The IWSA and the SIWSC are working together, with the KC and the AHT, in the 'Give a Dog a Genome' project which aims to improve canine health by applying the latest genome sequencing technology to canine genetics research.

The project was launched at the beginning of 2016 with a grant of £50,000 from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. This was enough funding to sequence 25 genomes, or half the funding required to sequence the genomes of 50 different dogs. The AHT then used a crowdfunding technique to double the funding by asking breed communities to donate £1,000 to secure their breed one of the first 50 places available on the project, helping to create the UK’s largest canine genome bank.

We are very pleased to confirm that IWS are one of the 50 different breeds accepted into the project, for genetic sequencing, with both breed clubs contributing £500 to fund the work.

The main aim of this research is to gain a much better understanding of which DNA changes are neutral and those which are likely to have a negative effect on dog health, by using whole genome sequencing technology to look very closely at all 2.4 billion letters of DNA in a dog’s genome. We believe this will have profound effects on our ability to identify mutations which cause inherited diseases in purebred dogs, and the rate at which we can develop new DNA tests as tools for breeders in the future.

Both clubs were asked by AHT to list top 3 health issues for the IWS.  The health issue that both Clubs listed as the greatest problem was cancer but the range of issues covered by 'cancer' was too broad for the study and unfortunately this was rejected by the AHT.   Instead, they considered whether to look at a healthy  IWS, aged 8 years and over, which had had a full exam by a DIPECVO recognised specialist ophthalamogist OR an IWS diagnosed with Idopathetic Epilepsy - which means no underlying cause can be identified.

The AHT research is to be anonymised with each breed involved being asked to submit 3 potential dogs to be considered for the study.  The AHT selects which dog it will use for the genetic sequencing and will not disclose the identity of the subject chosen.  The AHT have now confirmed that they would like to do the research on IWS with epilepsy and have requested that we identify 3 IWS, that meet their criteria, so they can send out swabs.  They will select 1 of the 3 swabs returned to them and the identity of the chosen dog will remain anonymous.

We are now requesting that any IWS owner, who has a dog that has been diagnosed with epilepsy and is willing to be involved in this research, to contact Sue Hempstead, our IWS Breed Health Co-ordinator, to see if their dog meets the AHT requirements.  Please be assured that involvement in this project will be anonymous.  We only need to know the pet name of your IWS.  3 dogs will be identified as potential participants by Sue, as the Breed Health Coordinator, and the AHT will decide which dog is sequenced. Any discussions with Sue about potential candidates will be kept confidential and will not be communicated with either breed clubs without the express permission of the IWS owner.  Neither Sue, nor the breed clubs will know which dog has been selected.

Contact details for Sue Hempstead are: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07764154401

If you would like further details regarding the 'Give a Dog a Genome' project this can be found on the AHT website. http://www.aht.org.uk/gdg