UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

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