ILU Health Committee

Poly neuorpathy

FAQ Poly neuorpathy

LPN1 test results


Anal Furunculosis

Hip Dysplasia

Osteochondrosis Dissecans

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Eosinophilic Panosteitis

Addison's Disease



Entropion / Ectropion



2013 Report from the Health Group of the International Leonberger Union
Click for DNA Databank proposal 2013
Click for excerpt from Kerstin Lindblad Toh Cancer research update
Click for lpn1-LEMP update 2013 Minnesota

Click for LPN1-LEMP update 2013 Bern
Click for LPN1 stats Bern

Dear members of the International Leonberger Union.

At the annual delegates’ meeting on the 29th of September of 2012, it was decided to form a health committee for the ILU. Using internet chat technology, we have started the work of this group. In our initial discussions we agreed a set of guidelines that we propose will define our future work.

These are:

• To gather information from our member clubs about the health issues and concerns affecting our breed; what they are, where they are, and how frequently they occur.

• To find ways to maintain and update this information regularly, so that it remains current and valid.

• To report back on these findings annually so that all members may have a clear idea of what is affecting our breed and where the most concern lies.

• To seek out appropriately qualified research programmes that our breed might collaborate with to develop new tools for treating individual leonbergers, and / or reducing the occurrence of these conditions within breeding populations as a whole.

What we will not do is to provide veterinary advice or instructions, as this is not our role and we are in no way qualified to do so.

We will also not focus on any single illness or condition, but rather, we will be guided by what the most prevalent concerns are (as expressed by ILU member clubs), and by where the most promising research opportunities are.

We will not start any major projects, or launch any formal schemes before they have been presented to, and approved by, the annual delegates’ meeting in Leonberg.

To begin our work, we contacted all member clubs and asked them 3 questions:

• Do you have a specific individual or group of individuals who are responsible for health matters in your club?, and if so, who are they and what are their contact details?, (email is fine).

• Has your club ever done any health studies or surveys, or have you used some other method for gathering specific details of health concerns and frequencies of illnesses among the leonbergers in your national population? If so, will you share this information with us?

• What issues are you most concerned about?

Based on the replies we have received, we have now started to understand what the main health concerns are in the various regions. It is clear that these lists do not always correlate with each other. For example, some areas seem to have more issues with hypothyroidism, some have grater concerns about heart conditions, and in some other countries fearful or insecure temperaments are becoming more of a concern. But one thing is very clear and that is that osteosarcoma is the number one concern everywhere. For this reason, we will focus more of our time and energy on this illness.

In the past year we have also been closely following progress in two current areas of research related to our breed and we have provided detailed updates for this year’s delegates’ meeting. They are the ongoing LPN study being done by the Universities of Minnesota and Bern, and the international cancer research collaboration involving the Broad Institute, Bern and the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

The ILU Health Group is keenly aware that the LPN issue has dominated our health discussions for many years and that many delegates are perhaps tired of focusing on it now, which is understandable. Following the release in 2010 of the gene marker test for early onset LPN1, further progress has been very slow. But there have still been great benefits for the Leonberger breed. There are three key points to make about this; Firstly, we are informed that the manuscript detailing this research is now being prepared for publication, which means that soon the LPN1 test will be made available to other countries besides Switzerland and the United States. This should make it much easier for owners worldwide to get the test done. Secondly, the researchers have added LEMP (Leukoencephalomyelopathy), to their study and have consequently made excellent progress in this illness because of the immense effort that they put into their previous LPN research. Thirdly, through this long LPN research, a tremendously important DNA sample library for our breed has been gathered together, and this valuable resource is now being put to use by other research scientists who are now trying to tackle the number one illness that affects our breed- cancer.

It is this last point that inspired the ILU health committee to suggest our first proposed project: an international Leonberger DNA research depository. It is our hope that this could be founded on the DNA samples already being shared by research teams. In addition to collections already held by Minnesota / Bern / and the Broad institute’s cancer research collaboration, we are aware that Antagene in France is doing research on Cardiomyopathie, Hip-displasia and Osteosarcome and that they have also collected leonberger DNA for this. Our hope is that they could also be approached about cooperating in a shared scheme.

The first stage of this would be a simple investigation into the possibilities of achieving this, how it would be done, how access to it would be controlled, what the costs would be, where samples would be stored, and what the practicalities would be?

We have prepared a basic proposal for a feasibility study to investigate this, and we submit it today for consideration by all the member country delegates.

Thank you for your help with this work,

Wilma Kroon,
Anita Treichler,
Metha Stramer ,
Teresa Schlaffer,
Sharon Springel

September 28th, 2013

Contact for the committee: Sharon Springel