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Selecting a breeder. what information is needed when you have JUST a PET?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
Tuck

CHIC CH. Tuck- CDX TDX RN VNEX- TDI SAR-W3
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 6:32am PST 
This is a timeline forensics of why knowlege if family lines, and testing is critical. deep family history knowlege all contributed in saving a life.
A genetic condition that could have been passed along was stopped because of routine ultrasound screenings on apparently healthy dogs.



Here is a timeline to demonstrate an actual dog (MINE) of how health testing works, the importance, how open communication health networking of other breeders and owners makes a critical difference.


Timeline:
Dec 28 2005 Tuck Born
2010- Completed health Testing
2005 SEARCH and RESCUE Certified, TD, CD, TDX titles
2006, RN
2008 Champion (Also winning 5 breed specialties)
CHIC OFA-Elbows OFA-Cardiac OFA-HIPS OFA-THYROID OFA-PAtellas OFA-Kidneys OFA-PRA CERF
2010 Becomes father
2011 Tuck's mother died of splenic cancer at age 7, then siblings follow suit
Tucks father died of Spleenic cancer at age 14 1/2 (Tuck was frozen semen and father died in 2004)
2012 Tuck's puppy diagnosed with renal agenesis by ultrasound and dye studies
Discovery discloses this is a hereditary incomplete dominant gene. Further study with familial history points out the patterns associated with the renal agenesis gene has been there the entire time unrecognized, starting with Tuck's mother, imported from Norway, who had problems carrying litters to term, with absorbed puppies, mummy puppies, detached placentas, undeveloped puppies, and puppies that died within 1 day of birth,
Malnouriashed uterine horns,
When Tuck was bred, the bitch had a previous history of normal litters. When bred to Tuck, the history of dying puppies at or shortly after birth continued.(2010) Necropsies were not done. In retrospect, upon discovery of the renal agenesis in Bob, and looking back on the familial history, everything came together in 2012. The only thing missing was the necropsy on thse dead puppies, which would have confirmed bilateral renal agenesis.

Several generations were born of puppies dying at birth. There had been no earlier familial history of this until Tuck was born, and it's suspected this gene was imported with Tuck's mother. Making Tuck a carrier. When he became a father again, the puppies dying at birth, PLUS BOB's discovery that he had renal agenesis pinpointed Tuck as the Renal agenesis carrier. Almost assuredly through his mother (Already dead by the time of discovery) Tuck has two normal kidneys and cleanly passes the OFA kidney test) -- So does Bob, who has one kidney. OFA Screening does not catch this condition

Dec 2012 A routine screening shows a small node
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Tuck

CHIC CH. Tuck- CDX TDX RN VNEX- TDI SAR-W3
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 8:12am PST 
The doctors concluded this should be measured and routine 6 month monitoring by ultrasound to check growth. (AFTER Tuck became a father, his dam side family started dying of spleenic cancer. This was all reported through emails, phone calls etc of show people who knew I had a nephew related to the spleenic cancer victims) How many dogs have this kind of networking? SHOW DOGS.

Since it had become known that Tuck had an unusually strong familial history of spleenic cancer dying at age 7 (Tuck was to become 7 the following week) all specialists realized there may possibly be a genetic component to spleenic cancer in Tuck. (suspected.. but not confirmed, as this technology currently does not exist, and genetic markers have not been identified)
The decision was made by the specialists(all involved and there were multiple consults) that Tuck needed to have his spleen removed immediately. This decision was made based on information of familial networking, NOT normal protocol.

JAn 2013 Tuck had spleen removal and was neutered. 2 weeks later, the biopsy confirmed the node was malignant, but they felt there was no other involvement, and no further treatment was recommended because it was caught early.

NETWORKING saved Tuck's life. Clearly. All this information happened after Tuck had clearly passed all available genetic testing, performance testing, conformation testing, there was some troubling breeding history, but nothing confirmed, until AFTER Tuck had been bred, and it still took a year later to find out what it was.

