Genetic test for Lundehundsyndrome

Lundehundsyndrome is a severe gastro-enteropathic disease for which the Lundehund has a breed predisposition. The syndrome includes chronic inflammatory defects of the intestine, Protein-Losing Enteropathies (PLE), lymphatic vasodilatation of the intestine, and gastric problems. Affected dogs react to varying degrees to the gastrointestinal disorders with vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and even apathy. Euthanasia is often unavoidable in severe cases or in the case of a persistent chronic course of the disease.

The Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics has investigated the genetic cause of this problem and published a paper in the scientific journal "BMC Genomics". A causal mutation in the gene LEPREL1 could be detected, which leads to a change in the protein and thus acts as a trigger of the Lundehund syndrome. The age of onset of the disease is highly variable, with some dogs developing Lundehundsyndrome as late as 10 years of age. Therefore, detection of the mutation allows early detection of the problem and can allow dog breeders to make specific breeding decisions to prevent the disease.

The following test results are possible:

N/N : Non-predisposition; No disposition for the Lundehundsyndrome.

N/LS : carrier for a disposition for the Lundehundsyndrome

LS/LS : trait carrier; disposition for Lundehundsyndrome is present

The test allows an assessment of the risk of the dog developing Lundehundsyndrom and can estimate the possible transmission of a disposition to the offspring in examined parents.

The form for requesting the TiHo Lundehundsyndrome gene test and an information sheet on blood sample collection and shipment of samples can be found here:

Genetic diversity of Lundehund dogs

The Lundehund is an endangered dog breed.

The Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover Foundation therefore pays special attention to this breed, studies the genetic diversity of this breed very intensively and develops conservation breeding programs.

Our institute is also in contact with Mrs. Claudia Melis, Centre for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491, Trondheim, Norway. Ms. Melis has provided the data of Lund dogs from Norway to our institute for evaluation purposes.

The results show very clearly the reduction of genetic diversity in this breed. The methods we use to determine genetic diversity take into account the SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) available on the Canine Illumina High Density Beadchip, thus ensuring a very deep insight into the polymorphism level of the whole genome. These data allow the breeder to determine the degree of diversity for each individual dog independently of the pedigree data and from this to indicate a genomic inbreeding level. Such an analysis indicates the proportion of the genome that lacks diversity (polymorphism) in the individual animal. In mating planning, these data can be used to predict how large the common portions of the genome that are not expected to show variability in the offspring are in the potential mating partners. These genomic regions are fully devoid of polymorphic regions in both mating partners. The genomic inbreeding coefficient captures by far more generations further back than the inbreeding coefficient calculated via pedigree data. For the inbreeding coefficient calculated via pedigree data, there is no standardization or generally applicable limits to strive for. In the Lundehund, the application of the inbreeding coefficient from pedigree data is particularly problematic, because inbreeding here goes back a long way and dogs that have already been inbred can contribute to a dramatic increase in inbreeding that cannot be detected if the pedigrees are incomplete. The method we use to determine individual genetic diversity overcomes the very large limitations of pedigree data dependent inbreeding coefficients.  

We could not find any scientific evidence that the Lundehund population can be traced back to two founder animals. This lore is found in many texts on the web, scientific evidence is pending. If this assumption were true, the inbreeding would have to increase in each generation according to an exponential curve.