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Available DNA Tests for Dogs and Cats

Canine Narcolepsy (Code: C110)


Sleep is vital behavior of an unknown function that consumes one-third of any given human life. Narcolepsy is a debilitating neurological disease characterized by abnormally fragmented night-time  REM sleep, constant day time sleepiness, and irresistible  sleep attacks that occur even when the sufferer is walking and talking. It is the only known neurological disease that specifically affects the generation and organization of sleep. In 1999, a ground-breaking study revealed the gene responsible for this disease in narcoleptic Doberman Pinschers. Further studies have demonstrated a close similarity between human and canine narcolepsy. Researchers identified that canine narcolepsy is caused by a mutation in the hypocretin receptor 2 gene (Hcrtr2). Cells` bodies that contain hypocretins (a novel neuropeptide that possesses excitatory effects) are found in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain responsible for various regulatory functions in the body. These neurons project into many other areas of the brain, like the brainstem (where the pons are located), responsible for REM sleep. It is hypothesized that hypocretins may play a role in modulating neurons involved in REM sleep, helping in the interaction between two chemical systems in the brain, the aminergic and the cholinergic. Researchers also hypothesized that when the Hcrtr2 is stimulated, administration of hypocretins promotes wakefulness and represses REM sleep in normal, but not narcoleptic animals.

DNA Test

Canines affected with narcolepsy typically display symptoms that are specific to the disease. Therefore, diagnosis of this disorder is usually based on clinical findings. Carriers of the gene responsible for narcolepsy display no symptoms of disease and therefore, cannot be identified by clinical observation. Recently, a DNA-based test for the detection of the gene responsible for narcolepsy in Doberman Pinschers and Labrador Retrievers became available. Since this test directly targets the narcoleptic gene, it is 100% accurate and provides breeders with definitive information on the genetic status of their animals. Breeders can use this information to detect carriers and eliminate this disease from their breeding lines.

Doberman Pinscher
Labrador Retriever
$48 US
$48 CDN (subject to HST - Canadian residents only)
HealthGene will provide a certificate for each test result.
The following sample(s) can be submitted for the testing:
1. Blood sample in a lavender (EDTA) tube.
2. Cheek swabs.
Test results are usually available in 10 business days from the moment the samples arrive at the laboratory. Test results can be reported by e-mail, fax, or by phone.