Sunday, 27 November 2011

Flatcoats and cancer

Pye - just one of 1000s of flatcoats to have died prematurely of cancer
Today, I heard of yet another young Flatcoat losing their life to cancer.  Millie, a search and rescue dog, was just five years old. Last year, someone I know lost two beloved Flattie boys within three months of each other - one was five years old; the other just three. As much as their owner loves the breed, enough was enough. She now has two spaniel crosses.

Contrary to popular perception, my life has not been much blighted by flatcoat cancer.  We did lose our lovely Pye (pictured above) to a cervical tumour when he was 10 but my first flattie, Fred (it's his picture at the top right of the blog) lived until he was 15 years old. My current flattie Maisie turned 10 in August. She is known as the fastest paw in the West - not for being fleet of foot (although she is quick enough when the occasion calls for it) but for the speed with which she can whip a piece of toast off the sideboard and into her mouth the moment your back is turned.

I hope to always have a Flattie in my life; but they will be rescues, not one bought as a pup. And that's because I believe Flatcoat breeders in the UK could be doing more to tackle the horrific rate of cancer in the breed (over half of Flatcoats will develop cancer by the age of 8 and it kills many of them).

There will be howls of protest at my saying this. The Flatcoated Retriever Society and breeders think they are doing quite a lot about cancer. Now it is true that Flatcoat breeders on the whole are health-orientated. Very few Flatcoats are bred without first being hip-scored and eye-tested, and many are elbow-tested too. Re cancer, over £60,000 has been raised since 1990 to fund ongoing research at Cambridge University into Flatcoat cancer - and the breed club helped source dogs for the cohort study linked to above which followed 174 flatcoats through to death.

But...

I am disturbed that the Flatcoat Health Seminar this summer did not include anything on cancer. And I note that the Society's website doesn't actually mention cancer by name on its current health page. There is a link to the Tumour Survey, but it is just a line right at the bottom of the page.

Additionally, the Society's pdf on the Tumour Survey contains a number of inaccuracies - most seriously that the data they have collected had "dispelled the myth that [soft tissue] sarcomas occurred in young dogs."

It is true that the Cambridge research has found a peak in 8 year old dogs (and 8 was also the mean age of presentation) and there was another peak in 11-year-olds. But let's have a closer look at the figures here for the 32 dogs in the cohort study that died from confirmed soft-tissue sarcomas.


As you can see, 13 dogs died at aged 9 or over whereas 19 died at aged 9 or younger. And, crucially, this cohort recruited dogs between the ages of two and seven which could have skewed the data. The authors' rationale for this was that a previous study had found that few flatcoats under the age of seven had died of sarcoma. But this earlier study (Histopathological survey of neoplasms in flat-coated retrievers, 1990 to 1998, JS Morris et al) certainly didn't find that no young flatcoats died from cancer . Actually, the paper is a bit hazy regarding age detail, but it reports that 9 per cent of the dogs diagnosed with differentiated sarcoma were "young". Of the 10 dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma, for instance, three were under two years old.

Certainly, there is a case for repeating the cohort study and making it a birth cohort, ensuring that Flatcoats that die young from cancer (and, anecdotally, there are many of them) are included. 

Recently, a handful of cases of juvenile renal dysplasia in flatcoats has sent the breed club into a spin - disproportionately, in my view. But then it is a rather easier condition to talk about given a simple mode of inheritance and the availability of a DNA test (albeit one that has had validation issues).

It seems to me that cancer is the elephant in the room in Flatcoats - at least in the UK (perhaps US readers can fill us in on the situation there?). Yes, it is acknowledged but it is too often played down. With the researchers yet to come up with any answers that could prevent it, I think the problem is just that everyone feels utterly powerless.

But more could be being done: an open database of dogs (and their pedigrees) affected with cancer, for instance and - in particular - a more effective fund-raising campaign for cancer research. I dont want to diss the £66k raised so far but over 21 years it works out at only around £3k a year - not so much. An opportunity to donate online would be a big help.

I also think that it would be worth the breed club organising a group of flatcoats to be DLA haplotype-tested - something that the breed club turned down when I suggested it to them in 2010, saying they had limited resources and other health concerns to be spending money on. But this is a test that could help breeders breed for a stronger immune system and cancer, of course, is immune-mediated. The Society did agree to include mention of the test in its 2011 newsletter - not sure if it did or not but if it did, here's hoping it encourages some flatcoat breeders to explore.

There is a touching tribute to Millie here.

64 comments:

  1. It seems to me that flatcoats would benefit more from a thoughtfully planned outcrossing program than from spending millions on cancer research. Has anyone in the breed club mentioned outcrossing as a possibility?

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  2. I think the idea of outcrossing would be absolutely unthinkable to most in the breed club.

    But stand by for a blog about one thoughtful - and thought-provoking - flatcout outcross in the US.

    Jemima

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  3. Please would you comment with details regarding the validation issue of the DNA test for renal dysplasia. This condition has recently been diagnosed in a litter of Whippets and breeders are keen to test their stock to see how prevalent it is in the breed.

    Many thanks.

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  4. Annie Macfarlane28 November 2011 10:42

    Where I used to live in Edinburgh there appeared to be lots of Flatcoat owners and one breeder. One person had 6 FCRs at one point and one FCR cross. Beautiful dogs! One by one, however, these dogs died from cancer - until the family were left with one FCR and their FCR cross. Sadly she was then diagnosed with cancer too. The owners tried everything in their power to prolong the life of their dogs; they were getting specialist help. This included either radio or chemotherapy. Not one of them survived. The owners were absolutely devastated and decided enough was enough and they would never have another FCR. They now have loveable crossbreeds. The FCR cross was the last boy standing!

    Another friend had FCRs all her life and each one died from cancer. I don't know if it's true but she told me that the research had identified every bloodline in FCRs had cancer. She, too, decided enough was enough and would never have another.

    I could go on because I saw these dogs every day of my life when I was out with my own. It's heartbreaking when you get to know a dog from a beautiful puppy; watch it grow into a magnificent animal - shown at champ shows - and then ask one day why you never see the dog now and discover that she/he is dead! Died from cancer.

    I really do feel that there is a flaw in the genetic make-up of the FCR. I have known too many to died from cancer for it to purely be a coincidence.

