Familial Renal Disease

Known also as Renal dysplasia and progressive juvenile nephropathy, is a disease in which development of the kidney tissue is abnormal. Clinical signs of the disorder typically occur before the age of two years. Ultimately, renal dysplasia can result in Chronic renal (kidney) failure.

Renal dysplasia is characterized by abnormal cellular differentiation of renal tissue. Dogs and cats with renal disease caused by these diseases have the typical symptoms of renal failure, including weight loss, loss of appetite, depression, and increased water consumption and urination.

Most causes are breed-related, some are inherited and some are congenital (present at birth).  The Tamaskan has had one fatal case of this disease, it is unknown if it is genetic or congential, both parents of this dog have been removed from the breeding program. The Tamaskan Dog Register now encourages genetic testing for this disease, for more information about this read on.

The only arctic breed I could find that had mention of this disease was the Samoyed. As each breed suffers with this disease in a different way I have listed the signs for Samoyeds and German Shepherds below as being the closest breeds to the Tamaskan.


Samoyed Renal Dysplasia

Samoyeds can be affected by basement membrane disease of the kidneys. It is inherited through the X chromosome and therefore more severe in affected male dogs. Findings in male dogs include the presence of protein and glucose in the urine and the inability to concentrate urine, and progression to renal failure by the age of nine months and death by sixteen months. Affected female dogs have protein in the urine and a failure to gain a normal amount of weight, but are usually otherwise normal.

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dogs can be affected by multiple cystadenocarcinomas of the kidney. It is inherited and appears between the ages of five and eleven years.  Blood in the urine is often seen. It is sometimes accompanied by nodules in the skin or multiple uterine leiomyomas.

What are the different types of renal conditions and diseases?

Juvenile renal dysplasia (JRD): is the most common form found in dogs. Dysplasia is defined as abnormal growth or development of cells or organs. In the case of JRD the kidney fails to develop properly during embryogenesis in the womb. At birth immature structures consisting of undifferentiated fetal cells or tissue types are found in the kidney, and are persistent throughout the life of the animal.

Renal agenesis: Most dogs are born with two kidneys. But ocassionally a dogs is born with only one organ, the characteristic signal of renal agenesis. On occasion, imaging tests will pick up a very small kidney, located in an abnormal position.

Renal dysplasia: An abnormal tissue development in the kidney that can be confined to a small portion of one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) kidneys arranged in a specific pattern within the kidney or randomly present throughout one or both kidneys.

Renal hypoplasia: Small kidneys which are otherwise normal. This condition may involve one or both sides. Renal hypoplasia does not appear to be an inherited condition nor does it occur more often in dogs than bitches. The size of the kidney determines potential problems in the future. If the kidneys are extremely small, their function may decrease as the dog ages. Although a rarity, kidney failure may occur.       

Renal hyposplasia may also be associated with abnormalities of the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. This condition is marked by either a backflow of urine from the bladder into the kidney or an obstruction of the ureter at the juncture where it abnormally enters the kidney.

Simple renal cyst:  Most simple cysts do not cause problems.  Large renal cysts may produce abdominal pain, blood in the urine (hematuria) or, in rare incidents, high blood pressure. Simple renal cysts are not associated with kidney cancer. But the risk of malignancy increases if the cyst is identified as complex (with multiple chambers or irregularities in the wall) and/or contains calcium.


Genetic tests are designed to manage and eventually eliminate disorders without compromising the diversity in a gene pool. If you have just found out that your dog carries the mutation for juvenile renal dysplasia, do not panic. Now you have the opportunity to manage and eliminate this disease. The frequency of this mutation is extremely high in many breeds. This mutation has been elusive and impossible to eliminate prior to the development of a genetic test, as the disease appears sporadically because it is inherited with incomplete penetrance, meaning that an animal that carries this mutation may or may not show clinical signs of the disease, but can still pass it on to the next generation.

Chromosomes exist in cells in pairs, one from the sire and one from the dam. Dogs have 39 sets of chromosomes. Each set or pair is composed of two chromosomes, one from the sire, and one from the dam. In the case of a simple recessive mutation, one of the chromosomes, either from the sire or the dam, makes enough protein from for the animal to survive. Therefore, the “wild type” chromosome of the pair provides enough protein (gene product) to compensate for the chromosome that carries a mutation. In the case of a
dominant mutation, only one copy of the chromosome carrying the mutation is necessary to produce disease.

With the identification of one of the many mutations that your animal carries, you can now proceed to at least eliminate this identified mutation, and not inadvertently select for another deleterious mutation that your animal carries. Wholesale elimination of carriers is the worst decision that you can make as this would deplete the gene pool.
As in any breeding you must consider the positive and negative traits of each partner, and how the parents traits can best balance and complement each other.

What information does this test actually tell the breeder?
The DNA test results are reported as follows:

a) Carrier - (one copy of the JRD mutation)

b) Homozygous mutant allele = Homozygote (two copies of the JRD mutation)

c) Clear - No copies o f the JRD mutation are present.

With a & b results the animal is potentially affected by JRD or could pass it on to its progeny.

How do I submit my dogs  testing?

DOGenes uses cheek swabs for DNA testing.
They ask for three samples per dog. When you order a test they send you the cheeks swabs.

You take the samples and return them to DOGenes for testing.











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