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Hieronder een stuk geschreven door Barbara Kessler. Hoe verder te gaan met het fokken van Greyhounds, nu duidelijk is dat er een significant percentage van de populatie drager is van het gen dat Greyhound Neuropathie veroorzaakt. Zie ook het artikel over de oorzaak van Neuropathie.

Greyhound Hereditary Neuropathy – How To Continue Now

At the time of writing, more than 200 blood samples of show greyhounds have been analyzed. Even if affected puppies and their parents are not counted (which are a kind of pre-selected samples who would falsify the statistics), Cord Droegemueller reported about nearly one third carriers among all tested Greyhounds. That’s a lot!

We should be well aware that the defect gene might be found nearly everywhere – in suspicious bloodlines but also in dogs where nobody would have thought to find it. 

Of course, temptation is great to remove all carriers from breeding immediately, to get rid of this defect gene as soon as possible. But we shouldn’t forget that the gene pool of show bred Greyhounds is already quite limited – a further reduction would probably create new problems. GHN isn’t the only health problem in the breed, but it’s the easiest to control one, nowadays!

The challenge for us breeders now is to deal reasonably and thoughtfully with the information we get from testing our dogs. Of course it’s a great relief to see the own dogs free, but having carriers doesn’t mean a disaster at all! If they are healthy, fit and beautiful dogs who would be an important part of your breeding programme, breed them! You just have to make sure that the other parent is genetically neuropathy-free – then no single affected puppy will be born ever again . We are not breeding “neuropathy-or-not” only, we are breeding Greyhounds! Outstanding dogs or bitches, who probably have far more virtues to give, shouldn’t be reduced on the neuropathy aspect only. That shouldn’t be misunderstod as a carte blanche to breed each and every carrier, but if such a carrier is of exceptional quality and great breeding value, it could be important to leave him within the gene pool, despite of his neuropathy status.

Of course it will be the long-term goal to remove the defect gene from the population one day, but we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath by acting precipitously. Regarding the probably quite high percentage of carriers within the gene pool, it would be nearly irresponsible to remove them all from breeding at once. Reducing the percentage of carriers slowly from generation to generation, continuing testing as long as necessary is far the better way. In the end we will get rid of the gene as well – but without the risk of a dramatic limitation of the gene pool.

GHN is a terrible, fatal disease, but now it’s a problem of the past! We now have a tool to control it, and should not focus on it as the only criterium for breeding from a dog or not. 


Dr. med. vet. Barbara Kessler

Chair for Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology

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