What Is Health Testing
Conscientious breeders check the dogs they will be breeding for hereditary health problems. The breeder should show you the proof that their dogs are tested. This does not guarantee puppies will not develop problems, but it certainly minimizes the risks. The following is a list of the diseases and the explanation of each that are prevelant in the breeds that are used in producing the Doodles. Marketing and salesmanship tactics have led many an unsuspecting purchaser to believe that the Doodles are healthier then their purebred counterparts that helped to produce them, thus the term “Hybrid Vigour”. THis can be a honest statement when used in the right context….but, the genes are the genes and since many of them are carried in both sets of parents, the hereditary incidence is still there and could cause your new family member to be crippled, blind or even cause early death. Please, take the time to discover what diseases could and do effect the pups that are born into the world of the Doods. You will be glad that you did. you will be a educated consumer……………who can then have the information to make an informed decision as to the importance of purchasing that New Family member from A Premium breeder .
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)
CHD is a malformation or abnormal looseness of the hip joint. Affected dogs may exhibit no symptoms or may be crippled from as young as eight weeks. Dogs who are asymptomatic early in life often develop arthritis in the hip joints as they age. This disease is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The mode of inheritance has not yet been determined but is thought to be polygenic (caused by the influences of many genes).
In the past few years, goldens and labs along with many of the other breeds have been identified as suffering from hereditary elbow dysplasia. Similar to CHD, dogs affected with elbow dysplasia may be asymptomatic or may be so severely affected they need surgery. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides clearance numbers for elbow dysplasia but does not provide grades in the number, e.g. GR-EL1121. WE recommend that you clear for all elbows in all breeding stock at the same time that you are clearing OFA hips.
Canine von Willebrands Disease (vWD)
vWD is a disease similar to hemophilia in humans. This disease can often times be fatal in some breeds.
Many breeds are increasingly affected by hypothyroidism (low thyroid). This disease can cause lethargy, weight gain, hair loss, and skin problems. Less frequent but also problematic, hyperthyroidism (high thyroid) can cause dogs to be underweight and hyperactive. Thyroid abnormalities are easily diagnosed using a blood test and can be controlled through daily, lifelong medication. Thyroid testing is done at a number of labs across the United States The most common ones you will see are from Cornell and the University of Michigan. The OFA now provides a registry for thyroid screening. The OFA number will look like GR-TH226/24F-PI, indicating the dog is the 226th golden retriever (GR) to register for thyroid (TH). The dog was 24 months old (24) when the test was done and it was a bitch (F). The PI at the end indicates that this dog is permanently identified with a tatoo, microchip or other feature.
This disease is caused by the adrenal glands not producing enough cortisone and aldosterone. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and weight loss. The dog will require medication for the rest of its life. Dogs are tested for this disease by a simple blood test. This test does not prove/disprove carrier status. The dog may test clear but could still develop the disease later in life and may produce puppies with this disease. For more information http://www.medhelp.org/www/nadf3.htm Hypothyroid Disease
Inherited Heart Disease
Heart disease is prevalent in goldens although not as bad as many other breeds. The breed’s primary heart problem is Subarterial Aortic Stenosis (SAS) but goldens also face Mitral Valve Dysplasia and other valve problems.
SAS is a restriction of the aorta, usually by a ring of fibrous tissue, just after it leaves the heart. This restriction results in a distinct murmur (due to backflow and turbulence), heart enlargement, and restricted blood flow. As with CHD, affected dogs can be asymptomatic or severely crippled by this disease. SAS can also lead to sudden death, even in very young dogs. It is thought to be a genetic disease with a polygenic dominant mode of inheritance. Since many goldens have innocent (non-SAS) murmurs as puppies, breeding adults must be cleared by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist. We will require that the Goldens be cleared for SAS by a board-certified veterinary Cardiologist. You can find a list of board-certified veterinary cardiologists at http://www.vetheart.com/bystate.htm
The OFA has opened a heart registry so some breeders may provide you with OFA certification. These numbers will look like GR-CA2544/31F/C-T indicating the dog was a golden retriever (GR) who got the 2544th cardiac (CA) clearance when the dog was 31 months old (31). She is a bitch (F) and the clearance was done by a board-certified cardiologist (C). Other veterinarians, you might see listed are S for specialist and and P for practitioner. Finally, the -T at the end indicates the dog is tattooed. This is being changed to PI for permanent identification.
The most common eye problems of golden retrievers are bilateral, juvenile-onset cataracts and abnormalities of the eyelids/eyelashes. Contrary to its name, juvenile cataracts may not appear until the dog is five or six years old. Thankfully, most golden retriever cataracts are quite small and have little or no effect on the dog. Eyelid abnormalities include an inward rolling of the eyelid (entropion, ectropion) and the existence of extra eyelashes on the inside of the eyelid (distichiasis, trichiasis).
