Von Willebrands Disease

Von Willebrands disease (vWD) is a genetically inherited bleeding disorder, similar to haemophilia in humans.

All dogs inherit one copy of every gene from both parents. The single gene controlling vWD can be either normal or mutant. For a dog to be affected, it must inherit a copy of the mutant gene from both its parents. Inheriting one normal and one mutant copy results in carrier status. Two normal genes denotes an animal clear of vWD.

Affected animals can range from showing no symptoms at all, to bleeding from gums, nose, blood in urine and faeces, longer bleeding times after surgery etc. Note: these symptoms can be related to many other factors or diseases and are not a diagnosis of vWD.

As we do not want to breed affected dogs, DNA testing prior to a breeding programme is advised. It is true that mating dog and bitch both clear of vWD will eradicate the mutant gene, however, do not discard carriers from your breeding programme. In a numerically small breed with an already limited gene pool, there is a great risk of losing many other desirable traits. First consideration should still be to breed for type and temperament. As long as a carrier is mated to a clear i.e. an animal with “higher” genetic status, then we still achieve the aim of not breeding affected offspring. If a carrier is mated to a DNA-tested clear, the resultant progeny should, ideally, be DNA tested to identify normal or carrier offspring. All DNA or health screens should be used to make a long term educated decision.

The BMTC only advocate the use of DNA testing for vWD testing

A simple swab test is available; please contact Ray and Carol Dunford on Tel: 01539 535107 e-mail: c.dunford225@btinternet.com

For more general information on vWD visit www.vetgen.com or www.aht.org.uk .

For an impartial, confidential discussion, contact Jackie Brown on 01298 79352 or e:mail morridge.topfarm@btinternet.com