Daynakin Great Danes LLC 
Est. 1974

Championship Quality AKC Fawn & Brindle Great Danes 
For Show, Performance and Companionship

Health Studies

(posted 02/20/13)

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February 2013

OFA Great Dane Health Survey

Please participate!!

Dear GDCA Member:
As some of you may know, OFA/CHF offers a free online health & welfare survey to CHIC breeds like ours. For the past year I have been working with Eddie Dzuik & Robin Nuttall to produce such a survey for the Great Dane. This is now active & I invite all Dane owners to go to this link & answer the survey for each Dane they have owned:

Link to the Survey

These online surveys do have their limitations, bear in mind. They must be formatted to avoid text answers and only certain parameters, a certain length (which restricted the number of questions) are possible;
so certainly not every issue of all will be addressed with complete satisfaction. Plus there isn't true scientific rigor when it comes to the sample being unbiased. That said, I do feel the major issues and areas are addressed adequately. And given we get a large enough number of respondents, we should at least be able to "take the breed's temperament" (so to speak) as to majors concerns of health & welfare.
This will both allow to better direct research where choices exist, help with education efforts where relevant, and even provide the basis for a more formal health survey.

It's been more than a decade since a health survey has been done on our breed. This one is free, another pioneering program offered by OFA. Note please I insured this survey is open to ALL Danes worldwide , not just AKC Danes. So please take the time to fill out the survey. Thank you.

Best regards, JP Yousha
Chairman, Health and Research Committee
Great Dane Club of America

2013 GDCA National Specialty

Be sure to check the North East Division Website often for exciting updates and deadlines.

Click here for the 2013 National Website

To encourage and promote the quality in breeding of purebred Great Danes and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.

(posted 11/16/12)
The CHIC DNA Repository, co-sponsored by the OFA and the AKC/CHF, collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding genealogic and phenotypic information to facilitate future research and testing aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs.

•Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the sample collection process
•Provide researchers with optimized family groups needed for research
•Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA based disease tests as they become available
•Foster a team environment between breeders/owners and the research community improving the likelihood of genetic discovery

Kits can beordered directly for a nominal fee from this website:

Looking for MEGA pups/MEGA survivors for Dane study
(posted 10/27/12)
I am looking for puppies & adults who have a congenital megaesophagus diagnosis as both part of our Great Dane Genome Project & an independent study seeking to understand the underlying genetic mechanism involved. You can simply contact me privately with the information on a Dane you own/bred with this condition & I will take care of it from there, or, if you rather, contact Dr. Leigh Anne Clark of Clemson University directly:


(posted Jan. 2012)


The researchers at Van Andel Research Institutes and TGEN have found regions of interest in the genome (genetic changes) in Doberman Pinschers that appear to be associated with Wobblers Syndrome (Caudal Cervical Spondylopathy) in that breed!!!!

Now they are asking for more samples from Mastiffs and Great Danes that have Wobblers to compare their DNA to the DNA from the affected Doberman Pinschers!!

In a couple of weeks they will be running specialized SNIP Chips for various research projects and they would like to include more samples from Mastiffs and Great Danes with Wobblers!!!

This is an EXCITING RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY FOR MASTIFFS and I encourage everyone with a Mastiff with Wobblers to order FREE DNA Saliva Kits today and as soon as you receive them collect the sample of saliva from your affected Mastiffs and Great Danes and immediately return the kits to have them included in this important research!!!

You'll receive a submission form with the free DNA Saliva Kits and you can include the details of symptoms and diagnosis information on the form for the researchers to use when studying the data from these samples..... PLEASE HELP AND PLEASE SHARE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW THAT HAS A MASTIFF OR GREAT DANE WITH WOBBLERS!!!

If the Wobblers dog has already passed away, they will also accept DNA from the CHIC DNA Repository, Optigen (PRA & CMR DNA tested dogs), from other research facilities and frozen semen in order to get more samples.

The clock is ticking so please forward this information to everyone you can think of that might be willing to help and ask them to move quickly as it is very important to have more Mastiffs included in this next phase of the research!!

AND... THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HAS ALREADY SENT IN SAMPLES FROM YOUR MASTIFFS WITH WOBBLERS!!!!! With cooperation and participating we can make things happen!!!

Click the following link to access the online submission form to order the free DNA Saliva Kits: ?

Megaesophagus Study
The GDCA is currently underwritting research on congenital (juvenile) megaesophagus with Dr. Leigh Anne Clark of Clemson University who found both the harl & merle genes, and has found the source for mega already in GSDs. She has some samples right now in Danes to check for mega & we are waiting to see if this disease in Danes is the same as she found in GSDs or different.
Meanwhile a writer for the AKC Gazette is writing an article on "mega" and wants input from Dane owners. So if you've had mega in a litter, bought a mega pup, had a mega tragedy and/or raised one to adulthood, TJ Libby wants to hear your story. Here's her email:
Permission to repost is granted. "jp"
Best regards, JP Yousha
Chairman, Health and Research Committee
Great Dane Club of America

432-684-8940 (TX)

Bone Cancer and Wobblers Study
I am writing on behalf of the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, MI and the Program for Canine Health & Performance. Perhaps you've heard of us, as we have some exciting research going on in the world of dogs! Our goal is to improve the health of dogs by investigating different diseases and traits, with the goal of eventually developing treatments or diagnostics to help breeders improve their lines.