    The suffering endured by the dogs and the owners is incomprehensible. Why is this being allowed to continue? Yes we saw the beautiful FCR winning Crufts this year - an elderly dog by comparison to others. I'm sure you will be inundated with anecdotal evidence of dogs that live to a ripe old age but, unfortunately, I have personal experience of seeing far too many of these gorgeous dogs die at a young age from cancer for anybody to refute there is a huge problem in the breed. All the dogs I knew were not from the same kennel and didn't have the same dam and sire. I don't know how prevalent inbreeding is in this breed so can't say if they will be related in any way. Whether they are related through inbreeding or not, whatever is causing this horrendous condition in flatties needs to be addressed immediately.

    Perhaps the loan (not grant!) to the AHT for further research into canine cancer could be used to investigate cancer in this breed.

    I would go as far as to say I have never met anybody who owns an FCR whose dog was healthy. That is my personal experience and I'm sure there are lots of healthy dogs out there - but I've never met them!

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  5. All this in your blog again, yet you havnt mentioned ONCE the AHT/KC news on the work for cancer not to benefit dogs but ALL animals. Its such a shame this will not get past your publish button as it shows you really do just have a one sided view and a very blinkered approach. I hope that when the new developemnet mean therapy and cures and preventions by this new set up are found, even you might have a pang of guilt that you chose to ignore this news. The money the RSPCA used to support that PETA aligned groups conference could of been so much better used in this cause, but agian they arnt into animal welfare just animal politics

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  6. I've wanted one of these dogs for a long time, but I lost one of my favorite dogs to osteosarcoma a few years ago. She was half golden retriever/half boxer.

    I've noted that that flat-coats are particularly prone to osteosarcoma.

    Goldens are not free from it, but it seems they have as somewhat lower incidence of the disease.

    American flat-coats are very prone to cancer.

    Our goldens are just as prone, but there are a lot more of them in relatively unrelated lines. It's possible to have golden retriever lines without much cancer, but because all flat-coats alive today descend from just a few founders that survived the popularity crash after the First World War and the near extinction of the Second, they tend to have very similar health issues around the world.

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  7. Golden retrievers were given their own registry for very trivial reasons. The yellow and red dogs didn't win in the shows, so their breeders took their marbles and went home. They founded a new club, and then contrived a whole bogus story about their origins-- that they came from Russian ovtcharka dogs. The truth is that St. John's water dogs/wavy-coated retrievers, which were essentially the same animal, always carried the recessive yellow to red gene. I have a text that talks about mahogany "Labradors" working on the coast of Newfoundland in the 1840's. These dogs were never popular in Britain as retrievers, but they always popped up in litters-- especially if they were outcrossed to setters that were of this color.

    Dudley Marjoribanks, the 1st Baron Tweedmouth, merely selected for this color in his wavy-coated retrievers. The wavy-coat became the flat-coat, including the dogs that were derived from his breeding program. The red and yellow dogs couldn't win, so they created a separate breed. Before that, they were interbred heavily. There was a daughter of a well-known black flat-coat, who was definitely black in color, who was registered as a golden retriever.

    The famous dog Zelstone, who looked like a black golden retriever, carried the gene for red to yellow color, for when his son Moonstone, another top show dog, was bred to his mother, a red puppy was produced. Moonstone's litter brother was bred into Lord Tweedmouth's line, but the breeding produced only black puppies.

    Yes. It's amazing how close goldens and flat-coats are-- and both are close to Labradors. At one time you could get smooth and feathered pups in a litter, and some would be yellow to red and some would be black or liver/chocolate. They could all be registered according to their phenotype-- at least in theory. There was even an interbred class for English retrievers in the KC. The English retriever breed essentially had four varieties-- and that's what all these retrievers were called in the United States when they were first imported-- English retrievers.

    Although the golden retriever had been separated for trivial reasons, this separation was actually blessing. If you think about it, the golden retriever probably would have gone extinct or would have become very rare as the flat-coated retriever became more and more scarce. Think of the fawn deerhounds that no longer exist. What about the very rare drop-eared Sky terriers? That's what would have happened to yellow flat-coats had they not become a breed. Yes, there are still a few yellow flat-coats around-- testaments to a time when the two breeds were the same as black and yellow Labradors.

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  8. perhaps Annie Macfarlaine can produce names of anyone else show has lent/granted or given as much money as the Kennel Club, the RSPCA, Insurance Companies, petfood manufactures and drug maker resource are 10 if not 100 than that of the KC. As they have already given (yes as grants) over £1,200,000.00 to the AHT to fund the Genetics Centre. I doubt this will be allowed to be shown as it would give balnce to this blog.......unheard of I know!!

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  9. Oh So Rescue Flatcoats do not suffer from cancer Jemimma lol Good reason for going the rescue route then rather than buy from a Flatcoat Breeder What silly thoughts you have

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  10. So you think the reason I go for rescue flatcoats is because they won't get cancer... even though Pye who died of cancer was, um, a rescue?

    Yes, I saw that the posters on the anti-PDE group have been entirely unable to grasp why I might prefer to get a flatcoat from rescue rather than buy a flatcoat pup from a breeder.

    But I am sure that if you - and they - think really, really hard, you'll be able to work it out for yourselves.

    Stupid on a stick. Really.

    Jemima

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  11. There is someone conscientious in the US, who is breeding from 'older' flat coats, I believe she breeds from females when they are 6-7 yrs old (first litter) and from even older stud dogs, preferably.

    Although this might be considered unethical, as an age to have a first litter, she has not noticed the dogs having any more trouble whelping at that age (and the few people I know in other breeds who've bred from older dogs have also not encountered problems) and she has been able to massively select for parents which are cancer-free - because they have survived to be 6-7, with no signs of cancer. I think it's an interesting proposition, to use older dogs as breeding stock.

    And I think it would also be an interesting proposition for many other breeds: If you want to breed for health and longevity, use parents who display these characteristics...

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  12. I think when talking about cancer there are many factors involved, not just breed genetics. I personally am convinced that some food encourages, if not directly causes cancer. I realize that this isn't the topic of Pedigree Dogs Exposed but feel that whenever you talk about dogs and cancer the need for decent food needs to be mentioned. Above all else avoid E320 (BHA/Butylatedhydroyanilose), E321 (BHT/Butylatedhydroyutoluen) and E324 (Ethoxyquin). These are often simply listed as "EC permitted additives and colourings" in ingredient lists. There are plenty of food varieties which do not contain these.

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  13. PS: To add to that, I just looked through the flat coats offered at stud on Champdogs. There are 2 dogs which were born in 2002, making them 9 yrs old, and a couple in 2003 and 2004. These are the studs which the breeders should be using, and preferably on older bitches - if not as old as 6 yrs, at least wait till 4 yrs before a first litter…

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  14. Wasnt PDE2 ment to have been broadcast by now, why the delay?

