The GPRA-project February 2013

Status from the GPRA-project, February 2013.

During 2012 the project team has made good progress. We have continued our efforts to ensure the quality of diagnoses to distinguish between PRA and hereditary Retinopathy, to ensure that there is no mix of the two diseases in the analyzes.

Caroline Wiik, who is employed at the project, has worked with the new divisions, and in light of the new groups, new genetic analysis are conducted. These efforts have given new results and it is now identified a chromosomal site that may have a context with the disease, meaning there are found a region where there are genes that might contain mutations that affect disease development. There are still some confusion as there are some genetic differences between some of the sick dogs in this region. But it's still exciting, and something that should be monitored to see if this is the correct region or if it is a false signal. The project therefore started with an examination of this region, with a detailed study of all the genes in the region.

This is done by study of the DNA in this region, in both sick and healthy dogs, and comparing all of the genes to see if there is any difference between the sick and the healthy. The goal, of course, are to find an area where all the sick is equal and also different from the healthy, then you may be close to something!

As usual in such studies, it is important to double check diagnoses in all dogs included in the material. Some of the blood samples from healthy dogs were taken from dogs that were relatively young when they had their eyes checked. These dogs have become a part older during the project, and it may be important to get their eyes checked again, to confirm they are still healthy. However the project will contact the owner of interesting dogs.


It is important to note that even if a dog is diagnosed free by ERG testing, this does not mean that the dog should not be checked again later. An ERG test should be pretty safe with respect to PRA / inherited Retinopathy if this is done when the dog is an adult (over 18 months), but a dog may well develop other disorders such as cataracts etc.

ERG test should be pretty safe with respect to PRA / inherited Retinopathy if this is done when the dog is an adult (over 18 months), but a dog may well develop other disorders such as cataracts, etc.

It is important to know that an ERG study cannot determine whether a dog is a carrier of PRA or hereditary Retinopathy, as it is not possible to remove the carriers using the ERG. It seems that some believe that, but it is totally wrong. ERG can only determine if a dog has, or will develop PRA / inherited Retinopathy in the near future.

When we one day find the gene for PRA and hereditary Retinopathy, THEN we can blood test to confirm if a dog is a carrier or not.

For dogs who have received a diagnosis of possible/ suspected PRA or hereditary Retinoppati, we recommend a "second opinion", an eye test done by another veterinarian.If two vets come up with the same conclution, we can assume that the dog has this diagnosis, we might also ask for ERG-check to determine this.

ATTENTION - ATTENTION: We have received warning signs that laboratories in Europe (and the U.S.) do blood tests to determine if a dog has PRA, or is a carrier of PRA. Since no one has found the gene for PRA in Shetland Sheepdogs yet, there is no such test to be done for our bred, so totally wasted to do this.

February 2013:

The Norwegian Shetland Sheepdog Club's GPRA-Committee

Account number to the GPRA-project in Norway:
Address for bank transfer from abroad:
The PRA-Project, Norsk Shetland Sheepdog Club
Den Norske Bank, Farmannsgaten 2, N-1600 Fredrikstad, Norway
Account number: 5010.05.65517 - Swift-address: DNB ANO KK FRE

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