New advice on Dachshund spinal health in paper co-authored by WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee (HDC) Member Dr Helle Friis Proschowsky
wsava.org, 26. January (2021)
Radiograph recommended over DNA test in predicting risk of disc herniation
Disc herniation in Dachshunds is a painful, hereditary condition, typically preceded by disc calcification. In Denmark and other countries, the selection of breeding dogs is based on a radiographic examination of the spine and evaluation of the number of calcified discs. In addition, an insertion of an FGF4 retrogene on canine chromosome 12 has been identified and associated with the risk of developing disc herniation in chondrodystrophic breeds. A DNA test for this insertion is available.
However, a new paper, co-authored by Dr Proschowsky, a WSAVA HDC member, who works at the Danish Kennel Club, suggests that, while the use of the DNA test is attractive because it is easier and less invasive, the results should be viewed with caution. While the mutation identified by the DNA test is a risk factor in specific dog populations mainly from the US, it may not be useful in other populations and, in Denmark, at least, a radiographic examination is a more effective selection tool.