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  15. Annie Macfarlane28 November 2011 23:02

    Anon 16.12: I did not say anything about the fact that the KC do not give money to worthy causes....what has annoyed me in this latest "spin" is that the KC are actively trying to make themselves look as if the money is being GIVEN to the AHT by way of a GRANT, rather than the LOAN is actually is. No problem giving loans; just be honest about it. I fancy we'll be seeing much more loans, as opposed to Grants, being given in the future when they become a Company Limited under Guarantee.

    Anon 21.08: I completely agree that some foods do cause cancer in dogs - that is why I feed a natural diet. In the case of the FCR however there are far too many dying from cancer for it to be food related.

    I feel there is a need for ingredients to be clearly identified on all food - not just pet food!

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  16. Also a recent study that looked at 170,000 SNP's, found that flat-coats actually fit within the golden retriever breed.

    http://retrieverman.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/dog-breed-relationships.png

    Here's the study:

    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1002316

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  17. BTW, was Pye short for Pyewacket?

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  18. Replies
    1. Jemima. Your so nerdy. lol

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  19. Just look at this beautiful, energetic and full of life six year old flattie "Jet".

    Dead just four weeks after diagnosis this month.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFn8yBi7njA

    just so sad

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  20. I would really like an independent website that listed all the breeds and their associated health complaints, the percentage of each breed that are affected, their true lifespan, at what age they are likely to die of such problems, and how much each disease typically costs to treat. Also stating which breeds frequently have several problems affecting them at the same time.

    Maybe if it becomes widespread knowledge just how riddled with health problems certain breeds are, these breeds will become far less popular with the general public. This may force breeders to do something about the health risks, because they can no longer find buyers for their puppies.

    At the moment, it's surprisingly difficult to find unbiased and accurate information on the problems affecting many breeds - some breed clubs are just downright liars when it comes to their breed. (The Pug springs to mind.)

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  21. Fran, the data is not there at the moment to be able to list all this info accurately.

    But have a look at dogbreedhealth.com - a work in progress that will launch in January.

    Also see: http://www.ufaw.org.uk/dogs.php which has only a limited number of breeds and conditions at the mo but what is listed is extremely thorough.

    Jemima

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  22. RE Annie Macfarlanes post 28 November.

    The following is the WHOLE press release from the Kennel Club (Will JH publish this I who know?!?)
    Kennel Club agrees £1.5 million loan to fight canine cancer

    The Members of the Kennel Club have today agreed to an interest-free loan of £1.5 million to be given to fight cancer in dogs, at a Special General Meeting which was held at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly.

    Animal Health Trust (AHT) centre
    At the meeting, Kennel Club Members agreed to the loan, which is to be given to the Animal Health Trust (AHT), which is currently building a new cancer centre at its headquarters in Newmarket. The loan will significantly speed up the building and development of the centre, which will be known as the Kennel Club Cancer Centre.

    Sadly, as is the case in humans, cancer is a prevalent disease in dogs. The Kennel Club Cancer Centre at the AHT will bring together the study of cancers, their causes, early diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately hopefully the prevention of some forms of the disease.

    The AHT has a strong team of clinical oncologists and molecular scientists, who together with geneticists, are all on one site. Together, they will be concentrating on different cancers and different aspects of cancers in animals - numerically at least - mainly in dogs.

    The loan is the latest in a series of link-ups between the Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is currently in the third year of a five year £1.2 million grant to the AHT to fund the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the AHT, which is investigating the genetic cause of several other inherited diseases in dogs and developing DNA tests to check for these. There will be considerable synergy with this work and research into cancer.

    A word from the Kennel Club
    Steve Dean, Kennel Club Chairman, said: “We are obviously delighted that our Members have agreed to this loan, which should prove invaluable in the fight against canine cancer. We have an excellent relationship with the AHT
    & look forward to continuing this over the coming years.”

    Dr Peter Webbon, Chief Executive of theAHT said: “We are extremely grateful to the KC for this very generous loan, which will allow us to accelerate our investigations into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs significantly.

    “Cancer remains one of the biggest threats to the wellbeing of dogs, but we hope that through the new KC Cancer Centre at the AHT, we will be able to take major strides towards improving the health and welfare of not just dogs but other animals too.”


    21st November 2011



    Well Annie at NO point do the Kennel Club "Spin" this as you claim to be anything else but a a very big and generous interest free loan, for you to make out they have done anything else is a incorrect and unfair thing to say! In non of the dog press/BBC reports or AHT press release have anyone made it out to be anything but a loan, so PLEASE get you facts straight and dont spin things yourself!!

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  23. Anon asked: "Wasnt PDE2 ment to have been broadcast by now, why the delay?"

    Our delivery date to the BBC has always been end of January. Nothing has changed (well, other than my gorwing panic at how fast that deadline is approaching).

    Jemima

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  24. Re the KC loan to the AHT - in truth, I have not seen any evidence that the KC is trying to spin it like it is a donation (although in fact, there is an element of monetary gift involved as the KC is not charging the AHT interest on the loan). I have, however, seen comments posted elsewhere that challenge others' generosity on the strength of this loan (and the money the KC gives to fund research into genetic issues).

    Personally, I would argue that it is right for the KC to fund health research given that in many respects it has been the KC system that has led to the proliferation of genetic problems.

    Jemima

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  25. Very interesting. Thanks for the info Jemima.

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  26. "Personally, I would argue that it is right for the KC to fund health research given that in many respects it has been the KC system that has led to the proliferation of genetic problems. "

    A) more than half the pedigree dogs arnt registered with the KC yet they can have the same conditions

    B) All dogs be the pedigree/mixed/designer can have the same illness/conditions ie HD, eye problems like cataracts, cancer, skin problems.

    C) there are hundreds of companies be they insurance/food manufactures/vets/drug makers/dog magazines etc who benefit from pedigree dogs

    D)The Kennel Club dont tell people what they HAVE to breed together, its PEOPLE who makes choices

    E) ALL animals be they wild, captive bred and even Humans get cancer and this centre could find cures/treatments for any of these groups.

