“Benelli,” or “Benny” for short, was 5 years old in 2007 when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right front leg. The gregarious Rottweiler, titled in conformation, obedience, carting, and as a therapy dog, seemed to have a bum leg from the start. At 18 months old, Benny, painfully lame, had surgery for elbow dysplasia.
Terrier breeders who have had dogs that suffer from primary lens luxation (PLL), a painful, genetic eye disorder that often leads to blindness, shared relief when the gene mutation was discovered last fall by researchers at the University of Missouri, and the Animal Health Trust and the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom. By mid-September a DNA test was available for PLL, allowing breeders to test dogs to determine which ones are carriers, affected and normal.
The recent discovery of the causative gene mutation for vestibular deafness in Doberman Pinschers, and the subsequent development of a direct DNA test to identify carriers, is expected to have an impact on reducing the suspected 13 percent of Doberman puppies born with the disorder.