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Discussion Starter #1
Should a dog with megaesophagus be bred? Any evidence to prove autosomal recessive inheritance in GSD?
 

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A sometime board member I know had a pup with mega...and I know that another pup a year old died from complications from it who had alot of the same pedigree. Lots of AKC Champions in the line, and GV lines.

No, they should not be bred.

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter #5
American GV lines in this dog also. Obviously few are minding the advice not to breed again a dog who has ever produced a megaE.

Course, have seen it in other lines also.


Dreadful condition but its very likely genetic component does not stop many from continuing to maintain it in lines. Its rating for undesirability of genetic defect---severe. And then to breed a dog with the actual deformity???,
I am verklempt.
 

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One of my dogs' grandmother was said to have produced mega-e pups. And one of the pups in my dog's litter had mega-e.
This dog was a german import.
 

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Samba, I am not versed in breeding whatsoever, however, I do have personal experience with congenital Mega-E in a GSD which I would like to share.

Before we got into rescue of GSDs, our Max and Koia came from a breeder (excellent West German lines - their mother is a direct import from West Germany and their father is from a well known/reputable breeder of West German VA & V rated show lines). The breeder did not breed Max and Koia’s parents again after confirmation of Max’s congenital primary Mega-E.

Out of the litter of 9, my Max was the only long hair, the only one with EPI (also common in GSDs) and the one with congenital primary Mega-E. The EPI was strictly a life maintenance issue that was treatable and was under control.

The Mega-E was a battle from Day 1. Cornell looked at the radiographs and said Max’s case was one of the worst they had seen. We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful, knowledgeable, vet, as well as the resource of Cornell.

Every day Max had to eat his "mush" vertically. He could not run as long/as hard as his fur siblings, he could not have free water, he could not have certain treats, he had to have his temperature monitored to watch for the first signs of aspiration pneumonia, he had to take medicine every day. Yet, Max was a happy, extremely loving boy every day of his short life.

Even with all the care and precautions above, I had to let my Max go to the Bridge on 2.12.07. He was at Cornell for severe complications from Mega-E - aspiration pneumonia and his stomach had started to come up through his esophagus. We were discussing a feeding tube, however, Max's lungs were not strong enough for Max to recover (4 episodes of aspiration pneumonia had taken a terrible toll on his lungs).

So I said goodbye to my Max one month before his 3rd birthday. Hardest moment of my life without question.

Currently, there is no cure for congenital primary Mega-E*. I asked the doctors at Cornell about a cure and they said it would probably take an esophagus replacement and that is no where near on the horizon.

I would not take back my years with Max for anything. However, with what is known at this point in time, medically and management wise, to knowingly breed a dog with Mega-E (or even to not have her/him spayed/neutered**) is simply irresponsible and uncaring. Breeding is a monumentaly responsbility and science. In my opinion, there is no reason whatsoever to breed a dog with known Mega-E.


*Now, there are several other reasons a dog can have a Mega-E and you can read about those in the links cited above. I was fortunate enough to have a foster come into my life 5 months after Max’s passing that had PRAA, secondary Mega-E. She was able to have surgery at Cornell to correct the PRAA and she is now adopted and living a happy normal life (although she still does eat vertically)!!

**Dogs with Mega-E can/should be neutered/spayed, as long as precautions are taken regarding aspiration.
 

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Thanks! I am interested because one of my dogs comes from the area, and apparently has Mega-E in the genetic background. So I am trying to find out WHERE it comes from by looking for commonalities in pedigrees.
 

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You shouldn't breed a dog with Mega-E...What about sibs, 1/2 sibs, g'parents, aunts/uncles, cousins? What breeding restictions would drastically reduce the incidence of primary Mega-E in GSDs? How long would that take? (I'm cynical enough to think that too many people are short range, immediate gratification types & not given to long range multi-generation planning)
 

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I think part of the problem is that no one wants to talk about it. Therefore it can be hard to know if a relative has it. People are so funny about admitting that one of their dogs has a problem, and the general "puppy-buying public" may hear that Kennel H produced a megaE dog and forever after that kennel name has a bad association.

