AIM - This study aims to firstly monitor deerhounds under controlled and reproducible conditions to determine accurate heart measurements for the breed and secondly to extend understanding of possible genetic links to deerhound heart conditions.
BENEFITS – This will help the breed as vets will be able to make earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) heart conditions and help establish if there is a genetic link to DCM which will enable further understanding and possible treatment in the long term.
PROGRESS – The first two phases of the project have now been completed and the results have been published in 2021 to provide greater information on typical heart measurements for the Deerhounds for vets . Emily and the Deerhound Club have now secured a £8000 grant from PetSavers for the further genetic research. This genetic research project, GenDeer, website (www.deerhoundgenetics.com) requires blood samples for cardiac bio-markers (Troponin and NT-pro-BNP) and for DNA analysis from hounds of any age which are affected by DCM. In addition echocardiograms from hounds that are affected with DCM are also required. We also need more blood samples for DNA analysis from normal dogs as the control/comparative group. Currently we only have a few DNA samples from DCM affected hounds but these are currently being genome sequenced which is a really exciting development.
FUTURE PLANS - A heart scanning clinic will take place at the Breed Show in 2023 in Scotland. Hounds of any age which meet the criteria to be included in this current research (e.g. are known to be affected by DCM or are subsequently determined to be affected by DCM) will have no charges as tests will be covered by the research fund. Other hounds of any age can still be scanned at the subsidised rate of £125 for initial echocardiograms and £120 for repeat. The Deerhound Club subsidise these scans and they do provide very good value for Club members. Blood tests for normal hounds will not be charged for.
HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Please consider having your hounds heart scanned at the Breed Show. Alternatively if you can host a session at a venue near you and gather together about 7 hounds for screening Emily can complete heart scanning outside the Breed Show. Please contact Sarah Helps to discuss further. Also if you would like to hire Holter heart testing equipment for use in your home please contact Sarah Helps to discuss the use of the Holter monitor further (Tel: 07901911679 or email@example.com). Finally, it would be very beneficial for this research if you could also consider having post-mortem tests completed for DCM affected hounds. It is appreciated that losing your Deerhound will be an extremely upsetting time. We are very sorry for your loss and very much appreciate your consideration of this request. Please see below for the forms required.
REFERENCE MATERIAL AND LINKS
Overview of the Genetic Heart Study (GENDEER) research project by Emily Dutton is available here
November 2022 update of the Genetic Heart Study (GENDEER) research project by Ewelina Korzybska here
Summary of the published paper from the first phases of the Heart Study project outlining Deerhound specific heart interval data is available here
Heart Screening shaving information here
Further information about the Vet leading the study is here -
The article published in the Summer 2013 Newsletter has been updated. See here for the updated report.
Heart Study introduction to post-mortem tests here
Heart Study post-mortem instructions for your vet here
Heart Study submission form for your vet here
PORTOSYSTEMIC SHUNT TESTING
AIM – To assess the incidence of congenital portosystemic shunt (PSS) in Deerhounds and the effectiveness of puppy screening.
BENEFITS – Knowledge of the incidence rates of PSS in Deerhounds will help direct future research efforts. In addition this study will help understand if the current methods of screening at 8 -12 weeks is the most appropriate or if improvements can be made.
PROGRESS – The club has an on-going survey and arrangement with Capital Diagnostics to complete bile acid analysis for Deerhound puppies at a very reasonable price (£4 per puppy). Over 900 puppies have been tested to date and the prevalence of PSS in puppies has been determined at around 2.4%. Additional data analysis has been completed and is available in the report (see reference section). There is also a summary below. The tests are provided by Capital Diagnostics (SAC Veterinary Services) at a subsidised cost.
FUTURE PLANS – This study is on-going and would really benefit from all club members getting their puppies tested by Capital Diagnostics.
HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Get your litters of puppies tested for PSS by your local vet following the procedures outlined in this article in the reference section. Then submit a single serum sample taken 2 hours after feeding your pup to Capital Diagnostics for bile acid analysis. The cost is £4 per puppy. The contact information is Bryn TENNANT on 01315353145, via email: Vsenquiries@sruc.ac.uk or by post - Capital Diagnostics, SAC Veterinary Services, Allan Watt Building, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QE. They will send you a pack containing the laboratory submission form, blood sample tubes and a freepost envelope.
Year number of pups with bile acids >30 micro mol /L total number of pups tested
2014 6 (3.6%) ` 167
2015 5 (4.5%) 110
2016 5 (4.0%) 124
2017 0 (0%) 147
2018 2 (1.89) 106
2019 1 (1.9%) 52
2020 1 (0.8%) 130
2021 3 (3.2%) 95
2022 1 (1.6%) 64
Total 24 (2.4%) 995
The range of bile acids values in the positive dogs indicating PSS is 31.8-288.3 mirco mol / L. A few dogs with values in the lower range at 8 weeks show normal results at 10-12 weeks, the reason for which is unclear, but might be explained by delayed closure of the shunting vessel.
The article published in the Newsletter is given here but note that the costs have increased to £4 per puppy from £2.
PSS May 2017 results update is here
AIM – To report on the causes of death in UK deerhounds and possible trends over the period 2004 – 2014 and 2014 - 2024.
BENEFITS – Will generate greater understanding of health problems and will direct where the club should be focussing health studies/funding to help the breed.
PROGRESS – Sarah Helps is collecting the data and with Duncan Robertson has reported current results for the period 2004 - 2014.
FUTURE PLANS – Sarah is now collecting the data for the next 10 year period with further reporting planned into the future.
HOW CAN MEMBERS GET INVOLVED – Please get in touch with Sarah directly with any information concerning the death of a hound from 2004 onwards. The following information is required KC Registered name of Deerhound, Sex of hound, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Any concurrent illnesses, Cause of death: - Illness/disease/trauma/accident. Evidence if available e.g..post mortem/autopsy/veterinary report. There is also a form to use (available in the reference section below) if you would find that helpful.
Sarah’s contact details are, PORCH HOUSE, VILLAGE ROAD, COLESHILL, AMERSHAM, BUCKS. HP7 0LG
Email: Sarah Helps
Mortality Data Reporting Form