MINIATURE BULL TERRIER
Candid report on the most common health problems associated with the Mini-Bull Terrier, by MBT Club Primary Lens Luxation and Breed Health Registrar.
Health Problems Associated With The MBT
Jill Garnett - TheDogPlace.org - April 2000
Former Primary Lens Luxation Registrar & Breed Health Coordinator
The purpose of this article is to outline the most common health problems in Miniature Bull Terriers. It is not intended as a definitive listing. Its purpose is to inform prospective Miniature Bull Terrier owners of problems that the combined experience and knowledge of many breeders have found to occur. Similarly it is all too easy to believe after reading an article like this that the breed is unhealthy and beset by tremendous problems. This is not the case, Miniature Bull Terriers are generally healthy dogs who lead a full and active life. However, as a responsible Breed Club, it is our duty to give informed and balanced information.
Primary Lens Luxation In Miniature Bull Terriers
The most well documented health condition affecting Miniature Bull Terriers is Primary Lens Luxation. This is an eye problem where the lens detaches and slips, usually backwards, into the rear chamber of the eye. It would generally occur between 3 and 7 years old but cases have been reported either side of this age range. This condition is operable if diagnosed in time. It is therefore essential that your dog is referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist (eye specialist) immediately for confirmation and treatment of this condition. A list of the B.V.A. eye specialists is included with this document.
From the mid 1970's the MBTC has maintained a register of dogs, which have been affected by this condition. This is freely available to all those who contact the Primary Lens Luxation Registrar. It is important to realize that this list is created by the voluntary information made available by owners and breeders. This has been done to enable other breeders to plan their breeding program to reduce the incidence of this condition. As with all voluntary schemes it has been the courage of those breeders and owners that have made this information available that has enabled progress to be made. By acknowledging that the problem exists then we have taken the most important step in trying to remove it from the breed.
Since 1997 the MBTC has been working closely with the Animal Health Trust at Newmarket to collect blood samples and gather funding to enable work to be done on determining a genetic test to identify the PLL gene and determine whether a given dog is affected, a carrier or clear. With Miniatures being a breed with a small genetic base and a great deal of documentary evidence on affected animals in previous generations it appears that once funding is raised this should be a relatively easy problem to find a solution to.
Kidney Disease Is Not Common In The MBT
There are a variety of specific conditions, all with a low rate of incidence. Hence the grouping under a general heading. Most kidney conditions (or nephropathy) are now easily identified by the testing of a dogs’ urine. This is achieved by assessing the animals urinary protein:creatinine ratio. The lower this value the less likely the incidence of kidney failure. A value of less than 0.3 has been fixed for those dogs that are to be used in the interbreeding with Bull Terriers.
Heart Conditions Associated With Mini-Bull Terriers
There are two main conditions affecting Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers; Aortic Stenosis and Mitral Displasia. Both these conditions are assessed by grading the degree of heart murmur of the dog on a scale of 1 to 6. The lower the grade the lower the chance of an animal been affected by either of these conditions. A maximum grade of 2/6 has been fixed for Miniature Bull Terriers participating in the interbreeding program.
Health Screening Your Miniature Bull Terrier
A note of caution about any health screening program. Although any testing may identify the presence of certain conditions at the time of testing, it does not guarantee that the condition will not occur in the future. It is hoped that in the near future the Animal Health Trust will develop a genetic test for Primary Lens Luxation, which will be a great advance on what is currently available as regards testing techniques. Using the samples that have been gathered for the PLL research they are then optimistic that the same samples may be use to advance genetic screening techniques for both heart and kidney conditions.
More Mini-Bull Terrier Health Information
At every Miniature Bull Terrier Club show there is a Health Stand where a variety of recent articles relating to the health matters discussed above and other conditions of interest are available. A small donation is always welcome to cover photocopying costs.
I hope that this has been informative. The important fact to take away after reading this article is that the vast majority of Miniature Bull Terrier breeders care passionately about the health of their dogs and it is through their efforts and honesty that it has been possible to collate the information that I have.
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