    F) Humans who have wide gene pool and no one to track their pedigrees have more genetic problems than not just one breed but all of them combined, 1 in 600 African Americans are carriers for Sickle Cell Anemia, 1 in 2000 in this country for Cystic Fibrosis, 1 in 500 for Familial hypercholesterolemia, has the lack of registration system stopped humans getting these conditions?

    so to say "Personally, I would argue that it is right for the KC to fund health research given that in many respects it has been the KC system that has led to the proliferation of genetic problems." I think says more about you own agenda against the KC than it does on world of pedigree dogs and their health.

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  27. There is no agenda, Anon. I am pointing out that the KC system (of inbreeding and too much emphasis on looks and purity within artificially closed gene pools) has harmed dogs.

    The KC cops, what, about £12m a year in registrations? I am arguing that from this benefit, it is right and proper that they fund health research

    I don't have time to tackle all your point but jut to say that (F) makes no sense. The point is not how many genetic diseases there are compared with humans (there are more recorded in humans because they are better researched); it is the prevalence of conditions in many breeds. The fact is that disease burden is often a direct result of the KC system which almost guarantees that rare recessives - which would cause few problems in a larger/more diverse population - meet up. The examples you give do not make your point well as many conditions in dogs run at a far higher rate.

    The KC has, mainly, funded DNA research leading to DNA tests for, mainly, pedigree dogs. Sure, some outside of the KC register benefit from that, but that's not a good reason to not fund.

    Jemima

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  28. Amount of Population and Amount of isolation. Possibly the 2 most important figures to factor in with any species. In humans these both cross paths often enough to understand why some disorders are so prevalent within certain demographics. Such as "sickle cell anemia" and over time the population proliferates within its primary demographic and those recessives tend to double up and well... there ya go. However, for dogs the cycle is amplified and set on fast forward. Since the isolation is created by man through line breeding and the population for most breeds is already limited and easily traced back to a small foundation stock. Add to this the practice of just breeding champions and you further limit the gene pool. Then Add to it the same sire effect and you again further limit the gene pool. Then add to this equation the cosmetic factor when even if a dog may be riddled with disorders.... it presents well and therefore is used in the equation.

    We've stacked the odds so high against success that by continually doing things via the status quo.... just because the guy that's been doing this for decades says its the right way to do things ... we dig our dogs further down a deeper hole with every generation. If after so many decades we've just come to where we're at now and finally acknowledging that there are huge problems as a result of how its been done for so long....

    When is common sense supposed to kick in here? Or do we continue down the same road until all dogs are expected to only live about as long as a Hamster?

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  29. From memory, the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia in certain populations is due to the fact that people with the the sickle cell trait (heterozygotes), are less prone to malaria because the parasite can't reproduce in their red blood cells. In areas where malaria is prevalent, the sickle cell trait therefore confers an advantage over healthy people, who would frequently be killed by malaria in early childhood. This means sickle cell carriers are more likely to survive into adulthood, reproduce and pass the sickle trait on to their offspring.

    In areas where malaria is not prevalent, the sickle cell trait is rare.

    The prevalence of sickle cell trait in certain populations where there is a high incidence of malaria is due to natural selection. It bears no resemblance to the practice of dog breeding for conformation.

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  30. To Anon 18.02's point F: There has been a strong enviromental component favouring sickle cells: "where malaria is common, there is a fitness benefit in carrying only a single sickle-cell gene (sickle cell trait). Those with only one of the two alleles of the sickle-cell disease, while not totally resistant, are more tolerant to the infection and thus show less severe symptoms when infected." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease)

    As to people being different than dogs... they aren't. When human population is isolated and inbred you see the same effect ie. concentration of certain hereditary diseases and lack or dearth of others.

    Real live example is Finland though Finns don't have it nearly as bad as dogs: "The Finnish disease heritage (FDH) consists of almost forty rare hereditary diseases that are clearly more prevalent in Finland than elsewhere in the world. These all are particularly rare diseases: the FDH does not include so-called common diseases that are also caused by genes, though only partly (for example cardiovascular diseases). On the other hand, the concept of Finnish disease heritage reversed means that there are many diseases lacking in Finland that are common elsewhere in the world."
    (http://www.vaestoliitto.fi/in_english/genetics/rare_diseases/finnish_disease_heritage/

    "The Finnish disease heritage is a good example of how founder effects and genetic isolation have moulded the gene pool of this population." (http://www.findis.org/main.php?action=disease) Finnish population had few original settlers and no significant immigration into Finland. Around 1700 the population was about 250 000 out of which it grew to the current 5,5 million.

    Finns' pedigrees are also very well known. Lutheran churches "congregational records document baptisms, marriages, moves, and deaths throughout the country between the 1700s and the 1960s. Geneticists use the registers to trace ancestry back 6 to 10 generations." (http://discovermagazine.com/2005/apr/29-finlands-fascinating-genes/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=)

    My grandfather's relatives have been tracked to one particular village in Eastern Finland in 1500's so the pedigrees can go even further back. So for example Northern epilepsy has been tracked to one couple in Northeastern Finland 1600's.

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  31. @ Anon 18:02

    "A) more than half the pedigree dogs arnt registered with the KC yet they can have the same conditions"

    Surely you mean pure bred dogs as opposed to pedigree dogs? The KC hand out pedigrees. If your dog isn't KC registered it isn't a pedigree dog, it can only be a non registered pure bred. But you're right, any dog can have health problems.

    "B) All dogs be the pedigree/mixed/designer can have the same illness/conditions ie HD, eye problems like cataracts, cancer, skin problems."

    Isn't that what you just said in point A), worded slightly differently to make it look like you had another point?

    "C) there are hundreds of companies be they insurance/food manufactures/vets/drug makers/dog magazines etc who benefit from pedigree dogs"

    They will benefit from any dog owner who buys their product/ services, not just pedigree dog owners and many of these companies routinely make donations to fund research/ charitable causes too, so what exactly is your point?

    "D)The Kennel Club dont tell people what they HAVE to breed together, its PEOPLE who makes choices"

    Hmmm, there's a bit more to it than that. You see, the KC ALLOWS close inbreeding, so people who inbreed their dogs aren't really breaking KC rules, are they? Also the KC don't demand health testing, so they allow pretty much any registered dog to breed, even if that dog is riddled with hereditary health problems. So while I agree with you that it's people who are making bad breeding decisions, it's the KC own rules which allows them to carry on making them.

    "E) ALL animals be they wild, captive bred and even Humans get cancer and this centre could find cures/treatments for any of these groups."

    You're repeating yourself again, you said the same thing in point A) and B) except now you've expanded it to any animal. I will grant you that it's possible this research could help other species though. Time will tell.

