All breeders have important decisions to make when doing health clearances on their breeding stock.
Much homework is needed to ensure that we do the health clearances, that are most needed, for our specific breed.
We have guidance from our Breed Clubs, Havanese Fanciers of Canada (HFC) and Havanese Owners and Lovers of Ontario (HOLA).
However we must still do our research, to ensure that we are doing health clearances on all areas of importance to our wonderful wee breed, so as to enrich the lives of the puppies that we produce.
All breeder members of HFC and HOLA are required by our clubs to do OFA Eye and OFA Patella Clearances.
Through research I have found that more testing is necessary to rule out genetic predisposition to Cardiac Disease, Genetic Thyroid Disease, and Legg Calve Perth Disease.
Legg Calve Perthe Disease
Disintegration of Hip Joint in Dogs
Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease involves spontaneous degeneration of the head on the femur bone, located in the dog's hind leg. This results in disintegration of the hip joint (coxofemoral) and bone and joint inflammation (osteoarthritis).
The exact cause of the condition is unknown, though blood supply issues to the femoral head are usually seen in dogs suffering from Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. It is commonly seen in miniature, toy, and small-breed dogs, and has a genetic basis in Manchester terriers. Moreover, most dogs affected with Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease are five to eight months in age.
Juvenile cataracts, also known as congenital cataracts, is a type of cataracts. Cataracts are a condition in which there is a loss of transparency in the lens of the eye. In juvenile cataracts, the condition appears before six years of age and typically both eyes are affected. However, in some cases, both eyes are not affected at the same time. Over eighty different breeds of dogs have been reported to have been affected by juvenile cataracts. In rare cases, the juvenile cataracts have been spontaneously reabsorbed. When this occurs, it typically happens within the first year of the appearance of the cataracts. It is thought that juvenile cataracts are an autosomal recessive trait. Therefore, dogs affected by juvenile cataracts should not be bred.
Patellar Luxation in Dogs
Patellar luxation occurs when the dog's kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal anatomic position in the groove of the thigh bone (femur). When the kneecap is dislocated from the groove of the thigh bone, it can only be returned to its normal position once the quadriceps muscles in the hind legs of the animal relax and lengthen. It is for this reason that most dogs with the condition will hold up their hind legs for a few minutes.
A dislocated kneecap is one of the most prevalent knee joint abnormalities in dogs. The condition is most common in toy and miniature dog breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Chihuahua, and Boston Terrier. Female dogs are 1 1/2 times more likely to acquire the condition.
Congenital Thyroid Disease
The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped and located near the larynx (Adam's apple) in the dog's neck. The thyroid gland combines the amino acid tyrosine with iodine in order to manufacture thyroid hormone. The pituitary gland near the brain exerts control over the thyroid gland. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the pituitary gland stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone, often called thyroxine. Thyroxine is the hormone that controls metabolic and activity levels in the body. The thyroid gland also secretes another hormone, calcitonin, which is necessary for proper calcium metabolism.
Although hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland is common in the dog, most cases develop during adulthood, usually in middle-aged dogs. Congenital (occurring at less than one year of age) hypothyroidism can occur in puppies but is much more rare than adult onset hypothyroidism. Most cases of hypothyroidism in the puppy are due to a lack of proper development of the thyroid gland rather than the failure of a normal thyroid gland, as is the case in adult onset hypothyroidism.
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