to SIGHT Homepage
For more information, please contact:
What is the SIGHT registry?
SIGHT is a database for all Sealyham Terriers where owners can register
their dogs, as well current eye exams, pedigree and other significant
information. The information is currently available by request in the
form of reports and genetic pedigrees showing family groups of dogs. SIGHT
is run by GDC (Institute for Genetic Disease Control).. For an article
describing the registry, download "Lily's
Story: the Push to Control Lens Luxation in Sealyham Terriers"
What is GDC?
GDC is a not-for-profit organization established in 1990 to help breeders
reduce the prevalence of genetic diseases in dogs..
the registry have to do with the Sealy DNA test research?
SIGHT is working closely with the lens luxation DNA research project at
the University of Missouri to help locate family groups of dogs whose
DNA is important to the project.
What is the
purpose of the registry?
The main purpose of SIGHT is to help breeders make breeding decisions
that will reduce the prevalence of lens luxation. The goal of SIGHT is
to register as many Sealys as possible, including every known affected
dog and its relatives. When a breeder know s that a dog is affected she
can estimate the risk that other relatives may have for carrying or passing
on the defective gene.
I register my dog with SIGHT?
The effectiveness of the registry is directly dependent on how complete
it is. Since lens luxation is a late-onset disease, we can never be certain
that a dog is free of the disease. That’s why we urge every owner
to register their dogs and then update their registrations with yearly
eye exams. In addition, as more dogs are registered, we will be able to
contact registered owners whose dogs appear to be at greater risk for
lens luxation as suggested by new information in the data base.
Could my dog
develop lens luxation if neither parent has it?
If both parents carry the defective gene there is a very high probability
that some of the puppies will be affected. A dog may carry the defective
gene and show no symptoms of the disease.
the simple version of the genetics of lens luxation?
- Both parents and
all offspring of an affected dog will be carriers;
- The parents and
all offspring of a carrier have a 50 percent chance of being carriers;
- A carrier must
be mated with another carrier to produce an affected;
- A carrier will
always pass the defective gene to some of its offspring;
- Without a gene
test, we cannot prove that a dog is NOT a carrier.
How does the
genetics of lens luxation work?
Researchers believe that lens luxation is an autosomal recessive trait.
There is probably one key gene involved in lens luxation, and a dog must
inherit that gene from both parents to be affected with the disease.
Lens luxation is
what is called a “late onset” disease. It generally occurs
in Sealys between age 4 and 8. A dog who is a carrier may have been bred
many times before one of its offspring shows symptoms, and that is what
makes the disease very, very difficult to control.
If a dog carries
only one copy of the gene, that dog is called a carrier, and will not
show the trait. A carrier will pass along copies of the gene to some of
its offspring each time it is bred. A fairly simple rule of genetics gives
the probabilty for how many puppies in a litter will carry the gene, but
there is no way to know which individuals are the carriers.
When both parents
carry the gene, another rule of genetics predicts that some of the puppies
will inherit copies of the genes from both parents, and will be affected.
Several others will inherit just one copy of the gene from one parent
and will be carriers. And the remaining puppies will not inherit copies
of the gene at all.
Without a DNA test,
the only way we know a dog is a carrier is if it has produced an affected
The parents of an
affected dog, in the case of lens luxation, are assumed to be carriers.
If a dog is a carrier, but has many excellent traits, that dog can still
be bred, but only under strict guidelines. The dog must not be bred to
another carrier, and every one of the dog’s offspring must be presumed
to be a carrier until proven otherwise, either by a DNA test, or by several
test breedings to a known carrier which produce no affecteds.
How will breeders
use the registry to help reduce the risk of lens luxation?
If enough dogs, including affected dogs, from a particular family group
are registered, GDC can create a genetic pedigree of that group. The genetic
pedigree shows clearly where the affected dogs are in the family, and
with that knowledge, the breeder can determine which dogs are probably
carriers, and what the carrier risk is for other dogs. GDC will provide
information, resources and access to canine genetic counselors to help
breeders with complex risk assessments and breeding questions.
What is a
A traditional pedigree shows the parentage back through three or more
generations. If you take a traditional pedigree and begin filling in the
rest of the close relatives (siblings, half-sibs, offspring, multiple
matings, etc.), you’ve got the beginnings of a genetic pedigree.
The genetic pedigree can include 75-100 or more dogs and shows the relationships
among them as graphical chart. If enough closely related dogs are registered,
the genped provides a comprehensive picture of the location of affected
and carrier dogs in a family. With that information breeders can make
risk assessments about breeding any two dogs.
the registry just publish a list of affected dogs?
