Is Removed From The Breeding Program
I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks
now. It’s one of the hardest posts I’ll ever have to
write. However, I’m writing it, because I feel I need to share
this information with you, as it is important to our breed.
removing Orion from our breeding program. My dream to breed him has
come to an end. From the time I had to remove Orion from the show
ring, because of his ears failing to go up, I’ve wondered if
he should be bred at all. Because of our gene pool being so small,
I felt that if he passed all his other health tests, maybe he could
contribute to the breed if bred to a bitch with strong, small ears.
It is not to be.
When Orion turned one year old, I had his hips done
by OFA. The report came back Mild Hip Dysplasia due to subluxation
in his right hip. I felt this wasn’t too bad, as we know our
breed tends to have loose hips as pups, and they tend to tighten
as they grow. So, I decided to wait until he was 2 and repeat the
At one year of age, I also had him tested for OFA cardiac
certification. He passed and received an OFA cardiac certification
number. But, the exam showed he has a heart murmur. This, I didn’t
like at all. And, even though several breeders told me it would probably
be nothing, I decided I would repeat this test when he turned 2 also.
Well, the tests were repeated, and they weren’t
what I had hoped they would be. He did pass his OFA elbows and Thyroid,
both are normal. However, his two year OFA hips showed Mild Hip Dysplasia,
due to subluxation, this time in the left hip. I went ahead and did
a PennHIP also, as I wanted to know what that test would show. His
left hip was 0.50 and his right hip 0.52. This would put him in the
Still Permissible category.
The cardiac test is the one that broke
my heart. I repeated his cardiac echocardiogram and it showed that
the valve leak he had at one year of age has gotten slightly worse.
It put him right over the high normal, no longer qualifying him for
cardiac certification. The high normal for blood flow through his
aortic valve is 1.7. He was right under that at one year, he is now
2.15. The cardiologist told me he has a valve leak, does not have
SAS, and will be able to lead a normal life. He doubts the valve
leak will get worse. Orion has no restrictions, and will be able
to continue sheep herding. However, if he was bred, he could produce
SAS in his offspring. My heart just broke when I heard this, especially
since I had just had him checked by one of his vets, who didn’t
hear a heart murmur at all!
I know some here have been talked about
and vilified by the splinters for sharing problems about your dogs.
I felt I had to take the chance, because it was more important for
you to have this information. I will be neutering Orion. I’m
just so glad that I had him tested before I bred him! I am horrified
to think what could have happened if I had gone ahead and bred him
without testing him first! I may have gotten lucky, and bred him
to a bitch with no heart problems. But, that would have just created
a bunch of carrier puppies. Or, I could have had my regular luck,
and bred him to another bitch with an unknown heart murmur, and produced
a litter with one or more SAS puppies. The thought just makes me
I know it will be mandatory to have all dogs tested
for hips, elbows and heart starting next year. I think this is a
great move for our breed, especially as we try to achieve FCI recognition.
I urge you all to not wait until it becomes mandatory! I urge you
to test all your dogs now! I know many of you have already tested
your dogs, and I highly commend you for doing so! But for those who
Can you afford not to? Can you afford to replace puppies from the
litters you are producing if they have SAS? Can you explain to your
broken hearted puppy buyers, if they end up with a puppy with SAS,
why you bred your dog without testing him/her? I know these are harsh
questions. And I know even if your dogs are tested, and are healthy,
health problems can still be produced. That’s Orion; he just
got a very bad roll of the genetic dice. However, I feel we should
all do all we can, and strive to breed the healthiest dogs we can!