in loving memory of Dan and Barbara Jessup
Health Testing - The Difference Between Those Who Breed For
Sake of the Breed Versus Greed
Today's breeders are blessed with the ability to perform simple and relatively inexpensive tests which can give an accurate picture of a breeding animal's genetic and physical health. This is an amazing and welcomed advancement for the serious breeder who puts the health and welfare of the breed ahead of monetary gain.
This page will give you a quick but thorough knowledge that every puppy buyer should have to educate themselves about health testing. As each breed faces unique health issues a puppy buyer should research their own breed's specific health challenges.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Purebred dogs should be healthy and long lived being the result of thousands of years of selective breeding. Unfortunately, due to unscrupulous breeding practices, some breeds are plagued with serious health issues. ONLY STRICT HEALTH TESTING can bring the purebred dog back to its place as the most reliable choice as canine companion. NOTE: mixed breed dogs (such as "doodles" are just as likely to carry disease as purebreds because their parents may be affected purebreds.) Mixing bloodlines does not cause genetic diseases to simply "go away".
HOW IS IT DONE?
Before they are sold, puppies can be tested by a simple DNA swab of their cheek to be sure they are not affected by, nor carriers of, devastating diseases. A dog can be a "carrier", which means it does not show evidence of the disease, but DOES pass along the genes for it to the next generation. This is why carriers SHOULD NOT BE BRED.
Along with genetic testing, there are also physical examinations which are intended to show whether or not a dog has actual manifestations of orthopedic, cardiac, ocular or other issues. Common and devastating diseases such as hip or elbow dysplasia, cardiomyopathies, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and entropion can now be identified by veterinarians and dogs can be identified as clear or affected.
The vast majority of these tests are inexpensive and easily performed, needing no more than a DNA swab of the mouth, a short examination by a veterinarian or an x-ray.
WHERE IS THE PROOF?
A reputable breeder will be proud to show you all health certificates and clearances. As well, results should be posted on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website. INSIST ON PROOF. If a breeder gives you a song and dance about how his veterinarian "says his dogs are healthy" or that they "do the tests but don't turn in the results", again, run, don't walk away. LOOK at the certificates and make sure the names of the dogs match up. Today buying a purebred dog is often a considerable investment - no reputable breeder will resent your educated desire to make sure they ARE reputable. They will be glad you care enough about your new canine companion to be sure it will be healthy and happy. Here is an example of what you will see on the OFA database. Here is the listing for my foundation American pit bull bitch, Boldog Freakshow, showing the clearances advisable for her breed. You can also research how a breed stands as far as diseases go. Example, to see how American pit bulls rank among all tested breeds for hip dysplasia, you can search here. You can see that as of October, 2016, American pit bulls rank as the 28th most affected breed and that only 6.1% of tested dogs have hips rated "excellent" and that 24.1% of tested dogs suffer from some level of hip dysplasia. PLEASE CHECK HERE TO SEE WHAT TESTS ARE APPROPRIATE
FOR YOUR BREED OF INTEREST!
At DanBar Ranch I test ALL stock for ALL recommended tests. Please note, that OFA results vary on when they are posted. For some, it is after 12 months of age, for others it is after 24 months of age. I test my pups early, and also repeat tests which require yearly updates, such as eyes and heart.
THE SINGLE BIGGEST RED FLAG:
There is NO EXCUSE for a breeder not to do health testing. Run, don't walk, away from those who make excuses. There is NO WAY to know if a dog is a carrier, or even affected by some of these diseases without testing...until it is too late and a beloved dog is lost far too early or leads a life of suffering.
Who, who loves a dog, would want to breed animals whose lives can be cut short or whose quality of life can be diminished by preventable diseases? Ask yourself this, when searching for a puppy. CHOOSE A BREEDER WHO CARES ENOUGH TO TEST!