Monday, March 14, 2011

Border Terrier Agility Jump Breed and Breeder Test DNA Your Dogs

Border Terrier DNA research has just begun on this disorder and it is a very important factor in discovering the cause. Eventually it will help to discover an effective way to treat this condition. More importantly, DNA research can result in finding a DNA marker that will enable breeders to create their own intelligent breeding program that will enable them to exclude affected dogs. As well, it will allow Border Terrier breeders to test young puppies to determine if they are affected, carriers or clear. The following information explains what you can do, as a Border Terrier fancier, to help in finding this very important DNA marker in our breed.

If you have a Border Terrier suspected of having CECS/Spike's Disease, you can supply important DNA information for the project. Participation by the owners of affected dogs and their relatives is essential to the success of this project.

Border Terrier

Because CECS/Spike’s Disease is still a mystery in many ways, important information must be gathered to help find both the cause of this disorder as well as a way to accurately diagnose it (by finding the DNA marker for this disorder and to eventually find an accurate way to medicate for it). Most importantly, finding a DNA marker for this disorder will allow Border Terrier breeders to do intelligent breedings to avoid producing CECS Border Terrier dogs. The following material should be submitted to the University of Missouri to aid in their DNA research:

The ideal sample for DNA extraction is 5-10cc’s of whole blood, in purple-topped (EDTA) tubes. For very small dogs or puppies, 3ccs should be sufficient. The blood sample needs only to be put in the tubes and
rocked gently a few times to distribute the anticoagulant – do not spin, extract serum or anything further. Refrigerate if the sample is being held for any time before shipping. There is no cost for this beyond your local veterinarian's draw and shipping.

Border Terrier DOG’S PEDIGREE (preferably a 4-5 generation pedigree)
If you only know your dog’s sire and dam and their AKC registration numbers (found on their AKC registration slip, you can go to the American Kennel Club site and order an online pedigree for $10. If you do not have a way to gather a full pedigree, then you can send your dog’s sire and dam’s name and registration numbers to the University of Missouri and they will take the time to do this. You may also contact Kris Blake for help on gathering your dog’s pedigree information.


There is an attached short form created by the University of Missouri that must be filled out and accompany the blood sample and pedigree.

There is an attached short form created by the University of Missouri that must be filled out and accompany the Border Terrier blood sample and pedigree.

Frozen Semen
If there is frozen semen stored from sires or affected dogs, DNA can be extracted from it. Please send 2 straws. They do not need to be shipped frozen, but do pack them in a crush-proof container.

Tissue Sample
Tissue removed as a result of surgery, or an organ sample upon death of the dog will provide a large amount of DNA for research. Please discuss this with your vet ahead of time if you intend to do this. (If the dog is to be euthanized, have a blood sample pulled first, if possible, and send both samples.) First choice is spleen, second choice kidney, and third choice is liver (a piece about the size of your thumb is all that is needed - not the entire organ). One tissue sample is sufficient. Have the organ removed as soon as possible following death, place into a labeled freezer bag, put that into a second bag, freeze, and ship.

The Border Terrier developed in the Cheviot Hills on the northern border of England. Once called the Coquetdale Terrier it has been a favorite of the farmers in its native land for centuries. The gentry desired
the Border Terrier's size so that they would have a dog that could "go to ground" after a fox, yet keep up with the horses during a chase. Its most unique physical characteristic is a very distinctive head with the physical appearance like that of an otter.

For the Border Terrier I recommend foods with horse meat, wheat and yellow corn. The starch and carbohydrates should come from potatoes and not rice or beets. You also should avoid feeding a Border Terrier any soy, poultry, or white fish. Native food supplies for this breed would have been fox, hare, and
rodents - with wheat and low ground vegetables (potato, carrot, and cabbage) that could be grown in the rocky soil of the Cheviot Hills area.


We are urging all Border terrier owners to screen their dogs for heart defects, both as puppies and as adults and to report the results. These screenings can help breeders to identify defects, which are potentially harmful to the dog, may have a genetic basis and should not be propagated. Having your Border terrier dogs evaluated and the results reported will also help the breed as a whole by allowing researchers to determine the incidence and progression of congenital heart defects in the border terrier. When the true incidences of genetically based health issues are known we can better prioritize how we spend our resources to insure the future health and soundness of the breed that we love.


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