28.07.2020 

The Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust (AHT) have issued a joint statement today (July 28) to advise that, in the wake of this month’s news of the closure of the AHT, the scientific data and biological material including more than 40,000 DNA samples stored at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT’s headquarters in Newmarket have been secured and moved to Cambridge University.

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust has funded the Genetics Centre since 2009. Led by Dr Cathryn Mellersh, the Centre aimed to develop, where possible, simple mouth swab screening tests to determine affected and carrier dogs. In deciding which diseases to investigate, the joint Kennel Club and AHT team was looking at the impact on the health and welfare of dogs, but also on the support of breeders and access to data and samples.

Bill King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: “The Kennel Club and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust have long supported and worked together with the AHT to improve dog health, so it is a very positive development that the Kennel Club’s considerable investment in this area has been saved in spite of a few weeks of uncertainty. Our thanks go to Professor James Wood, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge Vet School, for all his help and assistance in securing the safekeeping of the samples. Future developments will be announced in due course.”

Dr Cathryn Mellersh added: “The Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT was founded to accelerate research into inherited canine disease. Since the Genetics Centre was founded in 2009, by collaborating closely with dog breeders and veterinary surgeons we have developed DNA tests for 22 different inherited diseases which benefit around 50 different breeds of dog.

“We know that breeders make good use of DNA tests to reduce the frequency of these mutations and thus improve the genetic health of countless dogs. There is no reason why this ethos should change now that the information is stored in Cambridge and the Kennel Club Genetics Centre staff are relieved and grateful that all this information and resources have been saved. I would like to personally thank the Kennel Club Charitable Trust for their long standing support of this research and Professor James Wood, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge Vet School, for all his assistance in safeguarding our resources.”

Further information regarding the Kennel Club’s extensive work in the field of canine health and research can be found on the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health

04.07.2020 NEWSFLASH

We are deeply saddened following the latest news from the Animal Health Trust who we have been working with for a number of years for the good of the Italian Spinone. The following link explains how they will cease operations as of next week and will be closing their doors. https://www.aht.org.uk/news/statement-from-the-animal-health-trust . Our thoughts are with the staff who have supported us so well over the years.

CA Testing / DNA Swabs - We have been liaising regularly with the AHT Genetics Department regarding our Cerebellar Ataxia Test and DNA Swabs. At present, they are aiming to complete tests that have already been submitted but that is all. If you have purchased a test kit and have not yet submitted it, we suggest that you do so asap although there are no guarantees they will be able to process the test in the time available before they close. For the time being we have suspended DNA swabs for our DNA bank until we know what the arrangements will be following closure.

Please do not use any other Laboratory offering CA testing until we have been able to confirm which of these, if any, currently offer the Spinone specific CA test. There are several different CA tests available, most of which are for other breeds and therefore will not detect the carrier status in the Spinone for our version of CA which is unique to our breed. If you are an Accredited Breeder and have a litter to register, please bear with us while we sort this out with the Kennel Club. We believe that it is currently only the CA DNA test undertaken by the AHT that is valid for Spinone CA and we are working with the AHT and KC to establish how to proceed. 11.07.2020 We have asked the KC to temporarily suspend the CA Test requirement for registering a litter from Assured Breeders. If this affects you the advice is to email the KC explain the situation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Once testing resumes the sire and dam can then be tested retrospectively.

Our aim is to keep everyone informed as to the situation and how we move forwards. Please be patient with us and the AHT and as soon as we have any information this will be communicated via our website and our face book page.