs or our national favourites the French bulldog, but these stocky, muscular dogs are hugely popular here nonetheless, and are currently the 23rd most popular dog breed in the UK overall.

The American bulldog is not actually recognised as a formal pedigree breed in the UK by our Kennel Club, and there is no Kennel Club approved breed standard or structure in place for the breed at this time.

This has done nothing to diminish the popularity of the American bulldog, however, and many people chose American bulldogs in preference to the better-known English bulldog out of concerns over the direction that the English breed is taking, and the impact on health and wellness that selective breeding for a very exaggerated appearance and conformation has caused.

If you love dogs of the bulldog type and are looking for something a little different or don’t like the overly exaggerated appearance and often, the health issues that come with them in the English or French bulldog breeds, the American bulldog might be a good choice of pet.

American bulldogs tend to be fairly long lived with an average lifespan of 10-15 years, but there are still a few hereditary health issues that can be found within the breed, as is often the case with well-established dog types.

Some of these hereditary problems can be identified by means of DNA testing to identify carriers of such conditions, as well as dogs that possess the affected form of the condition in question prior to symptoms appearing.

One health condition that can be found in some American bulldogs that can be identified with DNA testing is called nemaline myopathy, and this is a hereditary muscle disorder that can be passed on from parent dogs to their young.

If you are considering breeding from an American bulldog, it is important to learn the basics of the health conditions that they can inherit, and how they can be predicted and prevented. In this article we will provide a short explanation of American bulldog nemaline myelopathy, explain how the condition is inherited, and outline how you can get your own dog DNA tested to find out their status. Read on to learn more about nemaline myopathy in the American bulldog.

What is nemaline myopathy?

Nemaline myopathy is a congenital disorder that affects the dog’s muscles, causing issues including muscle weakness and hypotonia, or poor muscle tone and low muscle strength. The condition can also cause related issues such as problems swallowing normally.

Nemaline myopathy is a chronic condition that cannot be cured or treated, and that has a significant impact on the wellness and quality of life of affected dogs. If nemaline myopathy in the American bulldog has a bad enough effect on the dog’s quality of life, a decision may be made to euthanise them to prevent further suffering.

How do American bulldogs inherit nemaline myelopathy?

Nemaline myopathy can be found in various different forms that relate back to different genes that develop faults, but within dogs, nemaline myopathy is generally inherited following the autosomal recessive mode of heredity.

This means that the combined status of both parents of any given dog or litter is what dictates the status of the dog or litter in question.

Nemaline myopathy isn’t contagious and can only be inherited – and if you know the status of both parent dogs, you can work out what the status of their offspring would be. A dog is referred to as either clear, a carrier or affected, and while carrier dogs won’t be affected by the condition themselves, they can still pass it on to their own offspring.

Here’s how autosomal recessive heredity dictates the status of a litter:

  • Two clear parent dogs will have a clear litter.
  • Two affected parent dogs will have an affected litter.
  • Two carrier parent dogs produce a litter in which each pup has a 50% chance of also being a carrier, 25% chance of being clear, and a 25% chance of being affected.
  • An affected dog bred with a clear dog will produce a litter of carriers.
  • A clear dog bred with a carrier will produce a litter with 50:50 odds of each pup being clear or a carrier.
  • A carrier dog and an affected dog will produce a litter with 50:50 odds of each pup being a carrier or affected.

How to get an American bulldog DNA test for nemaline myelopathy

If you want to breed from your American bulldog and wish to ensure that your mating match produces pups that aren’t affected by nemaline myopathy, you can get your dog DNA tested to find out their status first. Both dogs in any mating match need to be tested in order to return a definitive result.

To get your American bulldog a DNA test for nemaline myopathy, let your vet know and ask them to book you an appointment at the clinic. Your vet will need to take a quick DNA sample from your dog, which they will then send off to an approved testing laboratory who will return the results to you.

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