    "F) Humans who have wide gene pool and no one to track their pedigrees have more genetic problems than not just one breed but all of them combined....... has the lack of registration system stopped humans getting these conditions?"

    Humans tend to avoid inbreeding like the plague. Setting aside cultural/ religious/ ethical beliefs, we know it causes health problems for the offspring. Same with dogs but the KC allows close inbreeding. Yes there are more known genetic defects in humans, but a smaller percentage of the population are affected by them as compared to dogs.

    Humans who learn they are carrying a genetic defect which may affect their children are faced with a dilemma about whether to risk having children or not. Many choose not to. Dogs don't get to make that choice and too many breeders will continue to breed their dog, even after a genetic defect has been identified. And why not? After all, there are no rules against it, are there?

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  32. Anonymous on 29 November 2011 18:02:

    One word for ya, sweetie: Habsburgs.

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  33. @Roger Wild just because a dog isnt registered with the kennel club does not mean it cannot have a pedigree, look at collies, or lucas terriers, indeed the majority of PEDIGREE dogs are not registered with the KC, as for calling them pure blood again another daft term as all racing greyhounds are pure blood, indeed the majority of breeds are pure blood be they registered ornot, indeed if you look aheah and people continue to breed down from Labradoodle and their ilk and not continue to so first generation crosses (F1) they too would be considered to be pure blood.

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  34. @Anon 12:47 I didn't say pure blood, I said pure bred. The concept of "pure" blood lines is what has led us to this state in the first place. What I meant by pure bred is a dog that has been bred with other dogs of the same breed ( i.e. not a cross breed) but not registered with the KC. Like my dog. Her parents are both of the same breed but the litter wasn't registered with the KC. Therefore she is not a pedigree dog. She is however pure bred, in the sense that her parents were both from the same recognised breed. I could be wrong here, but I've always been under the impression that a pedigree certificate can only be issued by the KC or it's equivalent in another country, and that any dog not registered at birth is not considered a pedigree. Perhaps someone in the know can clarify?

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  35. Roger, you are confusing pedigree with registration.

    Your dog is unregistered. She is purebred. She has a pedigree, whether or not you are in possession of a written record of it.

    All higher animals, including you, have a pedigree, whether or not anyone wrote it down. All a pedigree is is the record of the animal's ancestry.

    Some registries don't even provide a pedigree record with the registration -- they charge extra for this information. This includes the AKC.

    http://cynography.blogspot.com/2011/03/just-basics-how-to-read-pedigree.html

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  36. Well Roger Wilde, never mind you could be wrong you are wrong although a certified pedigree CAN be issued by the KC the vast majority of dogs have pedigrees issued by the breeder. The KC REGISTRATION certificate gives details of the parents (names/and health data). As for your "any dog not registered at birth is not considered a pedigree" wrong again the history or many breeds have had dogs entered in the regisitered as they had been declared as that breed, indeed that still goes on today. As for your own dogs she may be of a breed but if teh breeder did not issues you with a pedigree she has none, but if the breeder couldnt be bothered to do that tell me what health checks did the parents have done then? you said inyour post 1st December "KC allows close inbreeding." well there are limits on what COI can be so how close is close in your view? ok I suspect people will say but you could mate thigs closer in the past, well in the 40 years I been involved in dogs I can assure you that hardly ever if at all happened (and I am not condoning it either). Let get back to your own dog as you have no predigree and she isnt registered, jost how inbred is she? her parent could be cousins, brother and sister or worse for all you know! a pedigree is just a record just beacuse yorus has not got one does not make it any better than one that does!

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  37. Thanks for that Heather, but now I'm really confused, lol. Without meaning to come across as being argumentative, on the one hand:

    "Your dog is unregistered. She is purebred. She has a pedigree, whether or not you are in possession of a written record of it.",

    and on the other:

    " All a pedigree is is the record of the animal's ancestry."

    Surely if all a pedigree is is the record of the animal's ancestry, it follows that if no such record exists then there is no pedigree so my dog cannot be called a pedigree?

    But if my dog has a pedigree, whether or not I possess a record of it, surely ANY dog can claim to be a pedigree dog, even a mongrel? After all, they are just dogs who's pedigree hasn't been recorded.

    Also generally on these blogs when we are discussing KC dogs we describe them as pedigrees, and usually describe non registered dogs as purebred rather than non registered pedigrees. I just think it's less confusing to think of a KC registered dog as a pedigree, a non registered purebred as a purebred, a cross breed as a cross breed and a mongrel as a mongrel. It works for me, lol.

    If however it is true that a non registered purebred dog is still considered a pedigree, then I apologise for my error.

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  38. Well Roger Wilde, never mind you could be wrong you are wrong although a certified pedigree CAN be issued by the KC the vast majority of dogs have pedigrees issued by the breeder. The KC REGISTRATION certificate gives details of the parents (names/and health data). As for your "any dog not registered at birth is not considered a pedigree" wrong again the history or many breeds have had dogs entered in the registered as they had been declared as that breed, indeed that still goes on today. As for your own dogs she may be of a breed but if the breeder did not issues you with a pedigree she has none, but if the breeder couldnt be bothered to do that tell me what health checks did the parents have done then? you said in your post 1st December "KC allows close inbreeding." well there are limits on what COI can be so how close is close in your view? ok I suspect people will say but you could mate things closer in the past, well in the 40 years I been involved in dogs I can assure you that hardly ever if at all happened (and I am not condoning it either). Let get back to your own dog as you have no pedigree and she isnt registered, just how in bred is she? her parent could be cousins, brother and sister or worse for all you know! a pedigree is just a record just because yours has not got one does not make it any better than one that does! It really is an eye opener to see how little some people understand but are prepared to comment/condone or condemd others biased on the little knowledge......a dangerous thing indeed!!

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  39. Anon 8:43 said: ‘It really is an eye opener to see how little some people understand but are prepared to comment/condone or condemd others biased on the little knowledge......a dangerous thing indeed!!’

    I find it really interesting that the critics of the system are generally those who back up their arguments with real, current science whereas those who defend it spout 19th century pseudoscience, mythology and logical fallacies. You are absolutely right, Anon 8:43: limited knowledge is a dangerous thing and it is truly an eye-opener to read the ignorant an illiterate comments that abound regarding breeding. Unfortunately, I think you and I are talking about different people.

