Animal Health Trust investigation into frequencies of the mutations associated with dry eye curly coat syndrome and episodic falling in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the UK
In April 2011 the Animal Health Trust (AHT) was pleased to announce the launch of two new DNA tests for dry eye curly coat syndrome and episodic falling in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS). These tests have been made available as the result of genetic studies carried out at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT. To assist CKCS breeders further, we are now gathering information about the frequency of these two mutations in the current UK population. This will entail the collection and testing of DNA from a random selection of CKCS of breeding age so that we can determine the percentage of dogs carrying the mutations.

We propose collecting cheek swab samples from 200 individual dogs (20 from each of the ten regional breed clubs). Each dog will be tested free of charge for both conditions. Sampling dogs from all of the regional breed clubs provides a means of gathering data from a wide geographical area, and we would prefer that each of the 200 dogs tested has a different sire and dam to maximise the cross section of the CKCS population that we sample.

The Eastern Counties Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Society is inviting members to register an interest in taking part. The general guidelines for eligibility of dogs taking part are:
  • One dog can be tested free of charge per owner. (Submit as many that qualify in case we need them)
  • dogs must have been born on or after 1st July 2005
  • dogs must be registered with the Kennel Club in the UK
  • each of the twenty selected dogs should have a unique dam
  • each of the twenty dogs should also have a unique sire (although we may make an exception should this prove difficult)
With the help of the Kennel Club breed health representative, Peter Towse, a nationwide list of 200 dogs suitable for testing will be compiled from the lists of 20 dogs submitted by each regional club and the AHT will post a cheek swab sampling kit to owners of those dogs who have been selected. DNA testing will be performed in our laboratory once all the samples have been submitted. The standard £48 fee for the combined test will be waived for participating dogs, and owners will not be charged for email notification of their dog’s results. A certificate can be sent to owners on request for a £10 fee to cover administrative costs. Individual test results will remain confidential. Once data analysis is complete, a report summarising the overall findings will be made available to all participating CKCS breed clubs.

To register your interest in participating in this study, please contact your health representative , in the first instance, providing your name, address, telephone and email address. Then the name, date of birth, KC registration number, microchip #, sex, colour, sire and dam of the dog you would like to participate in the study. Peter can be contacted at .

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