RESEARCH

Akita Genetic Diversity Test Phase two!

The first phase of the Akita Genetic Diversity Test for Japanese Akitas and American Akitas at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, UC Davis, is finished! The results are now on the VGL’s webpage https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/dog/GeneticDiversityInAkitas.php . Our next mission is to collect samples from two types of dogs:

  1. Those with SA and VKH
  2. Those unrelated to the dogs already tested

If you want to take part, please email Saija Tenhunen, saija.r.tenhunen@gmail.com, with the headline “Akita Genetic Diversity Test” and answer the following questions:

  1. Name of dog
  2. Name of owner
  3. Link to dog’s pedigree or copy of the pedigree
  4. Is your dog diagnosed with SA and/or VKH?
    1. If the answer is yes, if possible, please also send a copy of the veterinarian’s diagnosis.

The timeline to volunteer for a free test is by the end of December 2015. For the chosen dogs this test will be free; the only cost is mailing the sample back to the VGL. The sampling method uses cheek swabs, so no blood is needed! The owner will get the sample kit from VGL by mail, and it is easy to take the swabs by yourself.

It is also possible to buy the test from VGL webpage (link above) if your dog is not chosen. Additional baseline tests beyond the dogs who are chosen to have the free test will cost $50. Once the research phase is complete, the test will be offered at the regular rate of $100. The research phase will end when approximately 200 dogs have been tested.

This is a test for Akita genetic diversity and of individual dogs and not a test for autoimmune diseases. However, the test shows connections between healthy and diseased dogs. In the Standard Poodle results, the researchers noticed that SA is seen more often in the more inbred main population, and the relatively outbred subpopulations seem to be free from the problem. Our purpose is to research if this is also true with Akitas. For more information, please join the Facebook Group for the test https://www.facebook.com/groups/AkitaGeneticDiversityTest/

The information obtained from the research phase of the Genetic Diversity Test may be shared with research collaborators outside the University, with no identifying information on individual dogs. If you wish to submit samples for confidential testing for the full fee, please wait until the research phases are complete. No individual test results will be shared publicly. Only information concerning the whole breed will be published.

Saija Tenhunen

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