When you are thinking of buying a puppy, how much does your breeder know about the family health history? How much health testing does that breeder actually do, that puts the health puzzle of your dog in perspective? Is not knowing good enough? These are all things to consider when you are thinking of buying a puppy. Is this testing going on in NON-Show bred puppies? Is this kind of communication happening in non show bred dogs? The fact this dog is a champion is not of consequence. The fact that he is a valuable Search and Rescue dog was a consideration. The fact that he was a seriously loved PET was of highest importance. So when purchasing a pet, and saying, I don't need a show dog, I just want a pet, consider the wealth of information and networking that comes with the show community dog, and realize, it's not the titles that's important in your pet, but the information that CAN make a difference.

How much can your breeder tell YOU? How much health testing do they DO? How much family history, of parents, grand parents, cousins, aunts and uncles does that breeder know about (for their entire life? Just selling an 8 week old puppy is NOT enough. Not if you care about your dog, even if it IS just a pet. (Which is absolutely the MOST important job a dog can have)
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 8:16am PST 
Thank you for sharing this. Very interesting, although sad for the puppies affected. A very good reason for choosing a breeder that along with full health testing on their own breeding dogs, keeps tracks of all puppies being produced. Critical thinking on the part of breeders is also important, rather than dismissing events as irrelevant. Genetics is complicated but the more breeders question why something is occurring, the better for the dogs and breed involved.
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Bunny

Black dogs rock!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 9:35am PST 
Glad Tuck is going to be OKhug It took me a long time to figure this out, but I totally agree with you. I already have my next dog's breeder picked out even though I am very much a pet dog personsmile
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Bosley

Will Work For- Food
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 10:09am PST 
Bunny, some puppy buyers never figure this out and even more sadly, neither do many breeders. How many times have you heard "We are just breeding nice family pets". Or the breeders who actively bash show breeders or breed clubs. The show world is not perfect, but as Tuck pointed out, it is a connected community. You can't hide too many things when you are "out there" with your dogs. You can however, hide lots when you never leave your backyard.
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Tuck

CHIC CH. Tuck- CDX TDX RN VNEX- TDI SAR-W3
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 10:35am PST 
Well This was all not figured out right away either. It actually took decades. REALLY.

But starting with Tuck, it took 6 years to find out he was not breedable, even after he bred, and his puppy was 1 year old.

EVERYTHING about Tuck indicated he was a breedable dog. He was out of a long line of health tested dogs. Going back on his 7 generation pedigree, every dog was health tested (Foreign and American) Every dog was a Champion. He was a Champion and a nationally recognized multiple breed specialty winner. He has passed every single health test available for his breed. He certainly had performance qualifications, and has a marvelous temperament, where he works in schools teaching kids to read as a therapy dog.

There is no mark anywhere where there is a flag that he should not be bred.

he was bred.


Then at 7 his mother died.. uh oh, something to be aware of.

Then there were puppies. uhoh, weird, sad, and very unfortunate.. this carefully selected breeding of 7 suddenly became 2. 1 mummified puppy, detached placentas(but born alive, but died within 24 hours) Thought the detached placentas had to do with feeding FLAX in the supplements, which soy and flax in pregnancy can act as a hormone stimulator, and cause puppy abortions. (DO NOT FEED PREGNANT BITCHES FLAX OR SOY!!)

But the dead puppies were dismissed and just that.. a mishap.

2 healthy puppies, except BOB was born with a bob tail. Breeder knew immediately she was terminating this line, even though she did not know what this was.

Bob grows up and becomes a Search dog (no reason he can't work and be a great pet and therapy dog) . At 1 he gets ultrasounded.

UHOH... missing a kidney

Backchaining events, We realized the genetic link of the bob tail is often also geneticly linked to the renal agenesis.

A history of breeding failures, small litters, failure to thrive puppies, puppies dying within 24 hours of death, were all linked together.

The markers were there all along. No one recognized them for what they were.

