Article

SnowSpirits
Tibetan Mastiffs





Home Page

About
Tibetan Mastiffs

About SnowSpirits


TM Health Info


Our Family


Chodak

Tibetan Mastiff Puppies


Available Adults

News & Acknowledgments


Links


Contact Us



Breeding For Health
For Breeders and Buyers
Making A Case for
Testing
For Inherited Health Issues

By
Marcha Garn


I have spent some time educating myself and have attended workshops on breeding and structure.
I would like to share what I have learned with others.
Of course, there is an unending opportunity to learn more!
I will revise the following as needed when more information becomes available.

Let's start with some basics:

*MOST of the puppies born in a litter are "pet" puppies. Even if you have the most outstanding pair they will produce puppies that are "less than" themselves.

*It is always unknown whether or not a breeding pair will produce puppies that have inherited health issues.
Dogs who have favorable test results can produce puppies with inherited health issues.

*If the parents of the litter are tested for inherited health issues as recommended for their breed, then we we can "see" what disease they have (or don't have).

*If dogs are bred who have inherited health issues, it is more likely these health issues will be passed to their puppies than if the breeding pair does not display a inherited health issue.

*Breeding a pair that are closely related will bring out the best and the worst of the genes in that line.
Some breeders use this method to set certain traits.
The more closely the breeding pair are related
(high "COI")
the greater the chance is of the puppies having a inherited health problem.
A low "COI" is more likely to produce puppies without inherited health problems.

In the United States
(per The Canine Health Information Center)
the tests for inherited health problems for Tibetan Mastiffs are:

*X-Rays to determine hip dysplasia.
*X-Rays to determine elbow dysplasia.
*An American College of Veterinary Opthamologist eye exam.
*Complete OFA thyroid panel.

The x-rays to determine elbow dysplasia are listed as "optional".

Why would a breeder test for these inherited health issues?

If a breeder is breeding for the present and future health of the breed and only breeds those dogs not displaying inherited health issues then we can answer this question with the following.

*To "see" if the dog is displaying an inherited health issue.
*To decrease the chance of passing on genes for inherited health issues.
*To decrease the chance of producing dogs that could have an uncomfortable or difficult life.
*To decrease the chance puppy owners having to face a financial/emotional hardship if their puppy has a inherited health issue.

It is important to keep in mind that it is possible that dogs not displaying inherited health issues will produce puppies that have inherited health issues.
However, we do know if a dog has an inherited health issue, they will probably pass this to their puppies.

Through testing we can find out what dogs have inherited health issues and make sure these are not passed on to the offspring by not using them to produce puppies.

There may be instances that a particular dog is so outstanding in temperament, structure and conformation but has an inherited health issue that the breeder may choose to breed this dog.
In these cases it is especially important to have this information available.

What are the Monetary Costs?

FOR BREEDERS

Following are the average costs of testing for inherited health issues:

X- rays for OFA hip and elbow dysplasia $200.00 to $460.00
Complete Thyroid Panel $90.00 to $120.00
ACVO Eye Exam $35.00 to $70.00

Eye Exams and Thyroid should be completed within 12 months of breeding for every breeding.

INITIAL COST FOR SCREENING FOR INHERITED HEALTH ISSUES
$325.00 TO $650.00
per dog.


I encourage breeders to also post their results in the OFA data base.

Including those that verify inherited health issues.

This will help ALL breeders have this information when they are making breeding decisions.

The cost of posting is minimal. Eyes and Thyroid are only $15.00 each.
You can even have PennHip evaluations posted for $25.00.

This will give your puppy buyers reassurance that you have completed all the tests and they can have some confidence in the litter's health. Offer you the advantage of being able to share with buyers any potential health issues should you decide to breed a dog with an inherited health issues, because of other outstanding traits. AND offer health guarantees to your buyers, either because you are breeding healthy dogs or because you did breed a inherited health issue.


IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED TESTING ON YOUR BREEDING PAIR AND ONLY BREED HEALTHY SPECIMENS
THERE IS NO "SHAME" IN PRODUCING A DOG WITH HEALTH ISSUES.

IT IS A "SHAME" NOT TO TEST FOR INHERITED HEALTH ISSUES.



COST FOR BUYERS

If you get a dog with an inherited health issue, the following is what you might expect to pay for treatment and maintenance:

HIP & ELBOW DYSPLASIA
Treatment can run from lifetime pain/anti-inflammatory medication or holistic treatments to surgery, up to and including hip replacement.
Hip Surgery
$500.00 to $1500.00
Hip Replacement
$4400.00 to $4700.00
There are additional costs for follow up evaluation at $200.00 to $300.00 a visit.

ENTROPION, ECTROPION & DISTICHIASIS (EYE DISEASE)
Treatments range from daily lubrication with eye ointment or drops to surgery.
Cost of Surgery
$300.00 to $500.00

AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE
Treatment with fairly inexpensive thyroid medication given twice daily.
Cost per month about $10.00 or $120.00 per year.
It is important that you maintain dosing as scheduled.
Some autoimmune disease has such severe symptoms it results in the euthanasia of the dog.


Buyers as well as breeders can have a significant impact on the present and future health of the Tibetan Mastiff by:

Only buying puppies from litters whose parents have testing for inherited health issues.
OR
IF one of the parents does have a inherited health issue buy only if the breeder is offering health guarantees for this health issue.
IF the results of the testing are not on the OFA website, ask for copies of the tests BEFORE you make a deposit.

The prices for Tibetan Mastiffs range from $1000.00 up to $5000.00 per dog.
The average price is about $2500.00.
Let's see.... $2500.00 x 6 puppies= $15,000.00
I will leave the interpretation of that information up to you.

Other Costs

If we as breeders do not start putting health at the top of our breeding priority list we may be:

Limiting our gene pool to dogs who have health issues.
Condemning present and future puppies to a possible lifetime of discomfort and difficulty.
Place undue burden on puppy buyers in terms of emotional and monetary costs.
Diminish the Tibetan Mastiff to an undesirable breed because of health issues.


I am committed to the health of the Tibetan Mastiff.
I hope to encourage my fellow breeders to complete the testing.
I hope to encourage buyers to insist upon the testing and the results of the testing in writing and verifiable through the Vet who did the testing or on the OFA data base.

SnowSpirits is committed to testing for all inherited health issues and only breeding dogs that have favorable results.
SnowSpirits is also committed to posting ALL test results in the OFA data base and testing all dogs in my possession.


Please contact me if you have questions or want to discuss this important issue.

If you are a buyer I am more than happy to help you look up information about a litter and advise you on what questions to ask.

Disclaimer
I will not tell you whether or not you should buy a puppy from a particular litter.


Marcha Garn
SnowSpiritsTMs@Yahoo.com
(269) 317-2382


© SnowSpirits Tibetan Mastiffs
&
OK! Get IT!