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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been away from this community for a few years - except to post about my boy’s cancer journey and eventual passing one year ago. So I have been somewhat out of the loop on quality breeding criteria. I work in animal welfare - particularly community outreach - and help a lot of people identify sources for pet purchase and adoption.

I know lots has happened in science since then! Has any of this affected the tests that good breeders will do before choosing to breed? Or is it still the same old 4 tests, preferably submitted to OFA? Are there additional optional tests for Goldens available now? For other breeds? Different databases to look at? I know for cats they do blood testing for a number of genetic markers through a 23andMe type thing.
 

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I'm sure more knowledgeable members will chime in, but FWIW from a non-breeder:
  • Same four core clearances are the absolute minimum per the CoE. Hips and elbows (done at or after 24 months), heart by cardiologist, eyes done yearly
  • In my experience, the two "new" diseases that have cropped up in recent years that I would want a dog tested for are ichthyosis and NCL
  • Yes, I think more and more breeders are making use of the DNA test to look for markers for ICT, NCL, and the eye diseases. If they do, the results are usually on K9Data and/or OFA. You might find it interesting to use either database to look up the breeders you are familiar with and see what they are doing with their current breeding dogs.
Hope that helps...
 

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I would say that most responsible breeders are doing DNA testing in addition to the core 4. Not everyone posts the test results on OFA because - I only put NCL up on OFA - but they are usually shown on k9data. I personally like Embark because they give you a lot more information about your dog’s genotype for a really good price than some of the others. Additionally, if someone asks for the test results, they can be shared directly from the Embark website to ensure that no results are manipulated.

There are some irresponsible breeders that only do DNA testing without the other clearances. They try to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting puppy buyers.

In general though, I think the answer is that yes, science is advancing to help us breed healthier dogs. There are several cancer studies currently being done as well to help us figure out why Goldens are so susceptible.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I would say that most responsible breeders are doing DNA testing in addition to the core 4. Not everyone posts the test results on OFA because - I only put NCL up on OFA - but they are usually shown on k9data. I personally like Embark because they give you a lot more information about your dog’s genotype for a really good price than some of the others. Additionally, if someone asks for the test results, they can be shared directly from the Embark website to ensure that no results are manipulated.

There are some irresponsible breeders that only do DNA testing without the other clearances. They try to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting puppy buyers.

In general though, I think the answer is that yes, science is advancing to help us breed healthier dogs. There are several cancer studies currently being done as well to help us figure out why Goldens are so susceptible.
That’s really helpful! Thank you.

Do you feel there is anything on the DNA tests that’s really vital for a breeder to know before breeding? A test for something that would rule the dog out for breeding?

I can imagine that the DNA tests are bigger amongst backyard operations - looks legit but maybe not as useful as the physical tests.

Also, I just posted about a new cancer study in the Cancer section the other day!
 

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NCL is a must-do, imo.
And as soon as ICT2 is more available, I would expect it to also be done. Both of these diseases are totally preventable and predictable via DNA.
 

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Agree with Robin. NCL is deadly and all breeding animals should be tested for it. Most DNA panels for breeding include all of the available tests for Golden Retrievers so you can test for everything at once with the exception of ICH-2 because only one provider in the US is testing for it right now. It’s so brand new that the studies haven’t even been peer-reviewed yet.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Oh this is very helpful friends!

How common is NCL in Goldens?

Is “ICT2” and “ICH-2” both referring to Ichthyosis? Is the “2” a new version? I know my dog’s sire was tested for the condition like 5 years ago.

Is there a way for Puppy Buyers to check on the results themselves other than requesting it to be sent directly when it’s Embark?

Would it be useful to have a sticky on this?
 

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Anyone can look @ Embark results if they have the link to the dog.
That takes owner sharing it.
ICT2 is the new variant, your dog's sire would have been tested for ICT1. And we don't know on NCL. Lots of dogs haven't been tested. Until more are, no telling how common. It's too dangerous to risk - get it and die.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good to know!

if a dog dies of NCL is it clear that’s what the cause was?
 

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Oh this is very helpful friends!

How common is NCL in Goldens?

Is “ICT2” and “ICH-2” both referring to Ichthyosis? Is the “2” a new version? I know my dog’s sire was tested for the condition like 5 years ago.

Is there a way for Puppy Buyers to check on the results themselves other than requesting it to be sent directly when it’s Embark?

Would it be useful to have a sticky on this?
If the results are posted on k9data, puppy buyers can view them. My girl’s sire has all of his DNA testing on OFA, so it can be directly verified there. Here’s a link to her pedigree so you can see how I posted her results and how her sire’s results are posted. Pedigree: Arkgold Eeveelution CGC TKN
 
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Re: NCL
With what we know today, and looking at the pedigree, we could probably make a pretty good case for NCL based on symptoms, history, and pedigree. HOWEVER, there was recently a dog that died in Europe that died at ~2 years, seizures, biting, abnormal behavior, etc from a "problematic" pedigree, and the dog was tested clear. It would be very easy to make an incorrect assumption if you didn't know that the pedigree was also susceptible to seizures. Therefore, testing for NCL is critical. We know it is out there. We know that it is in pedigrees where we wouldn't necessarily suspect it. We know that there seem to be more "affected" puppies in litters than we would expect from a carrier x carrier breeding. The most important fact about NCL is that it is fatal.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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Re: NCL
With what we know today, and looking at the pedigree, we could probably make a pretty good case for NCL based on symptoms, history, and pedigree. HOWEVER, there was recently a dog that died in Europe that died at ~2 years, seizures, biting, abnormal behavior, etc from a "problematic" pedigree, and the dog was tested clear. It would be very easy to make an incorrect assumption if you didn't know that the pedigree was also susceptible to seizures. Therefore, testing for NCL is critical. We know it is out there. We know that it is in pedigrees where we wouldn't necessarily suspect it. We know that there seem to be more "affected" puppies in litters than we would expect from a carrier x carrier breeding. The most important fact about NCL is that it is fatal.
this is helpful. Thank you!
 
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