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AHT Life Magazine 2018

Leading science and care

Leading science and care for animals Helping to improve the lives of future generations of dogs through genetics DNA testing is an important way to help breed healthier, happier dogs. We develop and sell DNA tests, with all the profits re-invested into more research to help more dogs. DNA tests can help eradicate specific inherited diseases from a breed by enabling breeders to carefully select which dogs to breed from based on whether they are affected, a carrier or clear of a specific inherited disease. In most cases the disease-causing mutation is recessive, meaning carriers can be safely bred to clear dogs, thus keeping the breed’s gene pool as diverse as possible. If simple breeding ‘rules’ are followed affected puppies can be easily avoided, although some carriers may be produced. This is not a problem - carriers will not develop the disease themselves, but any carriers that will be bred from in the future will also need DNA testing so that two carriers are not bred together. Our research develops these tests by studying the DNA of dogs known to be affected with a disease, such as progressive retinal atrophy or glaucoma, and studying the DNA of dogs known to be clear of the disease. Once a mutation is identified and its function is scientifically proven, a DNA test is developed and sold through our DNA Testing Service, which sells over 10,000 DNA tests a year. These tests are quick and painless to use and help to prevent future generations of dogs being affected by known inherited diseases. Give a Dog a Genome Give a Dog a Genome is a pioneering project which is making the mutation-finding process quicker and more efficient by creating a ‘canine genome bank’, so that we can develop more tests and help even more dogs. Using new whole genome sequencing technology to sequence the genome (all the DNA required to ‘make a dog’, of which there are 2.4 billion letters of DNA!) of 85 different dogs (from 77 different breeds in total) these data make up the UK’s largest canine genome bank. Once fully analysed by our team, all of this information will significantly further our understanding of which changes in the canine genome are neutral and which have a negative effect on dog health, aiding all future canine genetics research projects. This is already helping to speed up our research and will be a permanent resource which will help other researchers around the world, as we publish what we learn. For more information about this research, go to www.aht.org.uk/genetics To buy a DNA test for your dog, go to www.ahtdnatesting.co.uk 22 AHT Life

Find out more at www.aht.org.uk Specialists at the AHT have saved Errol’s life - more than once! Poor Errol hasn’t had it easy. He was found abandoned as a kitten four years ago, one of a large litter of feral kittens rescued by the RSPCA and fostered by AHT nurses. Since then, the AHT has helped Errol not once, but twice – as he has needed two major operations. The first was a life or death situation as Errol had a blocked intestine, called an intussusception. This is where part of the intestine folds into another section, causing an obstruction. This is quite unusual in an adult cat and Errol was rushed in for emergency surgery to remove the damaged intestine and bowel, before it was too late. Errol was at very high risk of the intestine perforating, which would have made Errol’s condition extremely serious. Fortunately, Errol was operated on just in “I’m so grateful to the teams who diagnosed and ‘fixed’ Errol, time and after a long period of on both occasions! It wasn’t just the one vet or vet nurse who intensive recovery (where he treated Errol on his various trips to the AHT, he benefited had to be fed through a feeding from the expertise of the theatre teams, anaesthesia, internal tube which was placed during his medicine, diagnostic imaging and surgery, as well as the surgery), Errol made a complete wonderful nursing and kennel teams to get him through his recovery from the procedure. recovery periods – both of which took a long time and required a lot of cage rest. I’m so grateful for everything the AHT has Unluckily for Errol though, his done, Errol is a very special cat and I really hope to be able to time at home was short-lived keep him out of any more trouble – however, losing his tail before he was hit by a car. doesn’t seem to have slowed him down!” Julia, Errol’s Owner Less than a year after his first Errol operation, Errol returned to the AHT as another emergency case. This time Errol suffered a fractured pelvis and his tail could not be saved. His tail was amputated and after a steady recovery, Errol eventually got back on his feet. We hope Errol has many more of his nine lives left and that we don’t have to see him again on our feline ward! AHT Life 23

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