Skip to content

Cataract Research

Following the successful work by Cambridge and Optigen into PRA inheritance in the Finnish Lapphund, the Kennel Club Genetics centre (formerly the Animal Health Trust) are working with Finnish scientists to investigate the possible mode of inheritance of cataracts in the northern breeds, including Finnish Lapphunds.

It is hoped that owners and breeders of FLs will work as hard as they did when supplying samples for the PRA testing.

Cathryn Mellersh is leading the study here in UK and Dr Hannes Lohi is working from the University of Helsinki

Help is needed in supplying samples (cheek swab samples are perfectly ok) from Finnish Lapphunds affected by cataracts, and also their close relatives whether affected or not (e.g parents and litter mates/half siblings or offspring). In addition any dogs over the age of 9 years of age who have been eye tested (under KC schemes) and have clear eye certificates, will also be useful in looking at animals who will not show the condition.

What is needed are copies of ALL eye exams for both affected and unaffected dogs (i.e. history of the dog’s tests throughout its life where appropriate), and also copies of pedigrees, and of course the cheek swabs. Please request a sampling kit and ensure you provide all the dog’s details & permission to use the sample for research.

There is a concerted effort by Finnish owners to collect as many samples as possible and the work was recently featured in their Lapinokoira magazine – let us hope that breeders and owners here in UK will be able to help, in the early days testing where owners actively shared results, some eight dogs were reported as having cataracts if we can track all eight and arrange for them to be sampled as above and as many of their close relatives it will be a good start for the test, plus of course any others who have been diagnosed more recently – as in recent cases it will no doubt be easier to sample a wider group of living relatives.

With everyone working to get as many samples collected and sent to KCGC – maybe it will not be too many years before we can have an accurate blood test to highlight the cataract gene as we now have for prcd-1 PRA.

It should be noted that of 4106 tests in finland it has been shown that the incidence of HC is 3.19% (that of PRA is only 1.8% as there has been active selection away form using carrier and affected dogs in recent years and this figure for PRA will reduce further as more dogs are DNA tested.) We should therefore be concerned about HC in our breed.

Breeders may also be interested to know that the incidence of PHTVL/PHPV (Persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous) are at 1.63% of tested dogs, PHTVL/PHPV are congenital eye anomalies that can lead to cataract formation, since they are congenital breeders would perhaps be advised to litter screen puppies at 7-8 weeks of age?

Do not hesitate to contact us for further information or to request a sampling kit using the form below

More information on Eye disease research at the KCGC

Request Swab kit

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more