Lhasa Apso Association of Wales & South West
It had become apparent in 1997 that generalised PRA was causing concern and by the beginning of 1998 the breed, very responsibly and expeditiously, had been included in the KC/BVA Eye scheme for this recessively inherited disease Results of testing by panellists began appearing quarterly in the KC Breed Supplement then, and continues. The methods of testing available to panellists can , by qualified opinion, directly identify those affected but carriers can only be identified indirectly by applying recessive inheritance patterns. Testing has to be repeated annually at least, and before matings take place. Each test certifies the status Affected or Unaffected for today and gives little guidance for tomorrow. Nevertheless this is the key defence against proliferation of the disease at this time.
Dr David Sargan, Department Head of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, advised that DNA research to locate the PRA gene in the Lhasa Apso was in hand, that post-graduate student, Senor. Jesus Aguirre-Hernandes from Mexico, was undertaking this DNA research within his doctorate thesis. Dr.Sargan was having some difficulty in raising funds for the project, and required blood samples and pedigrees of the families of affected animals. The involved breeders responded magnificently to this latter request. Funding, however, was quite without the Clubs' possibility, or capability, but in June 1999 the Lhasa Apso Breed Council PRA Appeal Fund was begun, though it was realised it could give but token financial support to the Cambridge team.
To raise money, ubiquitous raffles, self-imposed puppy levies, gifts from new owners of rescued dogs, photography at shows, bonuses from various dog insurers, greeting card manufacture, and many other ploys, and just gifts, began and will continue with your help. As at 30th April 2002 £5552.32 has been raised, £3000 of this was sent to Dr. Sargan's Research Fund in January 2001, so the fund is well on the way towards its second £3K target.
One day a once and for all test, a DNA graph, will tell definitively whether a subject is genetically Affected, a Carrier, or Clear of Progressive Retinal Atrophy. We must be patient, but come that day. Meanwhile it is most important to persevere assiduously with the KC/BVA Scheme.
Donations may be sent via the Lhasa Apso Association of Wales and South West secretary:
Mrs Pauline Torrance, "Sandy's", Pollards Moor Road, Copythorne, SOUTHAMPTON, Hants, SO40 2NZ.
Tel: 023 8081 3007
Cheques payable to: LABC(PRA Appeal Fund)