Bob would never have been used for breeding because of his tail. He would never be shown, so even as cute as his tail is... NOT breeding anything that does not meet breed standard becomes important, no matter how cute it is.

It literally took YEARS and good breeder communication to put this puzzle together.

Tuck's Spleenic cancer was a different matter entirely, but diligence in health testing and breeder communications identified an issue, recognized there may be a problem, and was acted upon saving his life.

Again, a simple health screening yearly ultrasound. One year, the ultrasound caught Bob's missing kidney causing investigation and red flags to backchain and discover what was going on. Bob should live an entirely normal long life, and there is a good possibility without that ultrasound, his condition would never have been known and he may have died of old age with it undiscovered. The ultrasound identified the problem and took Tuck out of the breeding program, before there was further damage. AFTER the discovery, it was discovered Tuck should have been removed from the breeding program simply based on the spleenic cancer history alone.

But up until there were puppies, did the first warning sign ever occur, that indicated there might be a problem. If it weren't for the litter that almost wasn't, Tuck was still carrying the spleenic cancer thing, that was not identified for another year later, and there were already other proposed breedings on the table. Bob stopped those proposed breedings. Good thing, because the spleenic cancer was not something that needed to be passed on either.

All this unfolded YEARS after it appeared to be a very healthy dog worthy of breeding. And puppies sold at 8 weeks perfectly healthy. A less vigilant breeder would have congratulated themselves on healthy 8 week old puppies properly homes, and thought they did a great job. The study and art of breeding starts Generations before a breeding pair. And never ends until after several generations after that breeding pair, their offspring, and their children's offspring is dead.

This is what breeding is. This is why health testing and deep knowledge of genetics affects your pet puppy. As does breeder networking.

AKC papers are nice. They are required to show a dog and should be required to breed a dog, although disreputable uneducated people do not understand this.

but most important of all, is the HEALTH testing. Without health testing information and history, that registered dog has as blank slate of information as a dog you picked up at the pound. Except the dog you picked up at the pound does have a history. You already know if it gets along with children, cats, other dogs, you are already aware of it's temperament and usually even comes vaccinated and spayed. AND you know it lived to "X" years and is currently apparently healthy.

So if you aren't buying a puppy from a health tested family heritage, PLEASE consider going to a shelter to adopt. But whatever you do, do not support proliferation of breeding of unhealth tested stock.

When selecting a breeder.. ASK them about the ages of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, litter sizes, what they died of, write it down, Give this information to your veterinarian. (IT may save you tons of money in diagnostics later, and give the vet an anchor of where to start looking) (This is for a PET as well as a show dog) If you know there was glaucoma, cataracts or renal failure in your lines.. and by the way, in our breed, MOST of the hereditary renal failure is in PET bred lines, because the show breeders have been aware of these genetics for 50 years and have been working hard to breed it out. When your healthy 8 week old puppy dies of renal failure at 11 months old, out of the blue.. Thank your pet breeder, who is patting themselves on the back for what a great JOB they are doing for supplying people with dead pets trying to convince you their pets are healthier, because they aren't inbred. (But really, aren't any less inbred than the show stock they rail against) The fact is, most of the hereditary problems ARE in pet bred stock. The show breeders are breeding it out. The Pet bred stock reporting system is just broken, and because they dont test AND LOOK, and stuff isnt reported back.. they just never know.

Please dont contribute to the problem Buy from a breeder testing. looking, and networked. Or if you are willing to chance an unknown health risk ... ADOPT. But never support a breeder who is not testing. Ask for OFA certification numbers. Ask for CERF. Ask the health test history and familial history. It WILL save you money, and perhaps your pet.

)Being a show breeder is not enough.. make sure they are testing.
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Tuck

CHIC CH. Tuck- CDX TDX RN VNEX- TDI SAR-W3
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 10:55am PST 
Well This was all not figured out right away either. It actually took decades. REALLY.

But starting with Tuck, it took 6 years to find out he was not breedable, even after he bred, and his puppy was 1 year old.

