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This article will be helpful in understanding how CA is inherited. Breeders especially are urged to study it carefully.

Autosomal = a pair of like chromosomes.
Recessive = two copies of a gene must be present before a dog is affected by the disease or trait, thus a carrier would have one copy of the gene to pass on to offspring but would not actually have the disease or trait.

Important points covered:
1. Simple autosomal recessive genetic conditions are inherited only from parents that are carriers for the recessive gene or are themselves affected by the condition.
2. Both affected and carrier parents can pass the recessive gene on to their offspring.
3. Both parents of an affected animal must be carriers of the recessive gene.
4. Breeding carriers will not always produce an affected offspring.
5. Clear bred to Clear will only produce Clear offspring


These articles are helpful to get an overview of the problems we face, how we began, and how far we have come in working together.

Some of the important points:
1. CA is not a single kennel problem
2. CA is an autosomal recessive gene
3. The closest common ancestor in pedigrees is not necessarily a carrier
4. To keep our gene pool diverse, we should not discard dogs from breeding programs simply because they are related to a dog affected with CA.


This short article gives a description of the typical gait of a dog affected with CA.


This article is a great resource for understanding CA in our breed. A must read before you view the CA registry.

Important points covered are:
1. CA is caused by a degeneration of cells in the cerebellum of the brain.
2. CA causes uncoordinated movements of the limbs.
3. CA is not painful and need not shorten a dog's life.
4. CA can be diagnosed through clinical observation, examination of the cerebellum after death, and an MRI in advanced cases.
     *Editor's note: As of October 2012 the CD(CA) Genetic Test will diagnose CA before symptoms may appear.
5. CA is caused by an autosomal recessive gene, which means both parents must carry the gene to produce an affected dog.

WELCOME to the CA (Cerebellar Abiotrophy) Information Center...

where we hope to assist in your understanding of this disease.  The article "CA In The OES" is a MUST READ for an overview of CA and how it affects dogs. We encourage you to read ALL the articles listed to expand your knowledge of Cerebellar Abiotrophy and how it is inherited.  We also have videos of affected dogs for you to view. 

The Health and Research Committee has also compiled a FAQs section to answer the most frequently asked questions about CA in 2012.  Please click on this link to download the FAQs.  The FAQs page will be changed and added to as needed.  If you have questions you would like added to the FAQs page, please contact Chris Lawrenz at Larameoes@gmail.com.

In 2012 the Old English Sheepdog Community was given the wonderful gift of a genotype CA test. We have the opportunity to ELIMINATE this disease as long as we test all dogs before they are bred, breeding CA carriers to only clear dogs or breeding clear dogs to clear dogs.  Our gene pool will be expanded because more dogs and bloodlines will be available that breeders previously were hesitant to use.

Instructions how to have your dog tested for CA are included in this CA section.  The new test is called the CD (CA) test, which stands for Cerebellar Degeneration and the letters (CA) appear in parenthesis to clarify the test for all of us who have used that term for many years. Request forms. We encourage everyone to register their dog's test results with OFA/CHIC at www.offa.org. Go to question #8 in the FAQs section for instructions. OESCA will not be listing CD (CA) test results on our website at this time.

To order cheek swab kits by phone, call:
North Carolina State UniversityVeterinary Genetics Laboratory
Phone-Voice Mail: 919.513.3314
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Facility: NC State CVM Research Building
To order cheek swab kits via an e-mail at the following address:
Please state the following in your e-mail:
Your mailing address.
Number of kits you would like.
Type of test, (which breed), you are requesting, i.e., Old English Sheepdog, Cerebellar Degeneration.

If you suspect your dog has CA, please contact Dr. Olby's laboratory either by telephone (919-513-7235) and ask to speak to Kim Williams, or by email at Kimberly_Williams@NCSU.edu. You should also submit a cheek swab for the genetic CD test. (See above paragraph)

For a review of research leading to the breakthrough and identification of the test by the lead researcher, Dr. Natasha Olby, go to the 2012 Health Seminar With Dr. Natasha Olby, "The Cerebellar Saga".

If you would like to find out if Dr. Olby's laboratory has genotyped your dog using DNA from the OFA CHIC DNA Bank, please go to "Request Form For CD(CA) Test on CHIC DNA Repository". Then fill out the form, print, and mail or fax it, following the instructions on the form.

We would like to thank all of the OES owners who submitted their dogs' DNA and their dogs for research. We especially thank Dr. Olby and her team, as well as Dr. Jerold Bell, Dr. Dennis O'Brien, and Dr. Gary Johnson for their work and dedication. Watch for more news and new articles in the Health page of the OESCA website.

Thank you,
OESCA Health and Research Committee