In the spring of 1998, a serious disease affecting the Spinone was acknowledged in Great Britain.

Cerebellar Ataxia (or CA) is a neurological disorder which attacks young Spinone. This news rocked the Spinone world for though there were those that knew about this problem, it was kept rather quiet. At this time there is still very limited knowledge available about this disease due to the small number of cases.

One geneticist in England, after studying the pedigrees, feels that this is an hereditary disease with a recessive mode of inheritance. The disease was traced to a dog imported from Italy, Trusco Dell Angelo Del Summano Del Gaesten, whose impact on the breed in Great Britain borders on the legendary. The Italian Spinone Club of Great Britain (ISCGB) is actively working with the Royal Veterinary College in an attempt to gather the necessary information and samples to isolate a DNA marker for this disease.

Let me emphasize here that there is no way that your Spinone can "catch" CA. It is a genetic disorder which can only manifest itself if both parents are carriers of the disease. It is also a self limiting disease in that the affected dogs do not live to an age to reproduce. If your Spinone is past one year of age and has not developed any signs of CA, it will not.

I wish to thank Pat Wilkinson, who, on behalf of the Health Sub Committee for the ISCGB, has given her permission to share what information we have with the public. As more information is made available, I will update this page to include that information. With caution on the part of everyone breeding Spinone, I feel confident that we will be able to overcome this disease. If you have questions, please feel free to contact either Pat Wilkinson (01552 792743) or me (502*241 9852).

Pat Fendley

Please click on the following to learn more about Cerebellar Ataxia.


The Story of Chianti and Teabag

Clinical Signs

A Brief Summary of What We Know So Far

Proven Carriers

ISCGB Proposed Scheme For The Control of CA

Update, January 10, 1999

CA Newsflash - June 15, 1999

Jack Flash Not Cleared On Breeding Record

The following two links chronicle my personal experience with CA.  Thankfully, my sweet babies did not live and die in vain.  The samples we were able to provide along with samples from two European litters, combined with what the AHT had gathered, were enough to get the research to isolate the DNA marker underway.  In March, 2008, a linkage based test was released, allowing us to determine the status of our dogs.  This test has opened the world back up to us so we can include some of the dogs in our breeding programs that we would never have previously be able to use.

Further information and test kits may be obtained from Genetics Division, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU. Tel: 01638 555621, Fax: 01638 555643  

My Sweet Babies

Watching CA unfold - The diary I kept as the disease progressed in Latte' and Espresso

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