UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

Great Dane Tests

Tests Offered:

Inherited Myopathy of Great Danes


Inherited myopathy of Great Danes (IMGD) is a rapidly progressive muscle myopathy with an age of onset around six months. The disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion thus two copies of the IMGD mutation are needed for a dog to be affected. IMGD results from a single base change in the bridging integrator 1 (BIN1) gene. Affected dogs exhibit exercise intolerance and progressive muscle atrophy. Research data suggest that only 20% of affected dogs survive to adulthood with acceptable quality of life. Dogs with one normal and one mutated BIN1 gene (carriers) are unaffected but breeding two carriers together would be predicted to produce 25% affected offspring and 50% carriers.

The VGL offers a test for IMGD to assist owners and breeders in identifying affected and carrier dogs. The test uses DNA collected from buccal (cheek) swabs, thus avoiding blood sample collection. Breeders can use results from the test as a tool for selection of mating pairs to avoid producing affected dogs.

Allow 3-6 business days for results.

Results reported as:

N/N Normal - no copies of the IMGD mutation
N/IM Carrier - 1 copy of the IMGD mutation; dog is normal
IM/IM Affected - 2 copies of the IMGD mutation


SE Davies, DR Davies, RB Richards and WJ Bruce. Inherited myopathy in a Great Dane. Australian Veterinary Journal 2008;86:43-45.

Böhm J, Vasli N, Maurer M, Cowling B, Shelton GD, Kress W, Toussaint A, Prokic I, Schara U, Anderson TJ, Weis J, Tiret L, Laporte J. Altered splicing of the BIN1 muscle-specific exon in humans and dogs with highly progresive centronuclear myopathy. PLoS Genet. 2013 Jun;9(6):e1003430. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003430.


Leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP) in Rottweilers and Great Danes

Leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. LEMP is characterized by a generalized, progressive loss of balance with increasing immobility. Signs of LEMP often appear prior to 1 year of age, typically presenting as gait abnormalities including dragging of paws and knuckling.  The disease is progressive, moving from front to back limbs but is not associated with pain.

LEMP in Rottweiler dogs results from an insertion of one base in the NAPEPLD gene (c.345_346insC), reported here as LEMP. The disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion, which means that males and females are equally affected and that two copies of the defective gene are needed to cause LEMP. Dogs with one normal and one affected gene (carriers) are normal and show no signs of the disease. This variant is also present in Great Danes therefore testing for this breed is advisable.

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory offers a genetic test for the mutation associated with LEMP in Rottweiler and Great Dane breeds. Test results assist veterinarians with diagnosis of LEMP and help breeders identify carriers among breeding stock to avoid producing affected dogs. Matings between carriers are expected to produce 25% of affected puppies.

Testing is appropriate for: Rottweilers, Great Danes

This test does not identify the variant responsible for LEMP in Leonbergers.

Allow 5-10 business days for results.

Results reported as:


Normal - no copies of the LEMP mutation


Carrier - 1 copy of the LEMP mutation


Affected - 2 copies of the LEMP mutation


Minor KM, Letko A, Becker D, Drögemüller M, Mandigers PJJ, Bellekom SR, Leegwater PAJ, Stassen QEM, Putschbach K, Fischer A, Flegel T, Matiasek K, Ekenstedt KJ, Furrow E, Patterson EE, Platt SR, Kelly PA, Cassidy JP, Shelton GD, Lucot K, Bannasch DL, Martineau H, Muir CF, Priestnall SL, Henke D, Oevermann A, Jagannathan V, Mickelson JR, Drögemüller C.  (2018). Canine NAPEPLD-associated models of human myelin disorders. Sci Rep 8:5818.

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL