Health Issues and the Bouvier des Flandres
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Health Concerns
More in depth explanations of Each Health issue are availalble on many links found on our "links page".

Thyroid- This is an imbalance in the Thyroid's ability to regulate the Canine's basic metabolism. The manifestations go from a dog with lethargy, mental lassitude, weight gain, dull coat, skin infections, constipation, diarrhea, cold intolerance, skin odor, hair loss, greasy skin, dry skin, reproductive problems, aggression, and there are a few more. A test for thyroid can be done and the treatment can be as simple as a couple of pills a day. This medication is easily administered and not costly overall. Check with your vet for more information. This is a hereditary problem that the dogs are tested for if they are going to breed.

Cataracts and Glaucoma - This is a huge problem in our breed. It seems that about 9 years ago a litter was born that yielded many of it's get had Glaucoma (Not at the time of whelp but later in the dogs lives about 2003). The unfortunate outcome was that each one of these dogs bred .The breedings before they got glaucoma were understandable. To use these offspring in your breedings after the knowledge that they were affected, was not a wise idea since the offspring had the possibility of being carriers of the gene. The offspring that these dogs produced were so beautiful, that the possibility that glaucoma could develop down the road for their puppies was not considered. The desire to produce beautiful dogs over took the need to protect the breed's health. Many breeders are importing dogs now to water down the genes, however once it is injected in your line, it is there. IT CAN NOT BE WATERED DOWN!

An article in the Gazette illustrated how long forgotten genes reappear years later. A columnist wrote about her terrier bitch that had puppies. She looked at the litter and one of the dogs was distinctly a different breed of terrier. She mused about the possibility of an accident but knew that she had not gone to any shows or let the btich out of her sight. After a great deal of study she discovered that 100 years prior a different breed of terrier had been introduced for shape and form to her breed. She then knew that this injection had caused her little surprise. All her friends who had bred for some time said that although not common, it happens.

The same can be said for a buried health issue. It will crop up. Once there it can always show up.

There are studies being done at the University of Missouri in Columbia to discover the marker that Glaucoma is carried on. Should this discovery be made it can solve many of the mysteries of who could be a carrier and who is not. The recent declaration is that the gene is so vast that it is entering on many avenues (polygenic). This mode of inheritance makes it unlikely that the DNA of these maladies will be indentified. What should a breeder do in this situation? NOT USE THE LINES THAT CARRY THIS HISTORY OF BAD HEALTH IN THEIR BREEDINGS!

Until man becomes advanced enough to unravel the DNA of this problem, it is wise to distance one's self from these pedigrees.

Dogs can be tested for cataracts and glaucoma and be cleared for the moment. Many Bouvier breeders think that a Gonioscopy is the answer. Eye doctors and specifically the doctor doing the study at Mizzou has said that a Gonio is not any proof that a dog will or will not come down with Glaucoma. It is a test that is a waste to spend money on.

A test for glaucoma tells one if their dog has or does not have glaucoma at that precise moment. This malady can crop up quickly and in fact over night. So a test this month yielding good eyes can be quite the opposite next month.

The Clubs realizing the enormity of the problem in the breed at this point has suggested breeders get eyes checked every two years. Why? Because this over used and saturated pedigree is there and still being used to excess. Even though many breeders have been stung by the problem of cataracts and glaucoma, the ones that have not feel that "it won't happen to me, I have tested dogs". They could not be further from the truth. Glaucoma can be tested for and in less than 24-48 the symptoms can begin.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia - This is a problem but will not kill the dog fortunately. Getting hips and elbows checked is a valid way to see if you dog has joint problems. There are two gold standards for checking, but they will not pass dogs that are injured or have a miniscule offset. These dogs do not show signs of Hip Dysplasia but because of the shape or the injury, chips and the like, they will not pass. A unilateral displacement is thought not to be Hereditary but environmental. It is wise to consult with a doctor about your dogs hip conditions and to talk with them if you need clarification on a reading. Penn hip uses an approach that predicts the possibility of arthritis in a dog. It predicts based on the hips at present.