So is Mega E autosomal recessive?
 

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IMO, no dog who actually has a genetic health problem should be bred. Period.

But for dogs who have relatives with genetic health problems, things aren't so simple. If we eliminated from breeding every GSD with an unhealthy relative, we would quickly find ourselves without any GSDs to breed, or a gene pool so small that heavy inbreeding would create new health problems.

Breeders need to take into account the prevalence of the health issue (how often it occurs in the lines), how easily it can be avoided in offspring through good breeding choices, as well as the type of health problem and how big of an issue it really is in terms of being treatable, actual impact on the dog's ability to do what it's bred to do and the dog's quality of life. Some are very minor, while others are huge. And of course things like temperament, working ability, structure, also need to be taken into consideration. Breeding is about balancing the risks with the rewards to produce the best dogs possible in all areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I haven't read of proof of autosomal recessive but the evidence points to that. A dog with MegaE would pass on the gene for it to all its offspring if autosomal recessive is the pattern.

There are gradations as to the undesirability of genetic anomalies. Mega E is rated as severe, i.e. highly undesirable.

There is a lot of ego-based breeding going on out there. I see folks rationalize anything.
 

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Sorry, this is a Super old post but doing some researching on Mega-E, being as we just had a puppy diagnosed with it. Currently she's doing well (knock on wood), diagnosed on Thursday, today is Saturday, lungs sound good, she's keeping gruel down well, and playing. No regurging since that first day.
Has there been any advancements in what to do re: breeding unaffected littermates?

It will be a while before I have another litter, but still stuff I have to think about when planning another litter.
Mother and father first time parents, no evidence of it in their pedigree that I am aware of, and I feel I have pretty decent knowledge of their pedigree.

Thanks!
Catherine Morton
 

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This is one of the health reasons that continued breeding practices of showlines promulgates. Although, any line of dog mag have mega-e and epi, etc., you will find it much more common in dogs or lines that have continued and large backmassing of popular sires. Of course if you bring this up, there are people who put their head in the sand and cry "bashing" rather then look at facts and empirical evidence. For those that are in the breed and honest, think about the dogs you know with these type of congentital issues and it is usually more prevalent in dogs that are saturated in linebreeding over periods of time. I AM NOT saying that dogs with more genetic diversity can't have it, I am saying it is seen less often in dogs with good hybrid vigor and more open pedigrees.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If this is autosomal in heritability, both parents would need to be carriers for the mega e to occur. These genes can be carried along "silently" due to their recessive nature.

As Cliff notes, the less genetic diversity, the greater the incidence of the undesirable genes within lines occuring in members of the group.

If it is autosomal recessive, some of the littermates may carry it and some may be free of the gene. The key would be in not putting two carriers together. I do not know of any test for the gene currently.

In the Am lines, I have seen mega e quite a bit. Some popular sires carried it and this lead to a greater distribution of the genes in this breeding group.

Anyway, that is just my thinking about it. Some may know more about its heritability than I do.
 

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Thank you for your replies.
This breeding was a relative outcross- a common ancestor would have to be over 10 generations back. I know it doesn't make it a complete outcross, but this line combination has been done a few times without incidence.
Of course mine would be the one ;-)
Obviously the affected pup would NEVER be bred- to be honest that should be implied in all cases.
I don't plan on breeding for a really long time. I have enough dogs- have enough nice dogs to show and train to keep me happy for a while. I haven't had many litters to begin with, but my current dogs take precedence. I breed for myself, and I have enough ;-). I am very much undecided on whether to breed the unaffected siblings, even to "clear" pedigrees.
I have emailed the woman doing mega research at a university close to me, Clemson Univ. I'd love to get info she has, and contribute dna to any study she needs.
 
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