EVERYTHING about Tuck indicated he was a breedable dog. He was out of a long line of health tested dogs. Going back on his 7 generation pedigree, every dog was health tested (Foreign and American) Every dog was a Champion. He was a Champion and a nationally recognized multiple breed specialty winner. He has passed every single health test available for his breed. He certainly had performance qualifications, and has a marvelous temperament, where he works in schools teaching kids to read as a therapy dog.

There is no mark anywhere where there is a flag that he should not be bred.

he was bred.


Then at 7 his mother died.. uh oh, something to be aware of.

Then there were puppies. uhoh, weird, sad, and very unfortunate.. this carefully selected breeding of 7 suddenly became 2. 1 mummified puppy, detached placentas(but born alive, but died within 24 hours) Thought the detached placentas had to do with feeding FLAX in the supplements, which soy and flax in pregnancy can act as a hormone stimulator, and cause puppy abortions. (DO NOT FEED PREGNANT BITCHES FLAX OR SOY!!)

But the dead puppies were dismissed and just that.. a mishap.

2 healthy puppies, except BOB was born with a bob tail. Breeder knew immediately she was terminating this line, even though she did not know what this was.

Bob grows up and becomes a Search dog (no reason he can't work and be a great pet and therapy dog) . At 1 he gets ultrasounded.

UHOH... missing a kidney

Backchaining events, We realized the genetic link of the bob tail is often also geneticly linked to the renal agenesis.

A history of breeding failures, small litters, failure to thrive puppies, puppies dying within 24 hours of death, were all linked together.

The markers were there all along. No one recognized them for what they were.

Bob would never have been used for breeding because of his tail. He would never be shown, so even as cute as his tail is... NOT breeding anything that does not meet breed standard becomes important, no matter how cute it is.

It literally took YEARS and good breeder communication to put this puzzle together.

Tuck's Spleenic cancer was a different matter entirely, but diligence in health testing and breeder communications identified an issue, recognized there may be a problem, and was acted upon saving his life.

Again, a simple health screening yearly ultrasound. One year, the ultrasound caught Bob's missing kidney causing investigation and red flags to backchain and discover what was going on. Bob should live an entirely normal long life, and there is a good possibility without that ultrasound, his condition would never have been known and he may have died of old age with it undiscovered. The ultrasound identified the problem and took Tuck out of the breeding program, before there was further damage. AFTER the discovery, it was discovered Tuck should have been removed from the breeding program simply based on the spleenic cancer history alone.

But up until there were puppies, did the first warning sign ever occur, that indicated there might be a problem. If it weren't for the litter that almost wasn't, Tuck was still carrying the spleenic cancer thing, that was not identified for another year later, and there were already other proposed breedings on the table. Bob stopped those proposed breedings. Good thing, because the spleenic cancer was not something that needed to be passed on either.

All this unfolded YEARS after it appeared to be a very healthy dog worthy of breeding. And puppies sold at 8 weeks perfectly healthy. A less vigilant breeder would have congratulated themselves on healthy 8 week old puppies properly homes, and thought they did a great job. The study and art of breeding starts Generations before a breeding pair. And never ends until after several generations after that breeding pair, their offspring, and their children's offspring is dead.

This is what breeding is. This is why health testing and deep knowledge of genetics affects your pet puppy. As does breeder networking.

AKC papers are nice. They are required to show a dog and should be required to breed a dog, although disreputable uneducated people do not understand this.

but most important of all, is the HEALTH testing. Without health testing information and history, that registered dog has as blank slate of information as a dog you picked up at the pound. Except the dog you picked up at the pound does have a history. You already know if it gets along with children, cats, other dogs, you are already aware of it's temperament and usually even comes vaccinated and spayed. AND you know it lived to "X" years and is currently apparently healthy.

So if you aren't buying a puppy from a health tested family heritage, PLEASE consider going to a shelter to adopt. But whatever you do, do not support proliferation of breeding of unhealth tested stock.

