Research into Late Onset Ataxia in PRT

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Animal Health Trust

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research into Late Onset Ataxia in Parson Russell Terrier

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Late Onset Ataxia is a neurological disorder of a serious nature which has no cure. This condition involves the spinal nerves affecting the myelin sheathes


This affects the coordination of movement and an affected individual will have great difficulty moving and turning. As the disease progresses the dogs loose control of there rear and are unable to stand or move at all. In postmortems Pathologists have also found that dog may also have  dilation of the heart and mega esophagus.

 The PRT breed has had a number of individual dogs subjected to LOA. I personally have bred a couple of dogs affected with this condition and one of my stud dog has produced puppies with this condition to other breeders bitches.

The AHT have found that this is inherited as a autosomal recessive trait, which means a dog must have two defective copies (one from each parent) to be affected. A dog once tested will be classified as one of the following three classifications :-

Clear - 2 normal copies of the implicated gene - the dog does not have ataxia, is not a carrier for ataxia and cannot produce carrier or affected offspring.

Carrier -  1 normal copy and one defective copy of the implicated gene - the dog is not affected by ataxia but is a carrier of the gene.  He can pass the gene onto his offspring.


Affected - 2 defective copies of the implicated gene - the dog has ataxia, and will pass the gene onto offspring.


The Animal Health Trust are currently researching this disorder & working towards a DNA Test for LOA they are very close to finding a test for this disease but to complete their work are in urgent need of additional funds.


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Lesley Roberts 
Galashiels, Scotland, United Kingdom
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