Tag Archives: health test

How to tell if your beeder’s OFA heart certs are legit

Both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Beagles should have their hearts checks before breeding.

CKCS should go one step further and have theirs checked every single year, since our breed is plagued with a heart disease that can develop over time.

Hearts, while they can be checked by a general practitioner, *should* be checked by a cardiologist. Cardiologists train to hear the difference in the clicks and ticks that hearts make and what these noises make. They are trained to see things on echocardiograms to understand how the heart valves work and blood flows.

To know if your breeder is having their hearts checked properly, check their documentation. Have a look to see what is written. I will show you two examples.

This beagle was seen by a cardiologist as you can see on the bottom right.

This cavalier was seen by a regular vet (unfortunately).

As I mentioned earlier, heart clearances for cavaliers are only valid for 1 year. If your breeder is breeding dogs that haven’t got current clearances, you should ask them why not.

Not every breeder posts the results online – it can get expensive to do so. So, they can just show you the paperwork that would be submitted to www.ofa.org. Below are some examples for you to look at.

If you want to know more about what a heart murmur is, there is a little video about it here:

I want to say thank you to Su Ann from Lucidity’s cavaliers for the inspiration and a couple of the images for this article.

Charlotte and Zakk’s cavalier pups are 2 weeks old

2 weeks flies by so quickly. As a breeder, I can breathe a little sigh of relief as it means I can start getting a little more sleep. I don’t have to wake up every hour or two through the night anymore to check on them. Not that I mind – but my bed is calling after 2 weeks of broken nights of rest.

The puppies are thriving, and by all accounts a little on the advanced side. Because cavalier puppies are born “early” (by dog standards), they tend to be like preemie human babies that can be a little developmentally delayed – they get there eventually but maybe a month or two behind their peers sometimes (or in puppy cases a few days or a week behind what i would expect a beagle pup to do).

However, these little guys, the two blenhiem pups decided day 10 was the day to start opening their eyes. This means that they are also starting to hear and they are moving around the whelping pen more. The two tri girls are not far behind and at 14 days both have slivers of eyes opening.

I can’t wait till we start seeing their little personalities emerging. For now we are just enjoying their little blobby snuggles. Enjoy the photos of them growing up.

*please note that they are not available at this time. *

Fergie

Kate

Archie

Victoria

The dangers of Over-vaccinating your dogs.

Today I’m writing about a topic that makes me want to reach for a blood pressure pill: the annual (over) vaccination of dogs.

Annual vaccination is unnecessary and dangerous for your dog. Despite what we know about the risks, it seems to be what most vets recommend to all dogs.

Experts like leading veterinary immunology researcher Ronald D Schultz PhD proved decades ago that most dogs will be protected for many years – and probably for life by one round of core vaccines as puppies – as long as they are completed about 16 weeks old.

Only Rabies is actually legally required. Parvo is highly recommended as it can be lethal if not treated quickly and effectively.

Dr Schultz reports:

“The patient receives no benefit and may be placed at serious risk when an unnecessary vaccine is given. Few or no scientific studies have demonstrated a need for cats or dogs to be revaccinated.”

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have announced publicly that annual vaccination is unnecessary and can be harmful.

But unfortunately, often these studies do nothing to stop vets from vaccinating more often than necessary. Dog owners need to advocate for their dogs and be the ones to say “no” or ask for a TITRE TEST.

A titer test is a simple blood test where they look at the immunity level of your dog’s blood against the virus. If your dog has low immunity, the vaccine is recommended. If they have high immunity then it is not.

Over vaccination has be attributed to auto-immune disorders, allergies, epileptic seizures and neurological issues and cancer.

Please, please advocate for your dog.

Figuring out what CDDY/IVDD – CHONDRODYSTROPHY AND INTERVERTEBRAL DISC DISEASE, TYPE I IVDD Mean on your Embark Test

This is a genetic test that is (in my opinion) a little deceptive. Almost every beagle I have come across, that has been tested, has been positive for this. Some say as many as 99% of the breed will be positive – but I dont see 99% of beagles having back issues and ruptured disks.

There is even evidence that shows that it may be common across most breeds, even though most will be asymptomatic.

The reason it is highlighted is that it is an indicator of a gene that they found commonly in dogs with short legs and long bodies – bassets, corgis, dauschunds and the like. These dogs are said to have an “increased risk of a health condition affecting the discs that act as cushions between vertebrae. Affected dogs can have a disc event where it ruptures or herniates towards the spinal cord and it can cause neurological issues.”

The problem I find with the results of this test are two fold.

  1. The test does not take into account any environmental factors such as the weight of your dog, how active or fit your dog is, or how often they jump off higher surfaces like couches or beds. An overweight dog is going to be much more likely to have back issues than one that is kept at a healthy weight for his or her body.
  2. The test does not give any indication of how much increased risk. Is your dog at 0.001% increased risk of having a rupture? Or 4% increased risk? Or 33% increased risk? or 79% increased risk? There is no information about what the increased risk actually is. There is no actual guidelines or information here. Just scary words with nothing to quantify it.

Ruth Darlene Stewart from Aladar Beagles wrote an article about this also – she is a repected AKC judge and long time beagle breeder.

It seems that maybe this gene doesn’t activate or affect beagles in the same way that it does other breeds. Maybe it is because we are actually not a long bodied, short legged breed. I dont know. However, I want you to rest at ease and not panic about it if you see it on your genetic testing result.

Below is a copy of the amended letter from Embark to families about IVDD to try and better explain and put everyone’s minds at ease. Please feel free to read it.