    It’s time we stopped thinking of messing around with a sentient creature’s genetic structure as fun hobby indulged in by amateurs in their free time. If dog breeders want to act like professionals with the right to regulate themselves, they need to walk the walk. Bring on a rigourous licensing system that requires practitioners of dog breeding to pass proper exams, including ones on anatomy, population genetics and conservation. Require practitioners to prove formally that they are staying up-to-date in their field when their licenses are up for renewal. Good breeders would have nothing to fear and fewer dogs would lead compromised lives or die tragically young because of human ignorance and idiocy.

    I’m looking forward to the post on the flat-coat outcross.

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  40. Good post sarah...im heartily sick of some breeders telling me dog showing is supposed to fun..it is but when you take on breeding too then thats a whole different ball game. If you cant make an effort to learn the basics of genetics and the possible health issues that may affect your puppies then stop breeding. Carry on showing because that dosnt cause a whole raft of heartache and pain for the animals you breed and the owners that love them.

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  41. @Anon 08:43 Please read my post @ 02:51. Look at the last line. I wrote: "If however it is true that a non registered purebred dog is still considered a pedigree, then I apologise for my error." See that? I made a mistake and owned up to it. Wasn't even all that hard. I still don't understand how, if all a pedigree is is a record of heritage, that a dog can be called "pedigree" when there is no record of said dogs heritage, but I'm willing to accept that they are.

    You are so right when you say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I am new to all of this and learning more stuff every day thanks to blogs like this one, the PDE film, the Bateson report (which I've just finished reading) and other online resources, as well as speaking to people who have been breeders for years (both KC and non KC). Does the fact that I'm still learning mean my views are not valid? I would argue that everyone still has something to learn. I would also argue that there are some people who aren't breeders but know a heck of a lot more about good breeding practices than many a KC breeder. You said there are limits on what the COI can be? Some KC dogs have a COI of around 80%, so just how much limitation is there?

    On the subject of my own dog, you said that without a pedigree how do I know if she was the result of a close inbreeding or not? Again you are right, I don't know for sure, I only have the word of the breeders. The breeders told me they had fallen out with the KC over the clubs attitude to breeding for type, and their continuing to allowing puppy farmers to register their pups. So it seems unlikely that they would then carry out a close inbreeding when they are so concerned about KC methods. Not Impossible, just unlikely. Her parents WERE registered, the litter was not. But lets assume for a moment the parents were closely related. A litter of pups had been born and they needed homes. We provided a home for one of them. Better than them ending up in rescue isn't it? All we can do as her new owners is to give her a good loving home, with lots of exercise and play, and the attention of a good vet. If we breed from her I have already stated elsewhere I would have her health tested first. This is more than many KC breeders are prepared to do. I just don't see the point in breeding from a dog if their pups are going to inherit health problems. Shame the KC and show breeders don't see it that way, isn't it?

    I heard somewhere that there is a test we can have done which would calculate the COI of any puppies born, a simple swab test done on both prospective parents prior to any actual mating taking place. Anyone have any info on this?

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  42. Roger Wilde said...

    "I heard somewhere that there is a test we can have done which would calculate the COI of any puppies born, a simple swab test done on both prospective parents prior to any actual mating taking place. Anyone have any info on this?"

    There isn't any such test, Roger. You *can* do a test that will tell you what DLA genes your dog has in her MHC (basically the genes relating to the immune system):

    http://www.genoscoper.com/in_english2/gene_tests/gene_tests/dla_diversity/

    This test is useful if you do not want to produce dogs that are homozygous. There is a lot of evidence that heterozygosity is more desirable from a health standpoint.

    Mars also has a test for breeders, called Optimal Selection, that looks at specific chromosomes in the prospective mates:

    http://www.wisdompanel.com/about_wp/about_optimal_selection/

    I don't know anything about that one, they are supposed to be publishing a paper on it.

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  43. R Wilde says "I heard somewhere that there is a test we can have done which would calculate the COI of any puppies born, a simple swab test done on both prospective parents prior to any actual mating taking place. Anyone have any info on this? " there isnt a DNA test for this, if yu think you have learned things and is shows you havnt. As for breeder falling out with the KC I suspect they are breeding outside the KC rules Ie number of litter born to a bitch age of the bitch, as for them saying about puppy farmers by NOT registereing ther are no better than a puppy farmer, if you have the names of the parents of your dog you can see onthe KC web site just what test have been carried out, but surely you asked all this whenyou bought teh puppy or they at least showed you the proof

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  44. Semantics, complicated by the the widespread misconception that the British and the the Americans speak the same mother tongue, as well as the various dialects that divide social groups in widely disparate locations -- show dog fanciers, working dog breeders and handlers, backyard breeders, commercial puppy-peddlers, geneticists, livestock breeders, and pet owners -- dog civilians, as it were.

    As you've seen, Roger, certain people like to latch onto your moral failure to accept their specific and perhaps whimsical use of terminology as proof of your irredeemable stupidity. Control the terminology, control the language, control the thought. This works better when the those seeking to do so can form a coherent thought and express it in a standard English sentence.

    When the documentary called "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" came out, I understood the title to be something consciously designed to resonate with the last group, people who did not use or understand terminology in the way that any of the specialist groups do.

    It is, for example, not grammatically correct. Correct English (either side of the pond) would be pedigreed dogs, not pedigree dogs.

    It appears here (correct me if I am wrong) that the term "pedigree" is widely used in Britain to designate a purebred, KC-registered dog, and is not applied to a dog whose genetics are known and recorded by another means -- ISDS sheepdogs, for example, or hunting packs of hounds. I don't know if that is purely a fancier affectation, or if it is used in the same way by non-fancier dogmen and women. If so, what are those ISDS sheepdogs, pack hounds, etc.?

    More complications. For example, in Canada, by law, a dog must be registered with the government-approved registry for its breed (generally the CKC) in order to be legally sold as "purebred." Technically, a Canadian breeder cannot sell an English shepherd pup that is purebred, pedigree undisputed, and registered with any or all of the US registries for the breed, as "purebred," since there is no Canadian registry. The same is true for a number of non-kennel-club breeds, and would also be true if a Canadian breeder was selling AKC-registered dogs of a breed also registered by the CKC. This is, of course a fiction established by law imposing a basically nonsensical limitation of meaning on a commonly-used word.

    In my breed, there are many dogs of known pedigree that are unregistered, may have been unregistered for many generations of breeding by one family or a group of them. One of the projects of the relatively new club-owned registry is to bring those individuals and bloodlines -- and the history of their genetics -- back into the registered population. There are also dogs that are registered by the commercial registries that are clearly not "purebred" and have no pedigree records. There are dogs of other breeds in the historic pedigrees -- some we know about, doubtless others we do not. I'm sure that many an anon here would consider my Moe, who is 6.25% border collie, to be a mutt. The English shepherd community calls him an English shepherd, because that's what he is.