Focusing on affected dogs without information about the dogs’ close
relatives is of very little value over the long run for breeders. The
key to making good breeding decisions is being able to estimate carrier
risk in the relatives of an affected dog. In addition, exclusive listing
of affected dogs tends to create a “witchhunt” atmosphere
among breeders. Cooperation and sharing of information is crucial in the
fight against a genetic disease. That’s why SIGHT only releases
information on family groups of dogs and provides guidelines for how breeders
can use that information.
is lens luxation among Sealyham Terriers?
We do not have an accurate estimate of the prevalence for lens luxation
in the breed. We continue to collect enough reports about affected dogs
to know that without an immediate and comprehensive effort to stop the
spread of the gene, the problem could become much worse than it is now.
As we gather more information in the SIGHT registry we are finding that
a significant percentage of Sealys are probably carriers of the defective
we just stop breeding to carriers?
First of all, we can only confirm that a dog is a carrier if it has produced
an affected offspring. Without a gene test, we can only estimate the carrier
risk of dogs who are related to affected dogs. And just because a dog
has not produced an affected offspring does not in any way ensure that
it is not a carrier.
Second, the Sealyham gene pool is very small, and removing carriers from
the breeding program may also remove many of the good traits that are
essential to the breed. In simple terms, if we have a Sealy who has many
good traits but is a known carrier, we need to find a mate for that dog
who has good traits as well, but has a very low carrier risk. And we must
inform buyers of the risk, and track the health of all puppies for the
rest of their lives.
How do I register
The SIGHT application
gives step by step instructions. We encourage a CERF eye exam by an ophthalmologist
or a basic eye exam by a veterinarian, but it is not required for SIGHT
How much does
it cost to register?
There is no charge for registering a dog affected with lens luxation or
a dog that is an assumed carrier of the gene (must have produced affected
offspring). The first-time registration is $10 per dog. Subsequent updates
with new eye exams are $5. The rates are reduced for registering several
related dogs at the same time.
Does my dog
need an eye exam every year?
No eye exam is required for SIGHT registration.
We strongly urge owners to have yearly exams for their dogs, particularly
if the dog is at risk for lens luxation. It is extremely important to
catch the disease in the early stages when there may still be some chance
of saving the dog’s eyes.. SIGHT will send reminders to owners to
have a lens luxation exam by an ophthalmologist. ACVO
Clinic List (Locate a veterinary opthalmologist in your state)
I register my dog if it doesn’t have lens luxation?
Until we have a 100% accurate DNA test, we cannot say for certain that
any particular dog is not at risk.
certify my dog as being clear of lens luxation?
Not at this time. When a 100% accurate DNA test is available, SIGHT will
then be able to certify the genotype of a dog.
Can I provide
a blood sample for DNA research without registering?
At this point the research laboratory at the University of Missouri is
only needing blood samples from affected dogs, their parents and grandparents,
their siblings, and their offspring along with the second parent (the
affected dog's mate). Blood sample submission is confidential and you
do not need to register with SIGHT to donate a sample. Blood
Sample Submission Form
confused about where to send the application forms.
Always send the eye registration forms to GDC, PO Box 177, Warner, NH
03278. If you are submitting a blood sample send copies of the forms to
the University of Missouri research lab as well. See the application for
Why does SIGHT
emphasize registering complete litters?
It is extremely important to record every dog in a litter because we cannot
know for sure which dogs may develop the disease. If one dog in a litter
isn’t recorded, and that dog has lens luxation, the registry will
not be able to identify carriers in that line, and may provide inaccurate
Why is SIGHT
an "open" registry?
An open registry provides all evaluation information (negative and positive)
on a dog to users of the registry. Breeders must know which dogs are affected
in a family group in order to lower the risk of producing more affected
dogs, while at the same time preserving those good traits that they consider
valuable in a dog or its line.
Can I register
but keep my dog’s eye evaluation private?
SIGHT is an open registry. All information is available to any Sealyham
owner who has also registered a dog with SIGHT. Owners who register their
dogs agree to make health information in the registry available to other
users of the registry. Keeping information about a dog with lens luxation
from other breeders is essentially a guarantee that the defective genes
will continue to be spread throughout the breeding population.
Will the registry
really help reduce the prevalence of lens luxation?
Using an open registry to select against a single recessive trait is effective
if a significant number of dogs are registered, and if breeders follow
a proven methodology for making breeding decisions based on the information
in the registry. There are a number of documented cases where intensive
projects such as the SIGHT registry have significantly reduced the prevalence
of single-gene and even multiple-gene disease within several generations
of dogs. For more information, see "Control of Canine Genetic Diseases,"
by Dr. George A. Padgett (Howell Book House).
We must be cautious,
however, because the mode of inheritance of lens luxation has not been
proven. At this point researchers strongly believe that the disease is
simple autosomal recessive and that it involves a single gene. We are
proceeding on that assumption.