Familial Nephropathy - FN



Also known as Autosomal Hereditary Recessive Nephropathy, FN is inherited kidney disease; it is progressive and invariably fatal. It is a condition that usually develops in the first year of a dog’s life and can lead to renal failure within five years. The rate at which the disease can develop depends very much on a dog’s genetic make up.

Severity - 5

FN has a very high degree of severity, as kidney function degenerates, the quality of life decreases, as does the lifespan of the affected dog.


Like people, dogs that show sign of kidney disease tend to drink more and therefore urinate more. In pups, the disease can easily go undiagnosed because dog owners mistakenly attribute frequent and uncontrolled urination to the possibility that a dog is a slow learner when it comes to it being housetrained.

As the condition progresses, affected dogs will display some or all of the following symptoms, which suggest the dog may have a renal problem; loss of weight, slow growth rate, dull or thin coat, poor appetite, increased lethargy, frequent vomiting, signs of anaemia. As in humans, this disease can lead to kidney failure and death.

Genetic Testing

Animal Network provides a DNA test that determines the genetic predisposition to FN.

FN is autosomal recessive. A direct gene test can determine whether a dog is clear, a carrier or affected. A recessive phenotype (trait or disease) requires two copies of the causative gene variant for the phenotype to be expressed.

If both parents have two copies of the recessive gene variant, then 100% of all offspring will show the phenotype. If one parent has two copies of the recessive gene variant and the other parent is a carrier with a single copy, then 50% of all offspring will show the phenotype and 50% will be carriers. If both parents are carriers of the recessive gene variant then 25% of all offspring will show the phenotype, 50% will be carriers and 25% will be clear. If one parent is a carrier and the other is clear then 50% of offspring will be carriers and 50% will be clear.

Due to the probability of genetic inheritance, the actual outcome of matings may vary from expected ratios, eg 2 carriers may produce all Clear or all Affected.

For an explanation of possible genetic status of offspring please refer to our fact sheet on Breeding Strategies. ORDER A TEST

Breeds Affected

Cocker Spaniel

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