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  45. (continued from above)

    Personally, I'm getting away from the term "purebred" when referring to my dogs and the functional dogs produced by others who do not fetishize the idol of "purity." I am tending to use "purpose-bred" to reflect the fact that the animals have been selected to perform a function (and that function certainly can be family pet, lapdog, etc.) There must be evidence of actual selection towards that purpose, rather than a lack of any selection (as with many BYBs and all puppymillers) or selection for irrelevant traits (as with fancy-bred show dogs selected for appearance).

    I don't allow trolls to control my language, but I do endeavor to be clear about the way I use it. Of course, one's choice of terminology is a way of (consciously or unconsciously) declaring one's membership in a given tribe. Note the screech here when someone calls an English bulldog an English bulldog -- because the fanciers' "authority" has appropriated the word "bulldog" for one splinter of that family's genetics, the fanciers believe they can impose that unjustified imposition on those who don't recognize its unearned privilege to do so. When I compliment a sheepdogger on his fine collie, I am performing the dog-politics equivalent of calling a city in Ulster "Derry," or a country in southeast Asia "Burma."

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  46. Thanks for the replies guys - even you Anon.

    Jess, thanks for those links, I will check them out later.

    Heather, the terminology can be confusing at times. When talking about dogs I had always taken "pedigree" to mean KC registered. When I'm out walking with my dog I often get asked "is she a pedigree?" to which I had always replied "no, she's purebred but not pedigree". In future I will simply say "Yes". What you said about sheepdogs and collies is like the whole GSD vs Alsatian debate, much ado about nothing really.

    Anon, it's obvious that you and I have very different points of view. I am, as I said new to all of this. Currently I am simply a dog owner. In the future I MIGHT become a breeder. So would you agree then that it would be in the interests of future generations of dogs that I learn as much as I can beforehand? Of course it would, I'd be irresponsible to go into it blindly. So when I ask a question on here about a test I've heard of but want more information about, who do you think I'm going to listen to? Someone like Jess, who tells me about what tests are available, or you who come back with a "hah, shows how much you know" sort of reply? If I don't know something it's not because I'm stupid it's because I haven't learned about it yet. Nobody is born knowing everything. You say you've got 40+ years of experience, which suggests that you have a lot of knowledge you could pass on to those less experienced than you. Do you treat all potential new breeders this way or just the ones who don't subscribe to your point of view? I won't add any more on this thread for the reasons given below. But I do hope you and I can debate some more at a later date. It'd help if you signed in with your own name though, or even a pseudonym if you're more comfortable with that. It's just that there are so many Anons on here it's hard to know who is saying what to whom, lol.

    Apologies to Jemima, this thread was supposed to be about cancer in flatcoats, it's turned into a debate about the correct use of the English language and bit of sparring match between Anon and myself. Sorry about that.

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  47. Ha ha, Roger, I'd just be happy if passers-by didn't constantly ask me whether my GSDs are "thoroughbred."

    Uh, no, none of them have been horses. (This is not a term the correct meaning of which is in dispute among tribes.)

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  48. The arguments that have ensued in the comments seem to have moved away from the blog subject.

    The blog appears to suggest that the cancer problems in flatcoats are the fault of the flatcoat breeders.

    Can I suggest that Jemima Harrison has missed her way in life.

    Since she is obviously so well educated in the science of medicine, she ought to be working for one og the eminent cancer charities, since her obvious intimate knowledge in the disease will be invaluable to them in their search for a cure.

    Or perhaps she is really just looking for yet another way to attack the world of pedigree/purebred/pureblood dogs.

    As for the cross bred dogs - what are the figures in relation to cancer rates of these I wonder.

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  49. No, this blog does not suggest that the cancer problems in flatcoats are the fault of flatcoat breeders. This blog does, however, suggest that flatcoat breeders could be doing more - and it spells out what I think those measures could be.

    There is one good - although limited - Italian study comparing cancer rates in purebred dogs (and cats too actually) to cancer in cross/mixed breed dogs. It found that the purebreds were twice as likely to develop cancer than their cross/mixed breed cousins.

    Here is the reference:

    Vascellari, M., Baioni, E., Ru, G., Carminato, A., & Mutinelli, F. (2009). Animal tumour registry of two provinces in northern Italy: incidence of spontaneous tumours in dogs and cats. BMC Veterinary Research, 5, 39.

    This makes sense to me for the reasons given above - one effect of inbreeding can be to weaken the immune system, preventing the host from mounting a strong response to immmune-mediated diseases such as cancer.

    Jemima

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  50. "Can I suggest that Jemima Harrison has missed her way in life."

    Or maybe she just cares for the breed.

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  51. Unfortunately Jemima, whilst you refer to the study, I cannot find immediately an online copy to refer to.

    What mixes were studied?

    We have a problem by comparing purebred to mixed breed, in that purebred are a known quantity, but by simply stating 'crossbred' you could be referring to the gene pools of many different breeds. Were the crosses in any part flatcoat?

    As with any study of statistics, if you really wish to do so, you can skew the figures to support the view you require.

    Hence can I suggest that when referring to cross (or mixed) breeds the actual mix is stated where possible?

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  52. Can you please expand on what you mean by inbreeding?

    I would assume that you do not mean simply to breed purebred to purebred, but please confirm this.

    As a responsible person, when planning a litter, great care is taken to ensure that lines are NOT too close, despite the assertions made in your previous program. Whilst it may happen with some breeders, I do find to be accused of the same as part of a collective to be most insulting. It is akin to saying that anyone who is German must be a Nazi, which of course if far from the truth.

    And if I am right with my assumption, on what basis does this confirm that simply being purebred increases a predominance of cancer. What is the sample size of the research on which the statement is made?

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  53. Daz wrote: "Unfortunately Jemima, whilst you refer to the study, I cannot find immediately an online copy to refer to."

    You didn't try very hard:

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/5/39/abstract

    Daz wrote: "As with any study of statistics, if you really wish to do so, you can skew the figures to support the view you require."

    This paper - which was published in a peer-reviewed journal - was included in the Bateson report, commissioned by the Kennel Club. As I said, it has its limitations, but the two-fold higher incidence of malignant tumours in the purebred population is undoubtedly a cause for concern.

    Jemima

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  54. Many thanks for the link. Perhaps life would have been easier if that had been included in the earlier post, but heyho, I have had the opportunity to read it now.