When selecting a breeder.. ASK them about the ages of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, litter sizes, what they died of, write it down, Give this information to your veterinarian. (IT may save you tons of money in diagnostics later, and give the vet an anchor of where to start looking) (This is for a PET as well as a show dog) If you know there was glaucoma, cataracts or renal failure in your lines.. and by the way, in our breed, MOST of the hereditary renal failure is in PET bred lines, because the show breeders have been aware of these genetics for 50 years and have been working hard to breed it out. When your healthy 8 week old puppy dies of renal failure at 11 months old, out of the blue.. Thank your pet breeder, who is patting themselves on the back for what a great JOB they are doing for supplying people with dead pets trying to convince you their pets are healthier, because they aren't inbred. (But really, aren't any less inbred than the show stock they rail against) The fact is, most of the hereditary problems ARE in pet bred stock. The show breeders are breeding it out. The Pet bred stock reporting system is just broken, and because they dont test AND LOOK, and stuff isnt reported back.. they just never know.

Please dont contribute to the problem Buy from a breeder testing. looking, and networked. Or if you are willing to chance an unknown health risk ... ADOPT. But never support a breeder who is not testing. Ask for OFA certification numbers. Ask for CERF. Ask the health test history and familial history. It WILL save you money, and perhaps your pet.

)Being a show breeder is not enough.. make sure they are testing.
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Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 3:02pm PST 
If I had known that Alva's father may have siblings with hip dysplasia... Well, I should have thought of that when I saw the blanks at some dogs' health reports in his pedigree, but I did not take it too seriously. And I saw many healthy dogs there too. I wonder if my itch to have this puppy would have suddenly faded if some of those blanks would actuallyshown some dreaded letters. I also wonder if her breeder knew about those dogs and if she would have cared. Next time I'll be wiser to check even the rumours of a litter's relatives.

I know that Alva's mother has a sibling with HD. I don't know how I can have ignored that fact because this information was available when the litter was born. Alva's mother herself is checked healthy. Also Alva's father has passed his health check. A few days before Alva was to be X-rayed I met someone who had her aunt (sister to Alva's father). This lady claimed that her dog has sibling(s) with HD but it was not submitted to our database. I checked this now and the database shows 5/7 of his litter were x-rayed (4 healthy, one healthy/mildy affected). Who knows about those 2 unknowns but yet it leaves his half-sisters and half-brothers to be investigated and among them I find more reported healthy than unknowns. So both dog's were probably carrying genes for bad hips and Alva was the unlucky one to inherit so many of them that she has hip dysplasia. I cannot believe she would not have it regardless if I did or did not everything by the book when raising her. She also has a healthy sister.

We have here an online database where some health results are stored. Usually veterinary reports for HD, ED and eyes. Owners can also submit age and cause of death. The database counts indexes for some breeds. Anyone can see them. I could even link Alva's page! Unfortunately, some people do not send their dogs' results and so no one knows about them if they do not tell about it. But there are still diseases that you cannot know if owners don't check and publish their knowledge. Like pancreatic insufficiency (or whatever it is called in English) that occurs in collies. Tell the breeder. Or put it on your website. Our local breed association has also their own database where owners can insert their dog's health history.

The most obvious problem with our database is that it does not record all diseases. There may be a dog that looks perfectly healthy but if you know that particular dog you might know that he/she has some disease. Another point is that the owner is responsible to take their pet to the vet and having the pet x-rayed/checked otherwise and then giving the vet permission to send that information to the database. It is so easy to say no if the check result is not what you wanted. Then I also came to think that a database may make it too easy to think and to forget to ask about something important - like if their lines contain some flaws that a database cannot show - and we should remember not to rely too much on databases and also ask the breeder although a database can be very useful. I could find other problems but I am too tired to think about them.

I would also say that I find that it is very good that we do have that database here. Now our cattery club has launched one too.

