Take part and make a better future for all Akitas!

2014, Mar, 18 | -Research | 0 comments

Participate to research in order to get new gene tests!

Gene testing is a way to make dogs healthier, but we don’t get new gene tests to improve the health if we don’t participate to the research! There is ongoing research for all dogs in Finland and this is lead by Dr Hannes Lohi. They are also studying autoimmune diseases. Sebaceous Adenitits (SA) is one of the diseases.

More samples are needed

The Gene research groups always need more samples from our dogs so they can work with their research. It is easy to participate. You will only need 3 ml of blood in EDTA-tube and file a form about your dog’s health.

Find information and documents in Swedish, English, and German here. (Scroll far down the page)

 How you can contribute

There are several ways for this.

  1. When you have vet meeting for vaccination or some other reason, ask your vet to take the sample and send it to the gene bank.
  2. Participate at group sample take. These could be organized by breed clubs or dog shows.
  3. Make your own group sample take by ordering the sample kits from the research group. You just need someone who can take blood samples from dogs and small equipment. Sample kits can be ordered from the group lgl-kyselyt(at)helsinki.fi or you can ask more information from saija_raj(at)hotmail.com


There are over 500 recorded diseases in dog breeds

Why so many?

These inherited diseases are getting more common in time because of inbreeding and use of popular sires. When the diseases get more common it will be more difficult to have dogs and this will bring more worry for the dog owners.

What can one do?

One way to fight against the inherited diseases is genetic research. The dog genome has been mapped and the tools for finding the gene disorders are there. We can help our best friends!  The Finnish canine genetics research group is lead by Dr Hannes Lohi and it is organized by University of Helsinki. This group has a dog gene bank, where is almost 50000 gene samples from all breeds. These samples are used for genetic research to solve health issues with dogs and also use this information to help the human disease research. Dogs are good study samples for human diseases because they have almost all the same health issues than humans have and dogs are also big mammals, so the symptoms are very similar to humans.

What is the focus regarding Akitas?

With Akitas the research focus is now at SA but other diseases might also get studied in the future. Research is slow and it can take long time to get results.  As we all know, SA is most likely polygenetic diseases (there is many genes involved) and there is always some outer factor what will launch the disease. So it is hard to say which dog is healthy and which is diseased when some genetically diseased dogs can be totally healthy if there is nothing to launch the disease.

There is now over 100 samples from Akita and 160 samples from American Akita. More samples are needed especially from diseased dogs, who have SA, VKH or some other inherited disease.  It is also very important to get samples from older healthy dogs. It is not possible to find disease genes if the researchers doesn’t have healthy dogs who to compare their findings.


Samples from all kinds of Akitas are welcome

  • Japanese
  • American
  • Mixed
  • With registration paper/without registration paper

Especially if you have over six years old healthy Akita or American Akita or your dog have inherited disease, please participate on the research!

Saija Tenhunen

Saija Tenhunen

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