Golden Retreiver in the woods

Canine Multiple System Degeneration

Chinese Crested and Kerry Blue Terrier ONLY

What is CMSD/PNA?

Canine multiple system degeneration (CMSD) is a hereditary movement disorder that affects Kerry Blue Terriers and Chinese Crested Dogs. Affected pups develop normally until about 4 months of age. Then their head starts to shake when they focus on something, and rather than becoming stronger and more coordinated, they develop exaggerated, goose-stepping movements (cerebellar ataxia). Dogs can function with cerebellar ataxia, but CMSD progresses to a more severe movement disorder by 12-18 months of age. Affected dogs have difficulty even starting a movement and fall frequently. They become incapacitated by 2 years of age. (This is the same hereditary movement disorder that had been recognized in Kerry Blue Terriers since the 1940s. This condition had gone under a variety of names but was most commonly called PNA by the Kerry breeders.)

What else can look like CMSD/PNA?

To complicate the picture, we have identified another hereditary movement disorder in Kerry Blue Terriers, a pure cerebellar ataxia. Fortunately, dogs with this condition do not progress past the ataxia stage and can live happy lives. It could, however, be confused with CMSD. If you have a Kerry Blue Terrier that you suspect has this pure cerebellar ataxia, please contact us. We hope to be able to find the mutation responsible for this one as well.

With the DNA test, carriers of the mutant gene can still be used for breeding as long as they are bred to a dog that is clear of the mutation. That way no affected dogs will be born, but the desirable genetic diversity that these dogs provide the breed will be maintained. When selecting future breeding stock, the gene status can be considered in deciding which pups to keep but does not have to be the sole factor. As discussed above there are other both hereditary and acquired causes of cerebellar ataxia. Thus not every dog with ataxia will have the mutation.

Information supplied by the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, used by permission.

Research Available:

Statistics on testing results

Order DNA Test

Tests are ordered online through the secure area of the OFA website. Payment is accepted by credit card (MasterCard and VISA). The OFA administers all order handling. Upon receipt of an order, the OFA will send out the test kit which will include a Foam-Tipped Applicator card for DNA sample collection, along with sample collection instructions. Using the FTA card technology, owners can safely collect DNA samples at home. The collection process is non-invasive, and no veterinary appointment is necessary.

Samples are then sent to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine where the samples will be processed by the Small Animal Molecular Genetics Lab. Results will be forwarded to the OFA, and the OFA will issue the resulting report to the owner.

The fee for each test includes the test kit, laboratory processing, and subsequent registration in the OFA databases.