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Our NZKC has begun the Accredited Breeders Scheme with genetic tests to be done - among the tests for Irish Setters is von Willebrands Disease - and it is mandatory.


Has anyone ever come across an Irish Setter with vWD???

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Hi Mel

I thought that when I was talking to a friend in US that they mentiond it...will ask again next time we speak...

I like you don't really know...

I have seen it listed as a disease of Irish Setters on several US websites, but have no idea how reliable this information may be , or what data it was based on


You highly unlikely to have ever seen an adult Irish Setter who was affected by VWD, even if the gene is there in the breed, as the affected dogs would probably have died at a very early age, and the carriers are invisible
Ann  Millington in Red and Whites has done a lot of research into this so you should get in touch with her  

Here I am with an answer ;o])

vWD was reported in 1998 by an owner of an IRWS after rushing her puppy to the vet with severe blood loss while changing her milk teeth. vWD was diagnosed and the puppy medicated.

A year later two puppies in a non-related litter of 4, bled out in the night - one had chewed a comb and cut the inside of the mouth (no info on the other one) These cases were reported and questions asked.... revealing that three sibblings of the first case (a litter of 8) had also died  from failure of blood to clot over minor cuts.

The breed alerted, related dogs were ELISA screened giving some alarming %s of the blood-clotting Factor.

Unrelated dogs were ELISA screened also giving alarming results - some high factor (clear) some low, many borderline.  ELISA screening is  a bit tricky on the reliable side.....

The breed decided to commission a DNA test to identify vWD affecteds and carriers and quickly raised £3,000 for the AHT to develop the DNA test.  As the GB Club had paid for the test up front, it was breed specific and established that IRWS vWD is a variant of Type 1.  The Type 1 as in Dobermanns etc did not work for IRWS.

107 dogs were tested and 13 carriers identified, the last one in 2004.  For inclusion on the Puppy List, the GB Club required both parents to be vWD tested before mating and later asked the KC to refuse registration to litters unless both parents were clear of vWD by test or by inheritance.  Five years grace was given for the use of carrier x clear.  There have been no affected cases reported since 1999 and apart from about 5 unco-operative breeders, all litters registered since 2007 are hereditarily clear

Now the regulation is in force, all subsequent UK registered IRWS are vWD clear

The GB Club hoped that the IRWS vWD might work for Irish Setters as the Irish Setter CLAD DNA test works for IRWS - however no Irish Setters have come forward with vWD to test it.... so we dion't know!!

Incidentally, the first vWD case, "Princess" lived until she was 14 on regular medication.....

Where did vWD come from?  Who knows?

Thanks Ann - I can't understand why our NZKC has said the DNA test is mandatory for ABS status!   I think that whoever laid down the breed-specific tests has just lumped all "Irish Setters" in as one breed. (A bit like some judges appear to think all Setters are the same, just different colours LOL!)

I would have thought that testing English Setters for vWD would have more reason to it.

Those stats were interesting - it would be a good genetics exercise to see if the source of the gene could be found - unless it was a mutation??

We come back to the same place, three possible sources for VWD in IRW


Red Irish Setters

An undocumented outcross to another breed , with English Setters as probably the strongest suspect as they are known to carry VWD

A mutation in the decade between the revival of the IRWS in the eighties and the first known cases in IRWS in the 1990's


Take your pick of whichever you prefer :))


My money is on the English Setter outcross.....try getting anyone to admit to that!!!

A genetic mutation in ten years doesn't bear thinking of.

Sue, I don't honestly know.  I know that late onset PRA has been known to exist for a number of years.  I was just pondering on the lesser of two evils...........




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