The prevalence of ocular and auditory abnormalities in Merle dogs : review of literature
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Merle pattern coats in dogs has been described from centuries in many breeds of domestic dog. Until recently the reason some dogs were born with this unique and beautiful pattern was a mystery. In fact it was not until 2005 that Clark et all discovered that retrotransposon insertion in SILV is responsible for merle patterning in the dog. Even more recently it has been discovered through new research that this mysterious merle gene is not only responsible for dilution patterns but also for many auditory and ocular disorders. These disorders appear to range from rare and mild in heterozygous merles to severe and debilitating in homozygous merles. During this thesis my aim was to discover exactly what unwanted hereditary complications are caused by the merle gene and their prevalence in the breeds associated with natural occurring merle patterns. Furthermore I was interested in determining what precautions if any are possible to implement to avoid merle dogs suffering from these hereditary diseases associated with the gene.