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This came via the Sheltie list, originally from a goat list.  I thought it
had some very good points (especially regarding exaggeration in breeding).

Linda R.
(wade through the headers!)

Subj:   SS-BREE: Purebreds
Date:   97-05-06 22:18:56 EDT
From:   [log in to unmask] (Shannon Smith Beltran)
To:     [log in to unmask]

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Just thought I'd pass this along.  It's off the goats list but it's
about dogs (though I have found many on the goats list with shelties and
many on the shelties list with goats!)!

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To goats-list:


I thought this item that was released to-day by the:

   CANADIAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION to the (CNW) Canada NewsWire
nwes might be of interest to the list.

Copyright/CVMA&CNW, May 6, 1997.
---------------------------------

Nada.

**************************************************************************

  GENETIC DEFECTS IN PETS - A NIGHTMARE FOR PET OWNERS


            Veterinarians use Animal Health Week to Sensitize Public to
Genetic
                                    Defects in Animals

    OTTAWA, May 6 /CNW/ - Stop and think before you buy that cute new pure
bred puppy.  Does this particular breed of dog have a predisposition for
certain genetic disorders?  Canine hip dysplasia has been around for decades,
not to mention heart defects, ocular abnormalities, skin allergies and
behaviour problems - most of these disorders are a result of ``linebreeding''
or poor genetic selection.
    The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association recognizes that prospective
pet owners should be more aware of some of the common genetic pitfalls when
selecting their new pet.  ``The frustration and despair for the owners of
genetically unhealthy pets becomes a daily concern for the veterinary
practitioner,'' comments Dr. Kelly-Leigh Thomas, Chair of the CVMA's Animal
Welfare Committee.  ``Veterinarians want to encourage the development of
adequate protection for breeds that appear to be headed toward extinction
through exaggeration of the very characteristics that initially made the
breed
so attractive and cute.''
    Genetic defects in dogs are of two general types.  The first type results
from an unpredictable genetic accident such as a heart or eye defect.
In natural populations the significance of these defects is greatly diluted
by
random breeding.  In pure-bred dogs, however, the public demand for increased
predictability in appearance and behaviour of each breed has caused breeders
to mate closely related dogs.  Unfortunately, this practice of
``linebreeding'' also serves to greatly increase the risk of mating two
animals that carry the same hidden genetic defect, thus giving the offspring
a
``double dose'' of defective genes.  The second type of genetic defect is
associated with the exaggeration of structural features or physical
attributes.  Centuries of human intervention have created the extremes in
body
design or behaviour which can result in problems.  The excessively wrinkled
skin of the modern Shar pei, for example, predisposes the animal to lifelong
skin disease and often requires surgical removal of some facial skin just so
the dog can see!  The pushed-in faces of dogs like the bulldog and Pekinese
predisposes these breeds to various respiratory disorders.
    ``What we need to do is pay more attention to the health implications of
breeding practices,'' comments Dr. Brian Wilcock, a veterinary pathologist at
the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.  ``Many conscientious
dog breeders are making a real effort to eliminate the random genetic
diseases
like eye diseases and heart defects, but it is much more difficult to
convince
breeders to start changing some of the basic anatomic features that are
predisposing the dogs to disease.  Bulldogs will be just as appealing if
their
faces are a little longer and their chests a little bit narrower, and then we
may not have to do Caesarean sections with virtually every pregnancy.
Prospective dog owners have the right to expect 12-15 years of health from
their pets, but in too many breeds, the prevalence of genetic disease, either
accidental or created by human intervention, creates the expectation of
disease rather than health.''
    The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has identified animal welfare
advocacy as one of its top priorities.  Genetic defects comes high on the
list
of animal welfare issues that need to be addressed immediately.  As a first
step, the CVMA will be developing an information database of genetic defects
commonly found in dogs.  This database will be accessible to the public on
the
Internet, and a synopsis will be available in booklet form.  This publication
follows the existing CVMA publication A Commonsense Guide to Selecting a Dog
or Cat, which deals primarily with matching a pet's temperament and needs
with
the potential owner's lifestyle parameters.
    The CVMA highlights the importance of animal health and welfare during
national Animal Health Week, May 4-10,1997.

   For further information: Julia Gdowski, CVMA, (613) 236-1162

**************************************************************************


****************************************
Dr. Nada K. Nadarajah                  *
CGIL, Dept of Animal & Poultry Sci.    *
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario  *
N1G 2W1. Canada.                       *
e-mail:[log in to unmask]    *
Tel. 519-824-4120 Ext. 6683            *
Fax. 519-836-9873 or 519-767-0573      *
****************************************