LUA and Hyperuricosuria
Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is a metabolic condition. In order to understand how it affects the body, we must firstly understand that there are several molecules that fit together to form what we would consider protein. These are known as Amino Acids.
The body will normally make enzymes which are specialists at digesting all different components of our diets. There will be a different kind for almost every molecule we eat. That’s even smaller than microscopic level!
There are many metabolic conditions which all involve a body which is unable to digest a specific component which should normally be in the diet. In the case of HUU we are discussing bodies which do not have the genetic code which tells them how to make enzymes to digest purine.
So when a body with HUU eats food containing purine, a build up of sludge and or crystals made of urate collects in the bladder. It cannot be broken down into a small enough molecule to be normally excreted and this is dangerous.
In 1973, American Geneticist, Dr Robert Schiable decided he wanted to tackle Hyperuricosuria – a condition which affected Dalmatians at the time in 100% of dogs. It is a simple recessive condition meaning the dogs had two copies of the “bad gene”. If a dog has even one copy of the normal gene then it will be able to metabolise normally.
Dr Schiable decided that an “outcross” was the only way forward and arranged a mating between a Dalmatian bitch and an English Pointer sire. The Pointer was selected due to the breed’s similarities to the Dalmatian. From then all the puppies were DNA tested for the “good gene” and only those were taken forward to breeding with more Dalmatians.
In 2011, the Dalmatians from Dr Schiable’s breeding programme were accepted as 99.98% identical to any given pedigree Dalmatian and therefore allowed to be registered as pedigree. From there they have been accepted in almost every Kennel Club worldwide.
Today we can celebrate having dogs which do not have any higher risk of kidney or bladder stones than any normal dog. They can eat standard diets without worry. The Dalmatian is one of the few breeds where this sort of outcrossing has been allowed by the Kennel Club.
LUA breeders put the dog’s health first and we will continue to raise the bar with other health conditions too.