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Mycobacterium Avium Complex in Miniature Schnauzers

Posted: 13 Sep 2017, 15:12
by zeta1454
We were recently contacted by the Kennel Club regarding this potentially fatal condition which can affect Miniature Schnauzers as we have bred minis in the past. The Kennel Club was forwarding a letter from the KC's Miniature Schnauzer Health Coordinator to urge that anyone considering breeding a litter of miniature schnauzers should ensure that BOTH parent dogs have been DNA tested prior to mating to ensure this disease can be prevented from spreading in the UK.

For anyone unaware of this illness, these details are from the Miniature Schnauzer Club website:

"The condition is usually fatal at a very early age, although one of the UK dogs lived until he was 5 years old. `MAC’ is a type of tuberculosis and is believed to be zoonotic (able to cross species). Very young children, immune-compromised adults and elderly people are thought to be most at risk. However, there has been no case, not one, where the condition has been transmitted by a dog to a human.
The primary clinical sign of MAC infection is lymph node enlargement. The organisms infiltrate the liver and spleen, resulting in liver and spleen enlargement. The more common causes of generalized lymph node enlargement such as lymphoma may result in a misdiagnosis, unless a lymph node biopsy or aspirate is performed with an acid-fast stain to identify cellular changes characteristic of mycobacterial infection. Other clinical signs that may or may not be observed in all cases include lethargy, vomiting, lack of appetite, fever, lameness, blood in the stool, diarrhoea, pale mucous membranes, abdominal distension and eye or nasal discharge."

A greater number of dogs have been affected in the US but, as many miniature schnauzers do have American dogs in their pedigree going back, there is concern that without swift action by breeders MAC could become more prevalent here. All the UK schnauzer breed clubs are in agreement over this and the following advice has been issued by them to anyone thinking of breeding and, for anyone looking to purchase a miniature schnauzer puppy in the future, to check whether the parent dogs have been DNA tested for MAC:


As a caring breeder/owner, you may already be aware of the Miniature Schnauzer Club (MSC), Northern Schnauzer Club (NSC) & Schnauzer Club of GB’s (SCGB) unequivocal recommendation, in relation to DNA testing for ‘MAC’, which mirrors that from Dr Urs Giger and the American Miniature Schnauzer Club (AMSC). Thankfully, many caring UK breeders have already begun testing their Minis and have sent copies of their results to Chris Ellingworth, the KC’s Miniature Schnauzer Breed Health Coordinator (BHC) for publication.
This collaborative approach has led to an agreement that:
The MSC, NSC & SCGB recommend that PRIOR TO MATING, all Miniature Schnauzers should be DNA tested for MAC unless BOTH parents have been DNA tested and BOTH are ‘Normal/Clear’

MAC is a significantly life-shortening condition for which there is no cure. The condition causes severe health problems for Miniature Schnauzers (and the consequent emotional issues for their owners) that end up – irrespective of how few – contracting this fatal condition. Additionally, affected dogs may present dangers to very young, or old people and those with compromised immune systems. This test is the very minimum all caring breeders should do."
Full details can be found under "Health" on all the breed club websites. This is from the Miniature Schnauzer Club: ... july-2017/" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Re: Mycobacterium Avium Complex in Miniature Schnauzers

Posted: 15 Nov 2019, 17:34
by zeta1454
The DNA test for MAC is now mandatory for Assured Breeders of miniature schnauzers being introduced in the most recent update on health testing requirements and recommendations for ABS members issued by the Kennel Club: ... er-scheme/

Anyone looking to introduce a mini schnauzer puppy into their family should be aware of the recommended health tests available for the breed and check that they have been carried out before agreeing to adopt. Whether or not a breeder thinks the condition is unlikely to affect their lines, reputable breeders will want to ensure they have done all they can to reassure there are no issues. With the DNA test, if both parent dogs have been tested clear, all their offspring will automatically be confirmed clear too.