Heart Problems- This is also a problem in our breed. It is thought that if you have a heart murmur that a dog has a death sentence. This is not always the case. A dog can have multiple levels of heart problems and various deformities within the heart. While it is true you can have a vet "listen for" a murmur, once one is found, it is responsible to continue your research and have the dog echo cardio-grammed for the extent of the malady. It is conceivable that a dog can have a murmur at birth that is loud enough to hear, however after the dog grows. the murmur is much more difficult to detect and if not echoed, the dog can be passed in a noisy clinic situation It is very important for the health of the dog to indentify the problem and know the extent as special circumstances can arise that make it necessary to treat a dog with a heart murmur differently when prescribing medication for a minor cut or abrasion. These dogs can get infections that will go to their heart and settle in it. Signs of a severe heart problem vary but lethargy, getting tired easily, getting winded after a small walk all can signal a problem. This should not be taken lightly and it is best that you seek attentiona immediately from a cardiologist that deals with dogs to seek advise and the course of action.

Dogs can be tested for this. It is one of the tests that breeders give before they consider breeding. KNOW THAT IF YOUR DOG HAS THIS IN THEIR BACKGROUND THEY COULD BE CARRIERS. THERE IS NO WAY OF TELLING AT THIS POINT IN TIME. IMPORTING AND INTRODUCING ANOTHER LINE WILL NOT WATER IT DOWN. WHEN IT APPEARS IT IS JUST AS STRONG AS IT WAS IN THE GENERATION THAT ORIGINALLY PRODUCED IT. There are many dogs from that pedigree which are phenotypically beautiful that carry this gene predominantly in their background. Bajoron knows of at least two dogs from this line that succumbed to SAS (in 2010) and yet still the breeders use the dogs that are brothers and sisters to carry on this line. There are show dogs that have the suspicious lines in them EIGHT TIMES. For this breeder that behavior is reprehensible! Breeding to win and ignoring health history is just plain negligance!

This breeder keeps all prelims, certifications and tests in their archived folders. We produce these tests when applicable. We do not post on the internet or the OFA (orthopedic Foundation for Animals). We have our own feelings about the way that this entity is managed, their policies on privacy, and how the Process of having your dog health checked is carried out at each clinic.

We do however attend Health clinics officially sponsored by American Veterinary Medicine Association (specifically trained in their fields)and use their testing standards to officially clear our dogs of these illnesses. We also used our vet as well as and canine eye doctor at he University of Missouri and in Saint Louis. We have a Cardiac doctor at the university as well as in town. We are blessed to have alot of places to clear our dogs health. Thyroid gets sent off and checked for normal levels.

We are very picky about our choice of dogs in our program. We keep a huge database of dogs pedigrees that have died or produced sick dogs. This helps us to make sound choices in our quest for good dogs to use in our breeding program.

If you intend to breed it is of the utmost importance that you seek out dogs that are not of questionable health pedigree and to secure each of your dog’s reputations with hip, elbow, thyroid, heart and eye examinations.

In the Bouiver breed there is a statement that says, "Five Star or Six Star Health tested" This statement was developed in the early 1990s when dogs were rarely checked for hips let alone anything else. As each of the breeders started to health check in each area that became an issue, we used the tern star health tested. This statement for Bajoron means that we have cleared our dogs in each of these areas, hips, elbows, eyes, thyroid and heart.

The process is not a cheap endevor. It costs us on the average 900 dollars a dog to run each battery of tests. Clinics can help bring down the costs by 100 dollars. If you intend to breed, it is essential to make the effort. We feel very strongly about health testing to protect the future of the Bouvier des Flandres.

The over used "line breeding" method of creating puppies is one of our biggest culprits for narrowing the gene pool and making health issues stand out. Using the next biggest stud dog can narrow our gene pool and in many cases due to the fact that many of our winning dogs in the ring have common ancestors, this is saturating the gene pool. Every great breeder knows this give you the best of the best and t he worst of the worst. You may get the body to win, and the health that can kill or cripple.

When we say health tested we mean that we have gone to the vet, checked each dog for heart, eyes, hips, elbows and in some cases patella (although this has not been a noted issue for Bouviers) and Thyroid problems. We have fixed or neutered dogs that are not up to our standards of excellence.

We do not to have to prove to other breeders or associates that we have healthy dogs but to ourselves so that our gold standard is passed on to our buyers. Know that we health test every dog that is used to produce Bajoron Puppies. Any other breeder or person who says otherwise, is purely saying this to discredit us and our Kennel. And from what we have learned over the past 30 years, this is common practice.

Bajorons vast knowledge of What makes a Good Puppy!

Why the OFA is not the best when health testing your dog!

Bouvier Health Issues Explained in Depth

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