    The study seems to suggest that less the 0.3% of animals in the study (282/100,000) are affected (affected, not killed) by cancer. By comparison, a quick google search suggests that 13% of deaths in humans are caused by cancer. Draw a conclusion.................

    Within the study, it does say that the IR is apparently more prevalent in pure breeds, but as you admit in your podcast interview of yesterday evening, care needs to be taken when looking at crossed breeds, since two breeds with similar problems can still suffer as a result, unless the gene can be identified that causes the problem (e.g as in PRA as you identify)

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  55. Daz writes "The study seems to suggest that less the 0.3% of animals in the study (282/100,000) are affected (affected, not killed) by cancer."

    No.The study gave an estimated annual incidense rate . . . . annual being the operative word here.

    Here is the wording from the link.

    "In dogs, the estimated annual incidence rate (IR) per 100,000 dogs for all tumours was 282 in all the catchment area, whereas in cats the IR was much lower (IR = 77)."

    It is pointless to compare the full-life incidense rates in humans to the yearly canine incidense rate estimated from this study.

    Kary

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  56. Sorry, I misworded what I put. In one particular year (2007) the incidence of cancer in humans was 13% of all deaths.

    So yes you can compare.

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  57. Daz you need to convert to the same units of measurement for comparison.

    The rate you have given is 13% of DEATHS in humans are attributable to cancer.

    There are approx. 803 deaths per 100,000 human population yearly. !3% of that gives us a 104/100,000 population yearly death rate attributable to cancer.

    Those are your comparisons given in the same units of measurement.

    Humans have a 104/100,000 annual cancer DEATH rate.

    Dogs, in this study, had a 282/100,000 annual AFFECTED rate.

    They are not measuring the same thing, and IMHO there are also serious contentious issues surrounding the comparison of human breeding results to dog breeding results.

    The 2007 human death rate data is here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

    Kary

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  58. Kary,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer

    Says in there 'In 2007, cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths worldwide (7.9 million).' The figure given is specific, 7.9 million deaths, you don't need to maipulate the figures.

    Yes I can accept that I am not comparing exact like for like, since GREATER than 13% of humans will have been AFFECTED by cancer.

    One thing I will say is that cancer rates will likely be (seen to be) increasing, both in humans and animals. But can I be so bold to suggest that this may not actually be as a result in a growth in the incidence of cancer, but could also be a result of increased knowledge meaning that detection rates are also increasing.

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  59. Daz, I am not manipulating the figures. You are not grasping the figures and what they mean.

    The human figure you are giving, of 13%, is a percentage of the DYING, not of the full population.

    You are treating the figure as if it reflective of the full population . . . . and it is not.

    The figure given for dogs IS for the full population.

    Unless you can put them on even keel - as in put them either both as comparisons to full populations, or both as comparisons to just the dying populations, a comparison is pointless.

    If you cannot grasp that concept, the matter is beyond my explanation.

    Kary

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  60. "Yes I can accept that I am not comparing exact like for like, since GREATER than 13% of humans will have been AFFECTED by cancer."

    This is what I am speaking of when I mention that you are treating the stat as if it is speaking to the full human population, and not just as a 13% portion of the small portion that are dying . . . . as the wiki comment makes clear.

    13% of the humans that were alive in 2007 will not have been affected by cancer that year. If that was the case our hospitals would be stuffed full. It is ridiculous to think this.

    13% of the humans that died in the year 2007 were affected by cancer.

    Those are two VERY different things.

    Kary

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  61. If you want to write about a breed that gets cancer dysproportionately (and haven't yet, I have not gone through all the blog posts), why not try Boxers? THE cancer breed.

    I remember one lecture in veterinary school where the professor told us: "If you examine a Boxer that is older than six years and you don't find a tumour - you haven't looked very well."

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  62. Two years ago, after much searching, I got a flat coated retriever pup for Christmas with my boyfriend. We named our angel Bear. Well actually the person we got her from told us she was a golden/shepherd mix, probably so we wouldn't look up the fact that the flat coated breed has a higher chance of cancer. Either way there was no way I was leaving Bear after the first time I held her. I grew up around lots of dogs, had a golden for most of my childhood and adolescent years but this was the first time I myself had taken complete care of a puppy, and not my mother. I could not leave her anywhere. We took her everywhere in a tote bag when she could fit, until we got all of her routine vaccinations and we started taking her on walks and to the park. Everyone loved Bear. Shortly before she turned one, after all the vaccinations finished months before, Bear still got Parvo. We were devastated and stayed up with her until she got better. Bear survived and we thought it was a miracle, so thankful for my little angel... On May 7th 2013, we had to put Bear down because of a malignant tumor under her eye. She was I year and 7 months old. I still don't know what happened. One day I noticed that Bear's eye was a little pink. By the next day it got a little swollen and her third eye lid was covering most of her left eye. The vet told us it was conjunctivitis at first. But as it didn't get better, no improvement whatsoever, we go back after a couple of days. The doctor this time thought something like a foxtail could be inside. So the doctor cut under the eye but could not find any foreign bodies. We really wanted to go to the opthamologist but couldn't afford $5k for the exam. Our vet then thought it may be glaucoma. We would have been happy with a 1 eyed dog. He did a biopsy and another surgery which did not help. A few days later we learned that Bear had cancer. The first day we saw any sign to the day we lost hope, it only took 3 weeks for me to be able to do nothing to save her. still we called around teaching hospitals like UC Davis but we didn't get in. All we could do was schedule her euthanasia and keep her happy. Bear was still so strong. Pulling on walks, running in the back yard, but her eye was constantly bleeding and the pressure that kept pushing on her eye. I felt so bad when she kept looking at me to take the pain away. On her last day, we took her on a nice walk then fed her a lot. We watched her devour a t bone stake and later a whole cornish hen, amongst other treats. Now looking back, if we had found out sooner that she was a flat coat, we would have biopsied right away for cancer which had not crossed my mind because the doctors never discussed it until it was too late. But I can't blame them. Now, I just want to wait until I have enough money saved comfortably set aside for my next pup in case there are any medical emergencies. 
    I will forever love you  my little Bear.

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  63. I am on my 4th Flattie. First lived to just shy of 13. Second we had to put down as she developed polycystic kidneys. Third one is now nearly 10 and we have a 2 year old. So far, fingers crossed, none of mine have developed cancer. I do think that a lot of them are inbred too much and I rather like the idea of the older sire.

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