Research performed in Professor Hannes Lohi’s canine genetics research laboratory at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Helsinki, Finland has lead to the discovery of a genetic mutation responsible for a Skeletal Disease in Karelian Bear Dogs. The work was funded in part by Wisdom Health and Genoscoper Laboratories, providers of the MyDogDNA® (Europe) / Optimal Selection™ (United States) test.

Through clinical, pathological and genetic studies the skeletal disease in Karelian Bear dogs was defined as a metabolic bone disease that disturbs skeletal mineralization. In the examined dogs, the disease manifested around 2-7 weeks of age. The initial clinical sign in affected dogs was failure to grow similarly as unaffected littermates. The younger affected dogs also presented with seizures, whereas the older suffered from a generalized skeletal mineralization and growth defect that manifested as walking difficulties. The affected puppies had to be euthanized due to a poor prognosis.

As part of the study leading to the research discovery, over 500 Karelian Bear Dogs were screened indicating a recessive mode of inheritance and a breed carrier frequency of 17% for the novel discovered mutation. The detailed results of the study will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific article in the near future.

This gene discovery has enabled the development of a genetic test for the disease in Karelian Bear Dogs, which is offered pre-publication to allow management of the condition in breeding programs so that healthy carrier dogs can be kept in the gene pool while avoiding affected offspring.

For Karelian Bear Dogs, the MyDogDNA® test includes not only the novel Skeletal Disease test, but also testing for Chondrodysplasia. Testing for prcd-PRA can later be purchased as an optional add on to the basic disease screening. Additional test results for inherited traits (e.g., coat color, coat type and body size) and genetic diversity level are also included.

For test ordering, and to learn more about genetic testing for your dog and its breed, please visit: (Europe) or (United States)