A genetic test for the risk of cruciate ligament rupture in the Labrador Retriever

Test results will either be “predicted as a case”, which means the dog has genetic markers that predict he is likely to develop a cruciate ligament rupture, or “predicted as a control”, which means he is unlikely to develop the disease. The predictive accuracy in the reference population used to develop the test was 98%.

“If a dog receives a ‘high genetic risk’ result, it is highly likely that it will develop a cruciate ligament rupture in its lifetime,” says Dr. Muir. “But this risk could be reduced with personalized veterinary care once we better understand the relevant environmental risk factors that we can modify.”

Low-risk dog owners should remember that their dogs still have a chance of developing a cruciate ligament rupture due to environmental risk factors. In this regard, physical condition is probably important.

How can breeders use this test? Because a large number of genetic variants influence the risk of cruciate ligament rupture in the Labrador Retriever, breeding two low-risk dogs could produce high-risk puppies and vice versa. However, over time the incidence of cruciate ligament rupture in this breed should decrease if we continue to breed low risk dogs with low risk dogs.

The genetic risk test for cruciate ligament rupture in Labrador Retrievers is an exciting development. It is one of the first genetic tests available for a canine complex disease. The results can inform breeding strategies to reduce disease incidence in future generations of Labrador Retrievers. Owners of high-risk dogs can prioritize personalized care with their veterinarian to minimize modifiable environmental risks. As Labrador Retrievers continue to play and work uninterrupted, CHF will continue to find and fund innovative studies like this to help all dogs live longer, healthier lives.

For more information on the availability of genetic testing for cruciate ligament rupture, visit www.vetmed.wisc.edu/lab/corl/canine-genetic-testing/.

1. Wilke VL, Robinson DA, Evans RB, Rothschild MF, Conzemius MG. Estimated annual economic impact of treating cranial cruciate ligament injuries in dogs in the United States. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Nov 15;227(10):1604-7.