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Genetic DNA testing is important and should be done on all dogs in a breeding program to help insure the health and longevity of all puppies produced. There is a lot of controversy if the testing is accurate and necessary. In my program, I feel it is a starting point. If you do not know what genetic issues are present in your dogs, there is no way you can prevent these health issues from being passed on from generation to generation. You could have a gorgeous dog... a dog with a wonderful temperament... a dog you totally adore and love... and he develops some health issue causing his demise or a life with many trips to the vet and no quality of life, you could be faced with continued heartache. A lot of these issues could of been prevented by early testing. Testing isn't a sure thing. There are always those instances where things happen no matter what precautions are taken.
All breeding dogs or dogs competing in performance venues should have their hips and elbows evaluated with the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) prior to competing or being used in a breeding program.
Breeding dogs should have yearly eye exams to determine any health issue occurring in eyes. All puppies, even the puppies placed as pets, should have an eye exam prior to 8 weeks of age.
Research has proven that breeding moms that have had x-rays performed while pregnant to determine on how many puppies are present, some of their puppies are prone to developing certain cancers as adults. Cancer in all breeds of dogs is on the rise. More and more breeders are performing X-rays on their pregnant moms to determine how many puppies they are carrying. This could be one of the many reasons cancer is becoming a huge problem with our dogs. We DO NOT x-ray on our expecting moms.
Better to be safe than sorry! Testing is the first step to a healthy, happy puppy!
Below are the definitions of the DNA testing we do on all our dogs.....
DM Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. Dogs can become paraplegic, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur.
CEA Collie Eye Anomalyis an inherited disease that affects the choroid layer of tissue and is thinner in dogs suffering from the disease. This layer of tissue is responsible for supplying nutrients and blood to the retina. With insufficient blood flow the choroid does not develop properly and can often lead to retinal detachment and subsequent blindness.
HC Hereditary Cataracts are a clouding of lens of the eye caused by a breakdown of tissue in the eye. This generally results in an inability to see clearly, and can cause total blindness in canines, mutations that result in cataracts can be passed to offspring.
MDR1 Multidrug Sensitivity gene, or multi-drug resistance gene, codes for a protein that is responsible for protecting the brain by transporting potentially harmful chemicals away from the brain. In certain breeds, including Australian Shepherds, a mutation occurs in the MDR1 gene that causes sensitivity to Ivermectin, Loperamide, and a variety of other drugs. The defective protein inhibits the dog's ability to remove certain drugs from the brain, leading to a buildup. As a result of the accumulation of these toxins, the dog can show neurological symptoms, such as seizure and even death.
PRA/PRCD Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration is an inherited eye disease with late onset of symptoms that are due to degeneration of both rod and cone cells of the retina. These cells are important for vision in dim and bright light. Most dogs begin to show symptoms of the disease at approximately 3-5 years of age that manifests as difficulty seeing at night and loss of peripheral vision. Loss of complete eyesight can result.
CD Cone Degeneration is an inherited eye disease affecting Australian Shepherds. Affected dogs develop day blindness (blindness to bright light) and light sensitivity between 8 and 12 weeks of age due to degeneration of cells in the eye called cone photoreceptors which are responsible for vision in bright light Affected dogs have normal vision in low light and structures of the inner eye appear normal on eye exams.
I-GS Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption is an inherited disease affecting dogs. Affected dogs are unable to make adequate amounts of a protein that plays a role in aborption of a certain nutrients in the intestinal tract and the kidneys resulting in anemia.
NCL, NCL8 Neuronal Ceroid Lipfuscinosis8 is a lysosomal storage disease affecting Australian Shepherds. Affected dogs lack a specific enzyme necessary for normal cellular metabolism. As a result, there is an abnormal accumulation of waste compounds primarily in the cells of the nervous system, leading to a range of nervous system disorders.
OFA eye exams should be performed on all puppies prior to 8 weeks of age and yearly thereafter, by a licensed veterinary ophthalmologist. Some eye diseases can occur at several ages. At 8 weeks of age, many diseases can be diagnosed and after they are diagnosed, they will not disappear or go normal later in life. Some diseases will get better or worse with age or change their appearance. A puppy can pass an OFA exam at 8 weeks and at a year, and not pass a OFA exam at 2 years because they developed a disease. Dogs should have a OFA exam every year to ensure that they have not developed serious ocular diseases that occur after dogs are one or 2 years of age.
We are a minimal vaccine kennel. We do not endorse booster shots after one year of age. Rabies is required by law but should be given as close to a year old as possible... not before as vets will vaccinate at 4 months of age. We followDr. Jean Dodd's vaccine protocol. Google 'why we shouldn't over vaccinate our dogs' to visit numerous sites explaining why over vaccinating causes more harm than good. Dr. Jean Dodd's (hemopet.org) is a great site to visit about vaccinations.
Puppies should not be spayed or neutered until at least 1 year of age. If doing performance events, it is wise to wait until at least 15 months of age. Puppies need these hormones to develop properly. You can visit TheDogPlace.org and click on Early spay-neuter link to learn more about the benefits of not spaying/neutering your pet at an early age. Also, you can Google 'Dr, Chris Zink DVM' . She is the author of the article in TheDogPlace.org site.
Puppies should be limited to what exercise they engage in. We recommend you follow the 6" rule. No jumping off of couches, beds, ATVs, from back of pickup beds, after Frisbees as a puppy. Their soft joints can be permanently injured/damaged with a wrong fall or landing. Puppies should not jog with their people for long runs until an older age. We enclose information on appropriate exercise at the appropriate age with every puppy folder.
What it means to You and your Dog