I'll take Don up on his suggestion to keep discussing the topic in general
terms through my own experience.
I have an ES who is has CHD and is moderately to severely affected in both
hips. We have sent blood samples to Dr. Green's study. Here is a link to
information on how to participate if you have an ES.
When our ES was 8 months old I started to notice that she seemed stiff
behind. She kind of waddled when she walked. By that I mean instead of
bending at the knee in her hind legs, she would swing her leg forward from
the hip. When you do that yourself it saves stress and movement in the hip.
So we went in for x-rays and got the diagnosis. We immediately went to a
surgeon in hopes of having the preventative surgery called TPO ( means
something like Tibial Pelvic Osteotomy). She had too much arthritis already
in one hip but the other looked free of arthritic changes yet. That hip was
successfully operated on. After 8 weeks of recovery time she was a
different dog. She runs and plays with all the others. She no longer
appears to be obviously dysplastic. I don't think anyone else would think
My point is that with two bad hips she was symptomatic. With one hip fixed
and x-rayed to be a perfect fit after surgery she appeared to be very sound.
The other is the worse hip and it was gaining more and more arthritis each
of the three times she was x-rayed within two months. Therefore you can
have a dog with one okay hip and one very bad one and have the dog be
asymptomatic. So if you have a breeding dog who is asymptomatic and you
breed it, you could be breeding a dog who is severely affected on one side
and not know it. My dog's father was diagnosed with one bad hip after her
litter was born. If the breeder had known he was affected in one hip,
would he have been bred to the female? I am sure not. If one hip had not
been fixed, my dog would have become very arthritic in both hips at a
relatively young age. She is just a year old now.
My feeling has been, since finding my dog is affected by this heartbreaking
disease, why not cover all your bases and deal with all the possible
information you can find out about your breeding dogs? Then at least if you
know, you can make the decision to breed or not to breed with a clear view
of the risks. I know that many breeders feel differently.
I also sent in blood samples from my 8 month old ES who comes from OFA
excellent and good lines. I hope that he is HD free but if he isn't I will
still feel good that his breeder did what she could to breed the best to the
best. The risk would be lower in my mind but that is what the study is for.
To tell us if we are on the right or wrong track. There are breeds who have
strictly followed OFA and Penn Hip and have seen lower rates of HD but a
study like this may be absolutely invaluable if it helps settle the
controversy for both sides of this issue.
I join Kathi in urging ES owners to participate in the study.
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