Dear Supporters,  


Update on SLEM Testing of Border Terriers in the UK

In May of this year we brought you news that SLEM testing in Border Terriers was restarting with an interim service supported by the Border Terrier Breed Heath Group & the Border Terrier Club.  In line with the announcement at the time, this has now progressed into a more permanent service.

The interim service was set up over concern that a lengthy hiatus in the availability of SLEM testing may mean breeders would become used to not testing.

What is SLEM?

Spongiform Leukoencephalomyelopathy (SLEM), is a hereditary disease of Border Terriers, previously known as shaking puppy syndrome (SPS).  When puppies begin to stand and attempt to walk, they show an uncontrollable shaking of their hind limbs.  As the puppies grow, the shaking affects the entire body and their coordination is poor. 

Shaking puppy syndrome has been observed in a number of different breeds.  However, SLEM in the Border Terrier is genetically distinct and, as far as is known, not found in any other breed.

If you are purchasing a pedigree Border Terrier puppy, you should check that both parents have been screened for SLEM.

New service as of 3 December 2021

As of today, the new service is now fully up and running in its new home at the new Canine Genetic Testing service from University of Cambridge Department of Veterinary Medicine.  The interim service supported by the Breed Health Group & The Border Terrier Club has now ceased.

The DNA testing service for SLEM at the University of Cambridge is now processed through the Canine Genetic Testing website who are responsible for despatching of test kits purchased and carrying out the tests for Border Terrier owners who require SLEM testing for their dogs.  CAGT is linked to the Kennel Club Genetics Centre and operates from the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge.  The team there was formerly based at the Animal Health Trust prior to its closure in July 2020.

For further information and details of how to purchase your SLEM tests, please visit the Canine Genetic Testing SLEM webpage.


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