Re: Mega E
Hi, Tammy. 'Tis good to find you here. :-)
Angela, I don't know the best answer to your question no. 1, but can tell you that the problem is more prevalent than anyone would wish. In any litter with a known affected, there will also be (2) carriers and (3) sub-clinicals. Littermates can be 2 -and- 3, or just one or the other. Unfortunately, there is a huge need for a DNA test and that is likely quite a ways off, though there is a study that is about to get underway at Texas A&M. The study will look at megaesophagus but it will likely take another grant on top of this one in order to focus specifically on megaesophagus. There is a bit of info about the study on my website. I hope members here will share about it, especially in that we still need more samples submitted. The dog must have been diagnosed as a pup so that it is clear that it is a congenital case (of which most are, unfortunately); we cannot knowingly collect from relatives. The faster we can get more samples submitted, the faster the study can get underway, and the faster we can maybe learn a bit more about transmission - potentially!
Because of the above, I personally would not risk breeding a littermate, even if it's a 'guaranteed' that the sire or dam is from a line or a litter in which it was determined that there is megaesophagus. Unfortunately, it seems that megaesophagus can skip around quite a bit, sometimes skipping one generation only to be carried to the next generation and at times it seems that more pups in the litter are affected, rather than a random one pup. It honestly frightens me that there are risk takers (of which I am definitely one in most cases), just not in this regard. We'll never be able to "stamp out" megaesophagus with such a breeding practice.
If anyone has read this far, a GSD pup came to my attention today. The pup is located in Wisconsin - I reside in the Houston TX area. I am hoping to network to get this pup down here at which point I will care for her until I can find a replacement foster home. She is just 8 weeks old,,, and unfortunately, sheltered.
Thanks for asking your very important questions! I am so very glad that you did!