AHT Annual Review 2017/2018

The following is from The AHT's Annual Review 2017/2018 and, although our breed is not specifically mentioned, it is heartening that there are already positive results from the Give a Dog a Genome project and that there is international collaboration between researchers. 

Leading the fight against inherited disease in dogs

Spay incontinence

Spay Incontinence

Anecdotally it is known in the breed there is a chance that a bitch that has been spayed will develop spay incontinence and this is supported by the following research:

Incontinence is mentioned in the KC Breed Health Survey 2004 and appears in the list of the most common specific conditions reported.



Update: Epilepsy Research (February 2017)

During the last four years around 40 DNA samples from UK Irish Setters which have been diagnosed with epilepsy have been sent to Professor Hannes Lohi’s Canine Genetics research group at the University of Helsinki. Samples from some 80 close family members of these dogs and some 40 older dogs which have not had seizures have also been sent.

The aim of the research is:” to discover new genes causing heritable characteristics and illnesses in dogs.”

The University has just released the following exciting news:


Wilko Jansen Bloat Research

It is accepted that, unfortunately, bloat has been known in Irish Setters for many years. In 1972 Rasbridge in his breed notes wrote “ While this condition is not is not as common in Irish Setters as in some other breeds and while my limited experience suggests to me that it is less prevalent now than in say the 30’s it certainly occurs. It would appear to have at least a partial genetic basis perhaps nothing more than an inherited tendency for the condition to occur under certain conditions.” and he names Ch Norna (dob 1926) as dying from bloat.


Final report on the Bloat survey conducted by AHT/KC

Received by Joint Breed Clubs' Health committee


Animal data.

Surveys were completed for 1911 unique animals, from 1091 litters (mean 1.75 animals per litter), with 412 unique sires (mean 4.64 animals per sire) and 848 unique dams (mean 2.25 animals per dam). The breakdown of animals per litter is shown in table 1.



Your Help Is Needed.

Vet practices obviously collect and store data on all their patients and until recently this information has not been accessed for any research purposes.

VetCompass, a project run by The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is changing that. It collects this data from participating practices and is using it to answer questions that will improve companion animal health.  Information from vet practices is collected anonymously and is proving invaluable to veterinary research.

Health Review 2014

Health Review 2014



Update: Epilepsy Research (August 2014)

Irish Setter Epilepsy Research Update

Lotta Koskinen, PhD

Canine Genetics Research Group

University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Center, Finland

Dr Jerold Bell and RCD4

Late‐onset (rcd‐4) progressive retinal atrophy in Irish Setters: Where are we, and where do we go from here?

Jerold S Bell DVM Clinical Associate Professor of Genetics Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

We now know from Dr. Cathryn Mellersh at the Animal Health Trust in the UK that there are at least three different inherited progressive retinal atrophy disorders in the breed; and early onset rcd‐1, a still undefined middle‐age onset PRA, and late‐onset rcd‐4 PRA.

Health Review 2013