Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis (corny feet) of French Mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux )


Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis leads to thickening and hardening of the footpads. About 11% of French Mastiffs are carriers of the gene responsible for the disease. A reliable DNA test (called HFH-B)  can screen breeding dogs, in order to adapt matings and avoid birth of affected puppies and the spread of the disease in the breed.

A an early and frequent hereditary disease

The Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis, also called corny feet leads to a thickening and hardening of the footpads resulting from abnormal proliferation of cells of the skin. A horn growth is observed on the four footpads.

Affected puppies suffer from painful cracks and crevices in the most severe cases, resulting in a difficulty to move.

The first symptoms appear around the age of 4 to 9 months.

Around 11% of French Mastiffs in France are carrier of the genetic mutation for Hereditary Footpad  hyperkeratosis .

A dog « carrier » of the mutation will not develop the disease but transmits it to 50% of the puppies. A breeder can unknowingly mate a male « carrier » and a female « carrier » and produce a litter containing affected puppies. A stud ( ?) « carrier » of the mutation which is used a lot for reproduction, spreads the disease through the breed and helps to increase the frequency of the mutation and multiply the number of affected dogs.

A preventable disease

Researches conducted by the team of Dr Catherine André (CNRS of Rennes) in collaboration with ANTAGENE (Dr Anne Thomas and Dr Guillaume Queney) have lead to the development of a DNA test, called test HFH-B. This DNA test can detect the hyperkeratosis of the footpads in the French Mastiff breed with reliability greater than 99%.

Researches conducted on Hyperkeratosis of French Mastiff have shown that the mutations involved in the nose Hyperkeratosis and the footpad Hyperkeratosis are independant. In fact, the HFH-B DNA test doesn‘t allow to screen for the nose Hyperkeratosis.

In order to secure its kennel and avoid the risk of production of affected puppies, the breeder has to screen its breeding dogs thanks to the HFH-B DNA test.

When acquiring a puppy for breeding or when a breeding dog is used for a mating, the breeder verifies the genetic status of the dog for the result of the HFH-B DNA test.

A DNA test easy to perform

The veterinarian performs a simple cheek swab and sends it to the laboratory. The result, delivered within few days, indicates if the tested dog is clear, carrier or affected for Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis.  A genetic certificate displaying the result must be used as a guarantee for a mating or to justify the sale of puppies clear from Hereditary Footpad hyperkeratosis.

A breeder who knows the genetic status of the dog can select its breeding dogs, adapt matings, avoid the birth of affected puppies and limit the spread of this severe disease in the breed.