The Brittany Club of America was represented at the 5th Canine Health Symposium; held every other year in St. Louis. An update on research sponsored by AKC/CHF with support from Nestle Purina, Morris Foundation, NIH and other organizations was highlighted. The main emphasis of research reported by support of AKC/CHF was detection of a variety of genetically inherited diseases using DNA to find marker genes. This research was made possible by cooperation with breed clubs and breeders. Importance of needed sample collection and those persons with involved dogs submitting samples was emphasized over and over again. Openness is always the key to solving established or emerging genetically inherited diseases. All researchers realize breeders confidence is most important to maintain submission of needed samples. It is becoming more and more obvious, the "art of breeding" needs input from the "science of breeding" to better plan a good sound breeding program. As genetic markers become available, carrier dogs will become better known. These new facts will be used not to always eliminate the carrier from the gene pool, if it is a desirable dog, but to better use scientific knowledge to breed out the unwanted gene as cause of disease or unwanted trait. The old saying " don't throw out the baby and keep the bath water" is becoming more and more a scientific reality in sound breeding programs.
Canine Cancer as a model to study not only dog cancer, but human malignancies is receiving large amount of attention. Some effort is going into treating diseases with novel approaches, particularly use of stem cells seemingly will receive much more attention in coming years.
Brittany DNA Studies is unique whereby the entire genome is under investigation and cataloging of DNA from Brittany's with desirable as well as undesirable traits is unique among all dog breeds. The Marvin D. Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund at UCD made this possible. This research was highlighted in the July 2007 Purina Pro Plan Newsletter. If you have not seen this worthy tribute by Purina, contact me and I will be sure you receive a copy. Additional information about Brittany DNA Studies can be obtained by going to .
In summary, it was a worthwhile conference and the AKC/CHF, Nestle Purina and OFA Foundation deserve a lot of credit for organizing and putting on educational conferences and giving money for worthy research. If you have questions, or comments please contact me. Your support concerning Brittany DNA sample collection and monetary gifts has been outstanding, we must continue this great effort.
Gordon Theilen, DVM