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Australian Shepherds

All About Aussies

MDR1 Mutation

While you may not be a scientist or savvy about the world of genes, as an owner (or potential owner) of an Australian Shepherd you need to be aware of MDR1.  MDR1 stands for 'Multi-Drug Resistance 1' and it relates to a mutation of this gene that can cause sensitivity to several drugs. Australian Shepherds commonly carry MDR1 mutations, but it certainly isn't limited to this breed. Collies, Long-Haired Whippets, Shetland Sheepdogs and German Shepherds are some of the other breeds which also can carry the mutation.  Fortunately there is a test which can determine if your dog is carrying one or two copies of the gene through a simple cheek swab that doesn't even require a vet visit.  The test results will determine if zero, one or two copies of the gene are present by identifying a Normal/Normal, Normal/Mutant or Mutant/Mutant result.  Even if your dog has only one copy of the gene, you should consider your Aussie to be sensitive to the listed drugs and never expose them. Knowing about your dog's genetics can save them from possible neurological illness or death if they were ever to come into contact with the list of drugs below:

  • Acepromazine - Tranquilizer
  • Butorphanol - Analgesic
  • Emodepside - Dewormer agent
  • Erythromycin - Antibiotic
  • Ivermectin - Antiparasitic agent
  • Loperamide - Antidiarrheal agent
  • Selamectin - Antiparasitic agent
  • Milbemycin - Antiparasitic agent
  • Moxidectin - Antiparasitic agent
  • Vincristine - Chemotherapy agent
  • Vinblastine - Chemotherapy agent
  • Doxorubicin - Chemotherapy agent

Testing for the MDR1 mutation can be performed through Washington State University.