Dedicated to the Health and Preservation of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog

We all need to get INVOLVED to preserve the Health of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Please JOIN US!

Dear PON Owners.

In late 2001, I was contacted by an owner of a dog out of my breeding. She was told by the opthalmologist that her PON was going to develop Progressive Retina Atrophy (PRA). I contacted everyone I knew who had a PON that was related to this dog and no one ever heard of PRA in the PON. Research began, it took a few years to find the 5 PONs that were PRA positive with a clinical exam and their blood work was sent to Optigen. Unfortunately, the PON was not a match to any markers found in other breeds. Research continued and more PONs were starting to show up with PRA affected results.

In 2008 I started working with Michigan State University (MSU). Numbers in the US were still not enough. European PON owners were contacting me and I gave them instructions how to submit blood samples to MSU. It wasn’t until 2011 that I was contacted by Merja Nicklasson (Sweden) & Taija Tuohilampi (Finland) who got the ball rolling in Europe. Many blood samples from numerous European countries were sent to MSU. Still no luck in identifying the responsible gene. European PON owners started working with a lab in Sweden and a collaboration was developed between countries.

2013: A prcd4 gene test was developed to identify a gene mutation that causes PRA in the Gordon & Irish Setter. The same gene defect was also found to be present in the Polish Lowland Sheepdog and testing began on the PON.

We are fortunate to now have an open database of PRA (prcd4) PONs managed by Margit Weber (Germany) and Katja Jasica (Belgium). This valuable information has helped breeders identify dogs in their breeding program who carry the gene and improve the chances of eliminating this disease.

More information is always needed, is there another kind PRA in the PON? Continued research will be necessary as time goes on.

Currently, other health issues are starting to appear: Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy to name a few. No one knows how prevalent they are or if they should be a concern to the PON community.

A comprehensive International Polish Lowland Sheepdog Health Registry with the cooperation of International PON Breeders/Owners has been established.

PONs both living and deceased need to be included.

If any health problems are identified, we will be able to develop breeding strategies to address genetic issues in the breed.

Please take the time to complete this Registry to preserve and protect the health and welfare of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog.

The Registry is available in English. German, Polish & French. There is also an option to “Edit Your Submission” if your dogs status changes.

Thank you in advance,

Cheryl Kerner, USA
International Polish Lowland Sheepdog Health Registry, Coordinator
E-mail: ponhealth@gmail.com