Dear Daisy Dog
I read your column about the urate bladder stones that are so common in Dalmatians. My 9-year-old Dal developed urate stones, and I’d like to minimize the chances that the puppy I’m about to buy will have the same problem.
Is the disorder inherited, and if so, is there a genetic test that can determine whether the pup I’m considering -– or either of his parents -– has the “bladder stone” gene?
Yes, and yes. Genetics researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine recently identified the gene that determines uric acid levels in the urine.
The gene is called SLC2A9, and each dog has a pair.
The school’s Veterinary Genetics Laboratory offers a test to determine whether a dog’s SLC2A9 genes are normal or mutated.
A dog with two mutated copies of the gene excretes high levels of uric acid in the urine and will probably develop urate bladder stones.
A dog with one abnormal gene is a carrier, apparently unaffected but capable of passing the defective gene to his or her offspring.
Your breeder can test the pup you’re considering, as well as his parents and the family’s other breeding dogs. Collecting the DNA is easy: the breeder simply swabs the inside of the dog’s cheek to gather some cells.
The test is a bargain at $65 per dog. For more information, go to www.vgl.ucdavis.edu and click on Services.