A busy few days having health tests done on dogs we wish to mate in the future. Great news that all our dogs have good hips.
As a breeder I have took quite an interest in health issues in dogs and talk to vets and enquire more than most. I also speak to specialists if I get the opportunity, as I wish to learn. I do not just breed dogs with no thought. I have a quest for knowledge.
Its lovely to see good hips on an X-ray but the more I learn about health tests and study the more I have to say Hip dysplasia is just pure bad luck. You can have generations of great scores then one day suddenly produce a higher score. I am not convinced its totally genetic, and even speaking to vets who health test they agree. But we continue to have them done of course. We have never produced Hip dysplasia, in a vizsla, but I have friends who have done, and they have had numerous great scores then suddenly get that one dog. We must remember theirs more to just the parents having good scores. We need history of good scores, but also their will always be that one dog which will end up with bad hips from bad diet, over exercise and environmental. Most breeders today will not know the pedigree going back ten generations as most have given up. Many pet breeders do not know anything past the dog they own. Or bother to find out. I was reading today how a Labrador owner has a litter of puppies and only now realised she should of had DNA tests, Hips, elbows, eyes done. So she has gone ahead and bred the dog with nothing.
Their are still people out there that dont have an absolute clue, except wanting fluffy babies. Their was about 20 comments immediately telling her how many tests she should of had done. Her argument was, well we was going to keep one. Er yes but you’ve still got to sell the other 9 now with out any testing done what so ever. No license paid for. No tax is being paid because she thought she would just keep them. The breed she has are going for £2000-£3000 and doesnt think she needs to submit a tax return. (SMACKS MY HEAD against computer)!
Breed averages aren’t really a true representation of what hips score be. All this means is say 100 dogs done, they look at the average of those 100 dogs. But their could be another 5000 dogs bred who weren’t scored, so we dont know a breed average. So do not worry about breed averages too much as they are not accurate. For example hardly any Pugs are ever scored, but the odd Pug can have HD. But their is no real breed average score because only a handful of dogs done in history. I think a lot of people just dont understand what its all about, and some breeders brag on the back of they are under breed average. One Vizsla done of mine is a 15, and it was the breed average when he was done. So a good score in the day, now people think ooooo you cant breed a 15. Totally wrong. Today scored he would be prob a 10. He has never produced a puppy over a 13. So great hip scores and even scores.
When we had Weimaraners we had 0:0. 1:0, 3:2. 1:1 and fantastic to see on paper. But then for no reason got a 17, but it was even and not HD. So as I say you can have generations of low scores then get something alittle higher. Their is far more to this than meets the eye. We bred her to a low score dog and her offspring were 3:3 and under. Never producing HD.
I have grown with breeding dogs and learnt from mentors who will say theirs more to hips, I never truly got it until now. One Vizsla breeder told me she had a score of 34 and was breeding her bitch to a dog with low score. At the time I thought well I wouldn’t do it. But now I understand as all the generations before never had HD. Its a funny old world we live in. We should score yes, we will continue to score. Touch wood we never see HD. I know another breeder who is a vet who had higher hips in her dog breed. Never produced HD but higher scores. The moral there is know your blood lines, which cant be done until you’ve done it for generations.
Growing slowly is important for any large boned dog. Dogs fed kibble grow too quickly, and often joints can suffer. Raw fed dogs grow at a slower rate, and they are leaner, with muscle. Where as Kibble dogs can put fats on. This doesnt mean the barf fed dont wont get HD, but slower growing is beneficial to joints. Getting the right vitamins and minerals is important. Its the whole package. I guess we are what we eat. !
I spoke at length to a specialist once on bone issues in dogs. A friend asked if the five minute rule was correct. She said no. A puppy that is destined to have HD later in life will get it. She said a puppy however must never do something outside the realms of normal. So no skidding on laminate or oak flooring. No jumping off steps. No running up and down stairs. No jumping off sofas. Do not drag a puppy up a mountain or by six months take it jogging. Do not get a mountain bike and let the dog run beside. Dogs bones do not set until after 12 months. It is 18 months truly when the joints are what they should be. So until 18 months, no jogging with any dog, no mountains, no running beside mountain bikes. She said USE COMMON SENSE! A friend also asked what about a dog with HD should it ever exercise ? Of course she said. Do not crate a dog and make it miserable. The joint wont be any worse if the dog has a walk, or crated for ever. But a crated dog will be frustrated and miserable. So again using common sense. You wouldn’t jog with a dog that had HD. You would walk, and enjoy the countryside.
I knew someone with a dog with HD, Alsatian back in the days when they looked very different. It had HD but if it ran you wouldn’t know. The dog wasnt lame. I couldnt get over the fact the dog was not lame. They did swimming with the dog. The dog had supplements in its diet. Basically they strengthened the muscles and ligaments in the dog and the way they supported the joint. So the dog lived to a good age, fairly pain free. Very committed owners who cared for the dog. I watched the dog move and I really couldnt tell one way or the other. That memory stayed with me.
We must think about it all as what we do with out dogs can affect the outcome of their health. It is still right to buy from breeders who have hip scored. But just understand we are not scientists in veterinary medicine or know every in and out of it all. We learn the more we do. We try our hardest to do things right. We score our dogs, and now is up to you as the owner to make sure it has correct exercise, correct diet.
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Mrs Rachel Savage