Geneticists have worked hard to identify hundreds of gene mutations that cause disease in many dog breeds, but before you get too excited about a Commercially Available DNA Panel claiming to test for hundreds of diseases it is important to understand that though progress is continuing daily, so far geneticists have only identified a handful of different gene mutations on those panels that can be found in Dalmatians that cause them serious diseases or health conditions. Further we breed dogs that have tested clear of these gene mutations to be able to GUARANTEE our puppies FOR LIFE against the following diseases:
* Probably one of the most impactful gene mutations to be discovered for Dalmatians is the gene that codes for Hyperuricosuria (HUU). Thanks to the discovery of the location of this gene (and to the work accomplished by Dr. Robert Shiable during the LUA project) we can now DNA test puppies from litters where one or both parents are LUA to positively identify LUA Puppies! All of our LUA puppies are GUARANTEED FOR LIFE against Hyperuricosuria.
It is great that more and more Dalmatian breeders are taking the time and spending the money to have their Dalmatian puppies BAER hearing tested.
However, responsible breeding goes beyond that single test, in fact the BAER Hearing test (as shown in the short video above) is just one of the 3 tests required for the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to issue a Dalmatian a CHIC#.
It is IMPORTANT to realize that having a CHIC# does not indicate that a dog has actually passed the required testing...merely that they have actually been tested and the results published on the OFA database available to the public. ALWAYS go to the database and review the test results...they will often surprise you as it is not unheard of for a Champion Show Dog to have failed many health tests such as hearing, eyes, thyroid, hips, DNA etc...why their owners choose to continue with their show career and breed them anyway is an ethical question for their owner to answer. The point is...always go to the database and see the results yourself.
We believe that the health of the puppy on the inside is just as important as the "look" of the puppy on the outside.
You can check for Health Testing Results at OFA.org
Identifying dogs to mate together with the goal of creating healthy puppies is about more than simply mating one Champion dog to another. As the short video above and the article linked at the bottom of this Step explains, "line-breeding" which is often used in show-breeding, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the health of individual puppies and to the future health of the breed as a whole. Line-breeding results in high COI's (Co-efficient Of Inbreeding) shrinks the gene-pool and results in fixing genetic faults/diseases such as with Hyperuricosuria in the Dalmatian breed.
We believe the cornerstone of Responsible Breeding requires breeders to make choices that expands small gene pools like that of Dalmatians. We therefore choose to breed so that the COI of our puppies will be less than the 5% breed average for Dalmatians...this approach expands the gene-pool and creates healthier puppies.
However, just as important as avoiding line-breeding and breeding low COI's ...responsible breeding is about more than the pairing of two unrelated dogs together to make a litter of puppies. And more importantly responsible breeding when it comes to Dalmatians is about more than just about spots...have you ever noticed that some Dalmatians are big and have bulky bodies and some are lean and long legged? Some are shy of strangers while others are very dominant? Some seem to have issues with allergies while others never have a problem? Though various registries, including the AKC have a "breed standard" that dictates what the current description for a particular dog breed should be...creating puppies that exceed that standard is part art and part science.
We use Pedigree Analysis to track various traits among our dogs and their ancestors to make informed choices that allow us to predict and influence the traits of our puppies without resorting to line-breeding.
Medical Science Advances - Titer Testing
Vaccines are an essential tool to prevent disease among our dogs. But have you ever wondered how vaccines work?
Think of it this way. When a veterinarian gives a dog a particular vaccine that vaccine "tricks" the dogs immune system into believing the actual disease is present and to mount an attack. The dogs immune system attacks by creating anti-bodies specifically to fight that particular disease. Once the "fake" disease has been eradicated the anti-bodies effectively float around inside the dog for a period of time looking for any remnants of the disease to attack. This is why vaccines work...because the dogs immune system has been "armed" with these anti-bodies actively looking for the disease they were built to attack...and if the dog is actually exposed to the disease they can go to work killing it off immediately. The more anti-bodies exist the more successful they are in attacking. The longer they are in the dogs system...the longer the dog is protected against that disease. But are there enough anti-bodies in a dogs system and how long do they last? That is where Titer Testing becomes important.
A Titer Test is designed to identify the amount of anti-bodies that exist in a particular dog for a particular disease.
For a more in-depth look at Titer Testing and Vaccinations watch this extentsive interview with the world's leading expert on immunology, virology and pathology Dr. Ronald Schultz.
Rather than simply blindly giving a vaccine for every core and non-core disease every year in the hope that a dogs immune system is responding appropriately and protecting the dog with adequate anti-bodies we Titer Test. Our adult dogs are tested to verify current immunization status. Nomographs often help us to ensure our puppies are vaccinated at the appropriate time to create the proper antibody response. Using the Titer Testing protocol allows us to provide our puppies a Lifetime Guarantee against Parvo and Distemper!