In addition, Goldens may suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia (RD). The mode of inheritance for PRA has not been established and we will require that no dog with PRA, with a family history of PRA or that has produced PRA be used for breeding purposes. RD is thought to be simple recessive. The premium Breeders site will require that the breeding stock be cleared annually by a board-certified canine ophthalmologist.
The Canine Eye Research Foundation (CERF) provides certifying numbers to dogs cleared annually. CERF numbers are similar to OFA numbers except, since they must be repeated every year, they indicate the year and age of the cleared dog. Thus, CERF GR1111/96-24 is a golden retriever (GR) with clearance number 1111 who was seen by an ophthalmologist in 1996 when he was 24 months old.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
This is a perplexing condition in which the sebaceous glands in the skin become inflamed for unknown reasons, and are eventually destroyed. These glands normally produce sebum, a fatty secretion that helps prevent drying of the skin. Clinical signs vary with the severity of the condition, and between different breeds. How is sebaceous adenitis inherited? It appears that the disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait in the standard poodle; however the wide variation in clinical signs suggests that inheritance is not straightforward, and breeding studies continue.
What breeds are affected by sebaceous adenitis?
Sebaceous adenitis is most often seen in the Standard Poodle, Vizsla, Akita, and Samoyed. The condition has been diagnosed in many other breeds as well (see resource 1 below). For many breeds and many disorders, the studies to determine the mode of inheritance or the frequency in the breed have not been carried out, or are inconclusive. We have listed breeds for which there is a consensus among those investigating in this field and among veterinary practitioners, that the condition is significant in this breed.
What does sebaceous adenitis mean to your dog & you?
Sebaceous adenitis is usually first noticed in young adult dogs (1 to 5 years of age). The condition can appear differently in different breeds, and there is also marked variability depending on the clinical severity. One form of the disorder is seen in long-coated breeds – the Akita, Samoyed, and (most-studied) the Standard Poodle. Typically affected Standard Poodles have dry scaly skin with patches of hair loss along the top of the head, back of the neck, and back. Silvery scales tightly adhere to tufts of remaining hair. Very mildly (“sub-clinically”) affected Standard Poodles have a normal hair-coat, but abnormalities typical of the condition are seen on microscopic examination of skin biopsies. More severely affected dogs will have areas of thickened skin (“hyperkeratosis”), extensive hair loss and often a musty or rancid odor. Secondary skin infections often occur as well.
The second form of sebaceous adenitis occurs in short-coated breeds such as the Vizsla. There is a moth-eaten appearance to the hair/coat with mild scaling, affecting primarily the trunk, head, and ears. Sebaceous adenitis is primarily a cosmetic disorder – that is it affects the appearance of the dog rather than his/her general health. The condition tends to be most severe in the Akita, resulting in chronic secondary bacterial infections, weight loss, and fever.
How is sebaceous adenitis diagnosed?
Your veterinarian may suspect this disorder based on your dog’s clinical signs. To differentiate this condition from other skin disorders, many of which are also associated with increased scaling, a skin biopsy is necessary. This is a simple procedure done with local anesthetic, in which your veterinarian removes a small sample of your dog’s skin for examination by a veterinary pathologist. The biopsy will show changes in the skin consistent with this condition.
How is sebaceous adenitis treated?
This disorder requires long term management, which can be frustrating for both owners and veterinarians because the response to treatment is highly variable. There may be periods of spontaneous improvement or worsening of the condition, independent of treatment. Your veterinarian will likely try a combination of approaches, to determine with you what will be most effective for your dog. Most important is the regular use of anti-seborrheic shampoos to remove scales and dead hair, together with fatty acid dietary supplements. This may be all that is required in mildly affected dogs. Additional treatments include spraying the dog with a mixture of propylene glycol and water to help restore lubricants to the skin and the use of oral essential fatty acids.
Although the genetics have not been determined, the condition does appear to be inherited in those breeds studied. It is thus preferable to avoid breeding affected dogs of any breed, their siblings, and their parents. The Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC) operates an open registry for sebaceous adenitis in the Standard Poodle. All dogs that have been used or are intended to be used for breeding purposes, or any dog with a diagnosis of sebaceous adenitis, should be registered through an annual skin biopsy. Bear in mind that sub clinically affected poodles (meaning that they have no clinical signs, even though a skin biopsy shows that they have a mild form of the disorder) may produce clinically affected puppies.
The GDC (http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/gdc/gdc.html) provides registration forms, instructions for veterinarians regarding biopsies, and a list of participating pathologists. Registration requires an evaluation of two 6-mm skin biopsies by a participating dermatopathologist, who will send the results to the submitting veterinarian and GDC for their computer files. In sub-clinically affected dogs (those with a normal hair/coat), histologic lesions consistent with sebaceous adenitis may not be evident in a particular biopsy sample. Thus a pathologist’s report of “normal” does not guarantee that the dog is unaffected, but rather that the skin biopsies examined showed no evidence of the disorder. By having the poodle biopsied and registered annually, however, the owner has done all that s/he can to ensure the animal is suitable for breeding, and has contributed information to the registry to decrease the incidence of this disease in the standard poodle.