Because I didn’t know if Peggy was clear or a carrier of FN or prcd-PRA I had to book her in for some blood tests which then had to be sent off to Antagene and Optigen for testing. Antagene is a laboratory in France. They test for FN. Optigen is in the States and they carry out the test for prcd-PRA. There isn’t a laboratory in the UK that is licensed to do these tests, so you need to allow plenty of time for the results to come back. It takes about 2 weeks for the FN test to come through and between 4 to 5 weeks for the Optigen test.
I booked an appointment at my Vets on March 7th for Peggy to have some blood taken. My vet Honeybourne Vet Practice in Cheltenham were brilliant. They hadn’t taken blood for these specific tests before and Toby from the Vet’s Practice did some research to ensure he took enough blood and that it was put in the right containers for sending off to the labs. Toby also downloaded the relevant forms he needed to complete from the Antagene website and talked me through what I had to do with the blood samples once they were ready to go.
I’ve never had to have blood taken from Peggy before and so was a little nervous about the whole thing. First of all Toby shaved some fur off Peggy’s neck as he wanted to take blood from the vein in her neck. I had to hold Peggy’s head at an angle so he could get a good view of the vein. Peggy was obviously very unhappy and apparently the pulse in her main artery was beating so much that it made it difficult for Toby. He didn’t want to hit her main artery so we stopped. The next plan was to take blood from Peggy’s front leg. Toby shaved some fur off her right leg and called in the receptionist to help. We both held Peggy and Toby managed to insert the needle and draw off two phials of blood. Peggy was not happy at all and tried to get away. To be honest I felt really awful. It was my fault that I was putting my dog through this and at that moment I felt like just walking away. Then Toby said he would really have liked some more blood but the vein in Peggy’s leg had collapsed. I had to make a decision. Did I put Peggy through another few minutes of discomfort or just hope that we had enough blood for both the tests?
I decided that we’d come this far and what would have been the point of putting Peg through all this, including the eye tests if I stopped now. Toby shaved some fur off her left leg and we started again. Peggy really didn’t like that at all, she whimpered and tried to pull away and I felt like crying. In fact when I got home, I did. But it worked. Toby managed to get 4 good phials of blood and asked me to come back later to collect it once he’d labelled them and packaged it up.
When I got home, I cried, gave Peggy a big hug and sat down with a cup of tea. The hard part was over, now all I had to do was download the forms from the Antagene and Optigen website, fill them in and send them off with the blood samples. It’s pretty self explanatory, you need your dogs pedigree name, registration number and results of any previous tests to fill in the form properly. I decided to send all the blood to Antagene first. They would then extract the DNA and send if off to Optigen.
Later that afternoon I walked to the Post Office with my precious cargo. This would determine whether I could let Peggy have puppies or not. If she was affected by either of these diseases, not only would it mean that I could not breed from her, but also I would know that one day my beautiful Peg would become seriously ill.
Fingers crossed for the results. I needed them quick as Peggy was now in season and I didn’t want to mate her with another dog until I knew.
Next Blog: The results are in!