Strobroy Rough Collies


This article was originally produced in 2009 and at that time there were no Collies in the UK who were carrying a clear gene - now 2012 that is slowly being changed by the use of dogs of North American descent.

When I first came into collies I had read every breed book I could find on the breed. I searched every avenue I could and I studied night and day. My aim was to find out everything about this beautiful and elegant breed that I could. I kept coming across the subject of CEA but I could find nothing in the books that truly explained the genetic condition. Now  after endless long nights of research I have found out a lot more on the subject and also the answers to how we eradicate it from our breed.

Not to be confusing the above with a dog who is blind this is by far the case. In fact most collies who do have CEA can live their lives without ever showing any symptoms of the disease. Even puppies that are tested at 8 weeks of age and are“go normal” are still affected to some degree. At the moment there are NO true genetically clear collies of CEA in the UK. Dogs who are affected will carry two affected genes and carriers will still have one. Only true genetically clear dogs dont carry the affected gene at all.

The dog is tested by placing drops into the eye of the puppy usually done around 6-8 weeks and the opthomologist will look into the back of the puppies eye. CEA will appear as a pale spot lateral to the optic disc. This is however a visual test and even when the puppy is passed as been a non carrier/clear that puppy is still not clear unless it has been DNA tested where a blood sample is collected by a vet and it is sent to the lab for screening. This is where we seperate the true clears from the mildly affected. Although there is a high percentage of these mildly affected dogs being cleared in the UK ( I have one of them) they still carry the genetics that lead to passing the gene on to offspring and before we know it, it has been passed on to their offspring and so on. The result of which we have a pool of dogs that get to the stage that they are badly affected by the disease.

Although, as I have stated, most collies who do carry the gene or are diagnosed and graded , will live out most of their lives without any problems. But to the breeder, we must ensure that we do our best to help eradicate this into a pool of collies who are genetically clear of CEA.

So how do we eradicate this I hear you ask.

The only way to truly eradicate this from the breed like any other genetic problem is to use dogs who are genetically clear. And again as I have said, there are no collies in Britain who are genetically clear of the disease. To eradicate this and start clearing up the gene pool we must start to use genetically clear dogs in our breeding programmes. Such a procedure is very lengthy and costly also and cannot be bred out in one litter or over night. It will take time and dedication from dedicated breeders to improve our gene pool.

As you have probably noticed I have used the word Genetic or Genetically a lot of times in the above but these are the key words. If it hasnt been cleared genetically then it isnt clear.

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