Sometimes I fear that it is impossible to have a healthy dog. There are so many diseases and if a dog is healthy it can still have bad temperament.

I also see some faults in my own actions. I should have investigated her background better and questioned people. But really, we probably cannot expect that some random pet dog buyer should investigate every cousin and half-sibling and their litters and call dozens of people if their dogs have had bad hips or too easily upset stomachs. That person expects that the breeder has done that work, waded through the pedigrees and tried to find the health status of all dogs related to their to be litter.

It is just not enough that you screen the dogs who are to be bred. You should screen their siblings too if there is no DNA test that can exlude the disease being screened. I wish there were more DNA tests, and there will be, if studies succeed. And I see another advantage with them too. We could screen small puppies and see, if a puppy's health heritage is suitable for working or not if some diseases cannot be totally inhibited by screening adult dogs (like the test would show that this dog has many sequences of DNA that point towards higher risk to be sick than that other pooch there but it is not carved into stone that he'll be sick or that other dog healthy). If some puppy would seem to have higher risk for HD it would not be sold to an agility enthusiast or a schutzhund person or someone living in an environment with lots of concrete and stairs. But before DNA tests we have to stick to screening phenotype and gaining information about as many dogs as we can.

I think that a pet dog needs good breeding in two fields. Health and temperament. No one likes to see their pet sick or in pain or pay huge veterinary bills. Yet a ill-tempered dog is not a nice companion. When I buy a dog, I'll pay no attention for show results if I cannot be sure that the judges doesn't tolerate ill temperaments or unhealthy movement in their rings (see Pedigree Dogs Exposed and you know why - and I do not think any kennel club is totally free of bad judges). I look for health checks and I want to see the parents' behaviour. If they have competed in obedience or something similar I know they must have been at least trained to endure someone touching them if not born tolerant, yet I cannot say any canine sport or temperament test is bullet proof to screen fearful or nervous dogs from non-fearful and balanced.

So a puppy buyer should check 3 things when he or she buys one:
- health (is their pedigree healthy, does the breeder care how healthy their lines are?)
- temperament (see the parents and if there is some evaluation of their temperaments, also what the breeder thinks about temperament)
- quality (puppies are born and grow in a good environment, no puppy mill, enough stimuli and human contact yet not too much distracting, good nutrition, no fleas etc.)

Edited by author Sat Mar 2, '13 3:12pm PST

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Tuck

CHIC CH. Tuck- CDX TDX RN VNEX- TDI SAR-W3
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 3:14pm PST 
Alva, Hips are a very different animal. If we eliminated every line of dogs with hip dysplasia in it, there would be no breeds of dogs, because there would be no dogs.

OFA started about 50 years ago. Each year we get more and more entering the database. This is still a work in progress, and there still HAS to be dysplastic dogs used to keep a viable genetic diversity.

But with each year more is learned and breeders are marching toward reducing Hip Dysplasia. I don't know if it will ever be stamped out. There are so many variables. Hip dysplasia is polygenetic, as well as environmental, nutritional, and even activity affected.

To eradicate Hip dysplasia is still an inexact science, and breeders are working hard on that goal, but it is a work in progress, and will continue to be a problem throughout our life times.

Health testing does not guarantee disease free dogs. IT guarantees that breeders are responsibly working toward that goal one generation at a time. Please support those who are trying, and entering information in databases, as opposed who those who are not trying at all.

I took Genetics in college... all my peas died.
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Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 2, '13 3:21pm PST 
I just used HD as example.

And I do know we can never erase all diseases. We only try to decrease the risk and manage the problems. While we fight diseases we must see that our gene pools do not narrow too much.

***** this doesn't allow me to edit my first post. I'm such idiot. I forgot to mention such very important fact that I live in Finland and thus I am more into the Finnish Kennel Club (member of FCI). Alva is also FCI registered and her databased health test results are public. It is 1:20 am here and I am pretty tired so that may explain a lot of flaws I typed.

Edited by author Sat Mar 2, '13 3:25pm PST

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