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(Updated 22/6/01)

CEA Working group to fund research programme

The CEA Working Group, formed in October 2000, has agreed to fund a programme of research in an endeavour to find a genetically based test for CEA. The programme will be jointly controlled and supervised by the Royal College of Veterinary Science and the Animal Health Trust and will commence on 1st September 2001.

The research will be undertaken by a specially appointed postgraduate student as part of a doctoral thesis and will be supervised by Professor Peter Bedford (RCVS) and Doctor Matthew Binns (AHT). It has been estimated that the programme will demand funding to the tune of approximately £20,000 per year. The eventual test will be relevant to Border Collies, Rough and Smooth Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Lancashire Heelers.

The Group, consisting of representatives of the registered Border Collie breed societies, the International Sheep Dog Society, Shetland Sheepdogs and Lancashire Heelers have, so far, access to funding for the first year. They are continuing their fund raising efforts and are looking to interested persons and organisations to continue the magnificent work which has made it possible for this programme to begin.

The key requirement now is a good supply of blood samples, histories and pedigrees from litters containing affected animals. The success of the project is directly related to the number of samples investigated. For each breed of the five, Doctor Binns needs around 100 samples and associated histories.


To help in the gathering of samples the CEA Working Group have decided to offer a subsidy towards the veterinary costs of sampling and will contribute a maximum of £20 per dog on production of a receipted account from a veterinary surgeon. We are aware that some vets, on learning of the need for the sample will do it either without charge or for a reduced fee; others do not.

The Animal Health Trust guarantee the confidentiality of any material submitted to them and the owners of donor animals will receive what is in effect a free test.

All owners and particularly breeders should be aware that a definite test for CEA will not mean the end of that particular breed or even the end of their own line. In fact the test will widen the available gene pool by allowing breeders to use carrier animals in the knowledge that with the test they can combat the condition and preserve their own breeding lines. Please help us to make this work.

For donations and information on the sampling subsidy, please contact the Group Treasurer, Mrs Marion Withers at Rose Cottage, 0he Green, Bures St. Mary, Suffolk. CO8 5JU or

For other information contact the secretary, Ted Keeton on 01246 590191 or

Criteria for samples for genetic testing from litters that have one or more affecteds.

* Blood from all offspring (as many as possible) including clinically affected and clinically unaffected.
* Blood from parents.
* Blood from as many grandparents as possible.

The sample: Between 3 and 5 mls of blood in an EDTA tube.

Name, breed and KC registration number on each tube and, wherever possible include a copy of the pedigree.
Send tubes to: Dr Matthew Binns, AHT, Lanwades Hall, Kennett, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7UU. Marked ‘For storage for CEA research’.

Ideally, samples should be collected early in the week so that they arrive at the AHT on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Samples can be sent by regular 1st Class post in a ‘Jiffy’ bag or similar receptacle.

The materials and histories collected by the Animal Health Trust will be kept in strict confidence and will not be disclosed to any third party.