Myotonia Congenita in Miniature Schnauzers
Myotonia Congenita is a hereditary, skeletal muscle disorder. Mytonic puppies exhibit clinical signs at a few weeks of age because their muscles are hyperexcitable and contract easily. Affected dogs have prominent muscles in the shoulders and thighs and appear to have difficulty getting up, have a stiff gait, or bunny hop when running. The tongue of affected dogs in enlarged and stiffens when touched, and the lower jaw appears to be peak-shaped. The trait is autosomal recessive in Miniature Schnauzers.
The test is helpful to confirm a diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita in Miniature Schnauzers with suspicious clinical signs. More importantly, this DNA test is useful for screening potential breeding dogs, thereby guiding breeders in selection of dogs for their breeding program that are free of the mutant myotonia gene. Owners of tested dogs are also encouraged to place their dog’s test results in the open registry that is being established by the American Miniature Schnauzer Club, an endeavor that will be helpful to breeders and prospective buyers to assure that no affected dogs will be produced in the future. If all dogs were to be tested prior to breeding, myotonia could be successfully eradicated from the Miniature Schnauzer breed.
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