You CAN eradicate canine genetic problems such as luxating patellas, VwD (bleeding disorder) hip dysplasia - any inherited condition while preserving breed type.
Genetic Problems Easily Corrected
(in any breed)
Deborah Hays, AKC Show Breeder
Correct Phenotype and reproducible Genotype means knowing how to read pedigrees, predict inheritable factors, and which characteristics are genetic or environmental.
After reading all of the info and discussion on CHG in the Toy Fox Terrier.... I am glad TheDogPlace is informing people of this condition, as I am a firm believer in eradication of ALL hereditary conditions. However, I wish that people would worry as much about the genetic condition of luxating patellas, which (according to a 2 year research study on health problems in the TFT, was presented to the membership of the National Toy Fox Terrier Association in August of 2000) as a significant problem in the TFT.
"Slipping patellas" are found in most breeds, even the (Miniature) Italian Greyhound shown below. In the year 2000, I purchased three Toy Fox Terriers from reputable show breeders; ALL 3 ended up either being returned to their most unhappy breeders, or removed from the gene pool....... Not only was this very sad for me to have to give up these dogs, but it was hard on the dogs, as well. It was very expensive for me to find this out the hard way - after showing some of these dogs to their championship!!! Now, 2 of my friends who had purchased their TFTs in 2001 (and showed these dogs to their championships as well) have found out that THEIR dogs, also have bad patellas, and are now struggling with how to afford the surgery (it costs nearly $1,000.00 per leg!), or whether or not to return these dogs to their breeders. How sad that anyone should have to even make this decision! I have been fussing about patellas since 1999, when I lost my first dog to the condition. At that time, people told me I was just "obsessed" about the situation, and that THEY did not feel there was even a problem.
I Worked For Veterinarians Who Fixed Patella Problems
Actually I worked for two vets so I have personally seen people come in with dogs that have bad patella problems, and when they found out the cost to fix their dogs, they ended up having the dogs destroyed, as they were unable to afford the surgery, and did not want the dogs to suffer.
In the fall of 1999, I went to a show in Ohio, and that club held a health seminar for Toy Fox Terriers. A local vet came in, and gave us an hour long talk on the "state of the breed", as he has seen it. At the end of the talk, there was a lengthy question & answer session, and several breeders seemed to be concerned about VwD in our breed.
After several questions on Von Willibrands Disease, the vet stopped us all, and said, "You know, you people should be much more concerned about the illnesses and conditions that keep your dogs from living normal active lives, like luxating patellas, and other orthopedic issues! VwD affects only a small number of dogs, and you can test for it, but the only way you will ever help your breed get rid of these patella problems is to routinely have them checked on all of your breeding dogs before you breed them!"
Nevertheless, check out the OFA database under TFTs...... In 1999, when I first began "bitching" about it to everyone I met, there were only a total of 13 TFTs (7 males, 6 females, or something like that!). And 2 of those are mine...... As my dogs get old enough, they will all end up in the database. It costs $15.00 to certify patellas....... It costs $40.00 to test for CHG. Puppies born with patella problems grow up to have worse problems, and may face euthanasia as a result. Puppies born with CHG DIE..... Thankfully, they weed themselves out of the gene pool. Yes, the potential carriers of CHG are a problem; but what about the carriers of the contributing factors to patellar luxation? No one seems to care...
I can assure you, that if I were a pet buyer in the market for a TFT, I would MUCH rather buy one who is a carrier of CHG than one with luxating patellas. CHG does not affect pet puppy buyers, but luxating patellas DO...! So why have several "breeders" told me I am nuts to spend the money to OFA certify my TFTs? Why do they feel that CHG is more important than a condition that affects mobility? I know of a couple of breeders who have had the surgery done on several of their TFTs, then continue to breed them....
Another breeder I know simply sells them to people, minus any documentation of this fact, either verbal or written.... In fact, some of these TFTs have gone to show homes where they may someday be bred, unwittingly passing on the defect. What a sad state of affairs that our breed is in, and with AKC recognition, things may well get worse, fast.
I was recently at the Detroit Kennel Club show with friends who had entered their TFTs in the Misc. class. At my suggestion, we all made up flyers to pass out to the public (mine mentioned luxating patellas; theirs showed photos to sell future puppies... we wanted well-educated buyers!). Well, the response to our breed was ENORMOUS, to say the least. My friends said they handed out "over 100" flyers to very interested prospective puppy buyers, and that was only the first day of the 2 day show!
We know the buyers are out there; one breeder I know recently sold 7 of her 11 TFT puppies; while I was there visiting, one more sold, and that left only 2 pups, because another of the pups had already been sold, and was just waiting for its out of state buyer to show up (later that day). This breeder says TFTs have been "selling out in 48 hours", and she told me she had sold 4 pups (from previous litters) to "one person"....! That would make ME suspicious of their intentions, and I would be uncomfortable selling them like that. Anyhow, none of the breeders I have mentioned OFA certify patellas. Some of them have never even heard of CHG. Some of the old-time breeders feel that they have not had problems before, so they "don't intend to look for any now!"
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing our breed today is not health problems, but the fact that many breeders are in denial that these problems exist (even in their own lines) to begin with....... Oh, well, maybe I am just "obsessed", or, as some breeders think, "nuts"! But I am concerned about my breed (Toy Fox Terriers) and I just don't want this issue to be forgotten!
In-depth, definitive information on CHG (Congenital Hypothyroid With Goiter) by John C. Fyfe, D.V.M., Ph.D.