Actively supporting health testing & research into conditions affecting the Pastoral Breeds. Development of health tests is vital to ensure that we have the tools necessary for breeding and promoting animals that are "fit for function", sound and healthy
Various databases have been setup by organisations & individuals which include details on hereditary diseases in breeds within the Pastoral Group.
The Pastoral Breeds Health Foundation began it's life as the CEA Working Group. In 1999 the Border Collie Club of Great Britain created a fund to raise money for the research into Collie Eye Anomaly. In 2000 the CEA Working Group was formed - this group contained representatives from all registered Border Collie societies, the Lancashire Heeler and the ISDS and Shetland Sheepdog societies. Dr Jeff Sampson, Genetics Co-ordinator to the Kennel Club sat as an advisor. The objective was to promote research into genetically transmitted conditions and diseases affecting Border Collies and related breeds.
The first and prime target was CEA and the group were in discussion with the scientific community to identify a research project that would concentrate on finding a genetic test for the condition. Health surveys conducted in the UK & USA were analysed to identify further areas of concern.
After the DNA test for CEA became widely available, it was clear to the participating Breed Clubs and Societies that the name "CEA Working Group" needed to be re-thought. The title of "Pastoral Breeds Health Foundation" was decided upon because of the original objective which was, and still is, to promote research into genetically transmitted conditions and diseases affecting Border Collies and related breeds.
Since becoming the PBHF, the foundation has worked on a number of projects including endorsing the MDR1 DNA test across many of the pastoral breeds, promoting the availability of testing via the clinics and publishing information on certain drugs known to cause adverse reactions from dogs that are mutant/mutant (m/m).
Various DNA tests have been developed for the Shetland Sheepdog and are available.
Most recently, and following research funded in part by the PBHF, the DNA test for pre-disposition to glaucoma was developed and launched. The test is supported by the UK Kennel Club. Numerous clinics have been held worldwide and hundreds of dogs tested, reducing the major risk of blindness in the Border Collie. Research continues to find the final link on what makes a GG affected dog progress to glaucoma and loss of eyes. However, we just do not have enough dogs to follow up. For example, we estimate we would need something like 20 to 30 dogs with glaucoma and the same number of GG with severe goniodysgenesis. We therefore are encouraging the saving of any DNA from any dogs that have lost eyes for possible future research. The current DNA by design will, if used correctly, reduce the cases of glaucoma. There is now clear evidence of this being the case.
New research areas are PRA in Shelties, lymphoma in all pastoral breeds and thyroid conditions in the Border Collie. For many years the PBHF have supported epilepsy research and will continue to do so.