We are actively looking into the genetics of the Great Dane; program director Dr. Mark Neff is currently following up some leads in the areas of Wobbler's Syndrome and osteosarcoma.  We are very interested in expanding our studies and are looking to owners and breeders for any help they can provide. It was recommended that we contact breeders approved by the Great Dane Club of America; I hope you don't mind my contacting you.

Our research projects are completely driven by owner-donated samples, from which we hope to analyze genetic differences between affected and control populations.  We are looking for as many Great Dane samples as possible, whether they are affected (with Wobbler's or osteosarcoma), healthy, or afflicted with other conditions.  All that is required is a simple, painless cheek swab which can be collected at home and returned to our lab with no cost to the owner.  Everything is completely confidential.

We are hoping that as a breeder and lover of Great Danes, you may be willing to help this research by submitting samples from your own dogs and/or putting us in touch with other owners you may know.  We are also happy to ship you extra kits to distribute to owners near you.  Our goal is to collect hundreds or even thousands of Great Dane DNA swabs to help forward the studies.

Please let me know if you can help, and I will be happy to talk to you further if you have any questions.

Thank you for your consideration,

Angela Rhoades
Research Technician, Laboratory of Neurogenetics & Canine Behavior


RE:Update on the canine bloat study 7/13/15
Michael A. Harkey
Fred Hutch

For all you Dane owners out there who have an interest in the canine bloat study at Fred Hutch; This is a brief update of our progress. Again I thank you all for your interest and participation in the study. We have great news this time: As you will see below, we have discovered a genetic link to bloat.

As you know, our aim is to test the hypothesis that bloat is caused by an imbalance in the bacterial population of the gut, the so-called “gut microbiome”, and that this imbalance is caused by a specific array of genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This study has two parts:
1) Analysis of MHC genes: These are the so-called “self identity” genes that help your dog’s immune system distinguish “self” from invaders such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses. These same genes help protect beneficial bacteria in the gut from being targeted for destruction.

We extract blood from the blood or cheek swab samples you sent us, and then determine the sequences of two of the MHC genes (DLA88 and DRB1). There are hundreds of variants of these genes in the dog population, and we are testing the hypothesis that a specific variant or set of variants is associated with bloat. Such an association could be informative to breeders who want to decrease the chances of.

We are also looking at several so-called “innate immunity” genes. These genes have only a few mutant forms in the human population. These mutations are relatively rare, but are often associated with gut-related diseases. We are testing for similar mutations in dogs that might correlate with bloat.
2) Analysis of the gut bacteria: Changes in the bacterial population (microbiome) in the gut can have serious effects on health. Bloat is reported to be associated with an underlying, low-level, chronic condition of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and IBD is associated with specific changes in the microbiome. So we hypothesize that an imbalanced microbiome may be a major factor in causing bloat. My colleague, Dr. Meredith Hullar is an expert in microbiome analysis. She is conducting this second part of the study. She uses rapid sequencing of bacterial DNA from stool samples to identify and quantify the thousands of species of bacteria in the gut

We have now enrolled 178 dogs in the study, and we have received samples for 86 of them.
1) Analysis of MHC genes: The first part of this study, the MHC gene analysis is well underway. We now have genetic data for 75 of the dogs. I am very excited to tell you that we now have significant evidence that MHC genes (DLA88 and DRB1) play a role in predisposing dogs to bloat! We have discovered a new variant of the DLA88 gene (FB) that has not been reported before. FB is three times more frequent in Danes that have bloated than in healthy Danes. Another DLA88 variant, known as 1001, shows up 7 times more often in healthy controls dogs than in the bloat group. This variant appears to have a protective effect against bloat. Previously we did not see any DRB1 variants that associated with bloat. However, now that we have accumulated more data on the DRB1 gene, is also clear that the 1201 variant shows up in bloat dogs twice as often as in controls. Statistical analysis indicates these correlations are real (not just a random shuffle of the deck). So it looks like we guessed correctly when we chose to analyze the MHC genes. This information could be very useful for breeders who want to reduce the chances that their lines carry these bloat-predisposing gene variants.
So far, there is no evidence of involvement of “innate immunity” genes in bloat .
2) Analysis of the gut bacteria: Stool samples from the 56 of the returned sample kits have been processed in Dr. Hullar’s microbiome lab for bacterial DNA and sequenced to identify bacterial species. DNA is now being extracted from an additional 30 samples. We will analyze the data after all the samples are processed. The success with the MHC genes strengthens our hope that the microbiome side of our hypothesis will also yield valuable insights into the causes of bloat.
It is now time to start thinking about expanding this study to include other breeds of dogs and other MHC genes. We chose to initiate this study with Danes because of their extremely high incidence of bloat. The data from the Danes now gives us the genetic targets to look for in other breeds. It is also important to note that the genetic links found so far do not fully account for all of the dogs that bloated in this study. So we expect that bloat is caused by an accumulation of several gene variants that together, create the predisposition to bloat. Perhaps the final links are hidden within the MHC genes we have not yet analyzed.

Michael A. Harkey
Canine Core, CCEH
Mail Stop D1-100
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Avenue North, P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, WA 98109-1024
Phone: (206) 667-3369
FAX: (206) 667-5978

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