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New research project in SCWTs

The Royal Veterinary Collegehas confirmed it is to carry out exciting new research project in the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier this summer.

The project will be led by Dr Karin Allenspach, Lecturer in Internal Medicine at the RVC, Dr Allenspach has also worked in America with a team led by Dr Shelly Vaden, at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, researching protein-losing diseases in the Wheaten.

Dr Allenspach's research will hopefully demonstrate whether the pANCA test (at present used in human medicine to diagnose conditions such as Crohn’s disease) may be a useful tool in the early detection of protein-losing disease in the breed. If this proves to be the case, the test could be useful in identifying cases before the dogs become ill, enabling them to receive early treatment and their participation in breeding programmes to be re-assessed. The prevalence of Protein-losing diseases in this country is thought to be quite low at present and this is therefore an ideal time to tackle the issue.

In order to estimate how many dogs in the UK population are pANCA positive, blood samples need to be obtained from at least 200 dogs; preferably 100 dogs in the age group of 2-4 years and 100 dogs in the age group 4 years and older.

The pANCA test result is unaffected by any other health issues in the dog at the time of testing; for example, the result would not be altered, even if the dog had already been diagnosed with any other disease. In order to maximise the potential benefits from this project, we hope to combine efforts and send any leftover samples to Dr Cathryn Mellersh at the AHT for their genetic studies.

Testing sessions will be held through the months of July and August at various locations. Blood samples will be taken and then tested at the RVC. Results can be expected to be released 6-8 weeks after sampling. There will be no charge for this. The pANCA test result of each individual dog will be known only to myself and the respective owner. (Although it is strongly recommended that the owner shares this information with the breeder of the dog and the SCWT Club of GB.)
Dr Allenspach is very enthusiastic about this project. The independent, breed health group, Wheaten Health Initiative, have offered their full support to Dr Allenspach in the organisation of testing sessions, publicity etc. We are hoping that owners and breeders of Wheatens will allow their dogs to participate in this ground-breaking research. Finding the necessary number of Wheatens, particularly in the 2 – 4 year age-range will not be an easy task.

The first testing session is taking place on June 3rd and is now fully booked but the next opportunity to take part is offered by the SCWT Club of GB at their Fun Day on July 1st at Watlington Village Hall in Oxfordshire. A further testing session is planned by WHI at Weedon Bec Village Hall on August 5th.

More information on this and other items relating to Wheaten health can be found by visiting the WHI website at: www.wheaten-health-initiative.co.uk

For further details of testing sessions or to book a place, please contact WHI, Email: wheatenhealth@hotmail.com or telephone Carole Barnes-Davies on 01245 231434 or Lynn Carter on 01793 765253. Alternatively contact Judy Creswick, Secretary of the SCWT Club of GB, Email: scwt.sec@jacreswick.demon.co.uk