Vol. 9 No. 3 (2023)

Awareness of the MDR-1 mutation in owners of sheep herding breeds related to collie lineage

Lorella Giuliotti
University of Pisa
Maria Novella Benvenuti
Dip. Scienze Veterinarie Unipi
Fabio Macchioni
Dip. Scienze Veterinarie Unipi
Francesca Cecchi
Dip. Scienze Veterinarie Unipi

Published 2024-07-02


  • MDR-1 mutation,
  • owners,
  • questionnaire


The research focuses on the MDR-1 gene mutation, predominantly found in Collies and other related breeds, which affects the functionality of P-glycoprotein, a crucial component of the blood-brain barrier in dogs. This mutation results in heightened sensitivity to certain drugs, most notably ivermectin, which can lead to severe neurotoxic effects if administered to affected animals. The mutation is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, and it is linked to the introduction of ivermectin in the 1980s. This study aims to assess the awareness among dog owners of purebred dogs concerning the MDR-1 mutation and its implications. The study was conducted by distributing a survey to dog owners, focusing on their knowledge about the mutation that could make drugs harmful to their dogs, as well as their choices regarding genetic testing.

The findings indicate that while a substantial number of owners are aware and tested their dogs, a considerable portion remains uninformed about the mutation and the associated risks.

The obtained results underscore the need for increase education on the MDR-1 mutation and advocate for routine genetic testing to manage and mitigate health risks effectively. This would not only safeguard the health of individual dogs but also guide breeding decisions to prevent the spread of this deleterious allele.