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BAER Testing DNA Collection 2017 Finals

BAER Testing and DNA Sample Collection at the 2017 Sheepdog Finals

As a service to ABCA members and to advance.research into the genetic conditions that affect our Border Collies, the ABCA Health & Education Foundation will be offering free hearing tests for ABC registered dogs at the USBCHA Sheepdog Finals this year, and will also be collecting DNA samples to be used for deafness research and to be stored in our DNA bank. The BAER and sample clinics will take place on Sept 27-29 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) at the trial site. BAER testing will be done by Dr. Colette Williams, whose credentials are excellent and who was the tester at last year’s BAER clinic. We hope that our members — especially owners of dogs with suspected hearing loss, from lines known to have hearing loss, or those from previous finals clinics recommended for follow-up — will take advantage of this BAER testing opportunity.

To participate, please fill out a copy of this questionnaire/consent form for each dog and send it, together with a copy of the dog’s pedigree, to Eileen Stein. The documents can be sent either by email (Eileen Stein) or by postal mail (PO Box 41, Shady Side, MD 20764), so long as they are received by September 21. If you are unable to submit the documents in advance, please bring two copies of each with you to the clinic. Dogs will be entered on the BAER list when paperwork is received and will need to submit a DNA sample at the clinic.

All health information submitted to the Foundation will be treated as strictly confidential, and will not be used in any way that would disclose identifiable information or testing results to anyone but the dog’s owner.

Samples Needed for Border Collie DNA Bank

The ABCA Health & Education Foundation (HEF) is moving forward with its mission to bank Border Collie DNA and to support important research into the causes of genetic diseases in Border Collies.

We will be fully sequencing the genomes of 10-20 Border Collies! The complete genetic information from these dogs will become the initial foundation of our DNA bank. In this first phase of collection, we want to obtain samples that can be used to support ongoing research into the two most critical genetically linked diseases in our breed — early adult onset deafness (EAOD) and epilepsy. But the sequencing information can also be used for research into other disorders as well, now and into the future. And by fully sequencing dogs who are only distantly related, we can expect to capture the widest possible array of gene variations across the spectrum of our breed.

We specifically need dogs that fall into the following categories:

  • Dogs affected with EAOD who went deaf between the ages of 2 and 8, and are as unrelated to each other as possible.
  • Dogs with idiopathic epilepsy who are as unrelated to each other as possible.
  • Dogs from lines with no known incidence of epilepsy, and no known incidence of EAOD.

These dogs must be over the age of 8 with no hearing loss, and as unrelated to each other as possible.

And now for the hardest category to find: Dogs unaffected by EAOD, who were bred to dogs that did become affected with EAOD, and who produced at least 8 pups from such mating(s) (in one or more litters), all of whom reached the age of 8 with no hearing loss. These dogs will of course be old now, and there won’t be many of them, but they are almost certain not to be carriers of EOAD, and so they are the ideal controls for research. If you have such a dog, please contact us! If you have a dog that comes close to meeting these criteria, please contact us too. And if you know someone with such a dog, please urge them to contact us.

If you have a dog that fits into any of these categories, please go to for details of how to propose your dog for inclusion in this project. In order to achieve as much diversity (unrelatedness) as possible among the dogs to be sequenced, we will need your dog’s ABCA registration number plus permission to access his/her pedigree information. Please give details if your dog has been BAER tested. All submissions and results will be kept confidential. There will be no charge for participation, and the HEF will pay for any BAER testing that may be necessary.

Best of all, if your dog is among those chosen for sequencing, you will receive a copy of his/her whole genome, at no cost to you!