Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

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Congenital muscular dystrophies associated with independent mutations in the collagen VI gene has been identified in families of American Staffordshire Terrier and Labrador Retriever dogs. At 4 months of age, clinical signs including angular limb deformities and carpal and tarsal contractures were present. Serum creatine kinase activity was persistently elevated. Histopathology of muscle biopsies showed a dystrophic phenotype and immunohistochemical stainings of fibroblasts and muscle  showed an absence of staining for collagen VI.

Research carried out at the University of Minnesota, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of California San Diego – Comparative Neuromuscular Laboratory identified pathogenic mutations in the collagen VI gene with an autosomal recessive manner of inheritance.

We are now offering genetic tests which allows owners to determine their dog’s status for these mutations in order to diagnose affected dogs and to guide future breeding decisions.

For purebred dogs, we recommend testing for the breed-specific collagen VI mutation.

Labrador with muscular dystrophy


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Canine Genetics Lab
University of Minnesota
1988 Fitch Ave
AS/VM 295
St. Paul, MN 55108
[email protected]

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Scientific references

Pathogenic variants in COL6A3 cause Ullrich-like congenital muscular dystrophy in young Labrador Retriever dogs
Bolduc V, Minor KM, et al. (2020)
Neuromuscular Disorders, doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2020.03.005

Novel COL6A3 frameshift variant in American Staffordshire Terrier dogs with Ullrich-like congenital muscular dystrophy
Leanne Jankelunas, Vishal D. Murthy, Annie V. Chen, Katie M. Minor, Steven G. Friedenberg, Jonah N. Cullen, Ling T. Guo, James R. Mickelson, G. Diane Shelton
J Vet Intern Med.2023;1–6 doi: 10.1111/jvim.16862