A question…and an answer

It was asked why Optigen offer a free of charge test for Glen of Imaal Terriers already confirmed with PRA? The Optigen reply:-

Thanks for asking this good question.  One clarification before I reply, though,–OptiGen only accepts dogs that have a definitive diagnosis of PRA-affected (not “suspicious”) for Free PRA testing.

There are two basic reasons for offering this program:

  1. Research:  Part of OptiGen’s mission is to further research and the discovery of new mutations that cause PRA.  Collecting samples from definitively-diagnosed PRA-affected pedigreed dogs provides a useful resource for possible future research projects–either internally at OptiGen or in collaboration with academic laboratories.
  2. Assessment of PRA within a breed/detection of other forms of PRA within the breed:  We are always on the lookout for whether “other” mutations are present in a breed for those breeds that we offer DNA tests for PRA. This helps us educate clients better as to the significance of our DNA tests relative to the incidence of other causes of PRA in the breed.  There are a growing number of breeds in which more than form of PRA is occurring.  (Happily, this is not the case, to the best of our knowledge, in the Glen of Imaal.)  Also by accepting the PRA-affected dogs for DNA testing, we are able to better keep our fingers on the pulse of the disease incidence in the breed and see if/how this changes over time.

Including “suspicious” cases in this sample set significantly muddies the water so we do not include non-definitive cases in the Free testing program.

What we require for acceptance into the Free PRA/Research program is the dog’s pedigree (5-6 generations); copies of eye exams and a blood sample.  I usually send people a research form for submission of these samples. Thanks very much for spreading the word on this program.