Researchers at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Center led by Professor Hannes Lohi have found a gene mutation that causes chondrodysplasia (dwarfism) in the Norwegian Elkhound and the Karelian Bear Dog. They have published their results in the journal PLoS One.
When affected by the condition, dogs have considerably shorter limbs than normal dogs. Other skeletal abnormalities may follow which include bowed forearms, abnormal digits (toes), and malformed femoral heads.
The mutation affects the collagen receptors during bone growth.
“Both breeds have now benefited from a genetic test that is available for dog owners”, says Professor Lohi. There is hope that the mutation can be eradicated from the breeding population through use of the test.