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Advice on Bloat, as given in the Irish Setter Breeders Club Newsletter, Winter 2009

The Summer Newsletter 2009 and the Winter Newsletter 2009 of the ISBC (UK) both contain important information on health issues. Anyone interested may be able to order a copy via the secretary (see website).

The advice given on page 5 Vol 1 Issue 27 by the breed clubs' KC Health Liaison Representative Prof Ed Hall to vets and breeders is quoted as follows:

"1. A gastroplexy should always be performed when torsion is corrected.

2. Inflammatory bowel disease is not common in young dogs and to use steroids and other drugs with significant side-effects is inappropriate at such a time.

3. Bloat is probably inherited and whilst it may take a long time to determine the genetic problems, it makes sense not to repeat a breeding that has produced puppies with bloat.

Points 1 and 2 are things I will continue to try and educate my colleagues about, although owner pressure can have an effect too.

Point 3 is for breeders and breed societies to consider."

Further in the article (written by Lynne Dale):
Health Record:
The ISBC is keeping a record of helath problems in the breed. It is our intention over the next few years to see if we can get a good knowledge of the problems both past and present we have encountered. This information will eventually be handed to the KV Health Rep. in the hope it will be useful for future research.

Finally a request for information from people with dogs experiencing problems is given, saying that there are two sections for the storing of information: Open and Closed, the closed section being for those wanting confidentiality.

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I just feel everything has to be looked at in proportion to the number of puppies the sire/dam has produced.
The more puppies born, the greater the odds that there will be some that are not as healthy as they should be.
100 % success in all aspects of health will be impossible once numbers increase.

Susan L. - You know I keep my fingers crossed for your new puppy, and I am certain that things will work out better this time around for you! :-)
I totally agree with you Vivian.
I will still maintain that you can not exclude all dogs from breeding that have once produced bloat/epi or whatever.
It has to be looked at compared to the overall number of puppies produced by that dog.

It is not unusual to have a dog that has sired say 100 puppies. And we are still nowhere near the popular sires in numbers. So lets say 3 of those puppies have EP. That makes 3 % and still much lower than the average in dogs of all breeds. I have looked at figures shown and they are said to be around 5% - 10% in all breeds. So in a case like that you would be discarding a dog that in fact is better than average.

And no, I was not defending Dublins father being used for breeding, I am talking about the unrealistic concept of expecting a perfect result every time.
Ursula wrote
"So lets say 3 of those puppies have EP. That makes 3 % and still much lower than the average in dogs of all breeds. I have looked at figures shown and they are said to be around 5% - 10% in all breeds"

I'm curious to know where this figure came from? The two breeds I know best are IRWS and working springers (not show springers) and epilepsy is quite rare in both. I've never owned or bred a dog with epilepsy, so this figure comes as quite a shock to me!
The figures (5 - 10%) come from the swedish site for human EP where they are comparing figures in the human population to dogs.

There are tests presently run in Uppsala trying to find a DNA marker for EP (I have mentioned this before) and the breeds looked at for EP (we are off the subject of bloat here) are: Keeshound, Luzernstövare, Norrbottenspets, Giant Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Smålandsstövare, all breeds of Belgian Shephards and Jämthund.
So perhaps these breeds are way off the mark when it comes to the figures quoted.
I have no idea as to the % in each breed. Neither have I got any idea as to the % in setters.
(And perhaps the swedish site for EP in humans is way off as well when it comes to dogs...)

Speaking to the vets from Uppsala they asked me what breed I had and when I said IRS I was told this was not a breed where DNA testing in any direction was being considered.

And yes, I can agree with you in one way Susan, yet as you know that would not be the whole picture. There are hips to consider, skin, temperament and all other aspects of health (and I am not even particually fussy about looks so that would not enter too much into my risk-calculation).
Ursula, I know you are giving us a hypothetical example but actually, if my hypothetical stud dog sired 3 epi pups out of 100 pups and these pups were from different combinations then I would be extremely worried and would not consider leaving him at stud. It would mean my dog were siring a high threshold for epilepsy in different lines. Definitely something to worry about!
Exactly my point!
Indeed it is not because a dog has not been shown and therefore does not carry any title that he should be discarded from a breeding point of view! He may well bring a lot of excellent points to the breed !
I think that 100 puppies over a fairly short time is quite realistic seing that setters often have large litters.
So number 100 may very well be born before number 1 is old enough to show any signs of whatever hereditory factors we are all trying to avoid.

And yes Vivian, a winning champion-sire is going to look "better" on paper than a totally unknown stud, depending on whom you want to sell to. But I think even buyers of future "pet-only"-dogs are going to be more impressed with a Champion-father than an unknown (but nice) dog that will add something to the gene-pool.
Human nature...:-)
Well when it came to selling my puppies I found the new owners more interested in health matters than how many awards the sire or the dam of the litter had gathered in the ring or anywhere else for that matter!
"But I think even buyers of future "pet-only"-dogs are going to be more impressed with a Champion-father than an unknown (but nice) dog that will add something to the gene-pool."

I can't agree with this statement as we do sell mostly to the pet market here in Australia. Most pet owners do not understand showing and while they might like to see ribbons, etc... I think it has to do with the way we, as breeders, approach the marketing of our dogs. Do we say "the mother and father are champions" or do we say "we try to ensure that we use the healthiest dogs available to us and although the father hasn't been shown or made up to a champion, he is a good quality dog and brings good qualities to this litter?
No reply button on the ones I wanted to answer so lets hope this ends up in the correct place...

My own puppy-buyers are almost 100 % pet-owners (or people that want to work with their dogs) as I am not myself interested in shows and rather work with my dogs. But I do come in contact with a lot of pet-owners at training-clubs etc. and yes, as it is said, having bought a puppy with champion-parents does make lots of people feel as if they have got "value for their money". Even if they are never going to be seen in a show-ring themselves.

And I also think that the normal pet-buyer actually belives that there never will be anything wrong with their puppy. In fact with titles, lots of buyers feel that this is proof of a better puppy...
Hi there all again
As for what I feed mine dogs, Eva..I see that you feed chicken wings..Hope that I don't offend any one that feeds this diet, but, that is something that I would never do, I know that people have found it to be a good diet, I just can't get my head around the fact that chicken bones are going down, I have known quite a few people that have ended up down at the vet with bleeding bowel or bringing up blood from the bones scratching the dog at one end or the other. But whatever floats your boat, as the saying goes, I would never say that you should not or should feed one food or another, personally I use Royal Canin. But like Tania I do add things to it every now and then, Saffy however doesn't have much in the way of extras, she has a delicate stomach, Jas can eat anything, (and some), that is put in front of her, never has an upset stomach, well very rarely, the puppy is the same as Jas. Animals are like us, some of us can't eat certain things. they upset our stomachs, the one difference is that we just get a stomach ache, dogs can get bloat.
Every puppy that is sold should go with its own ''driving instructions'' a folder that has their likes and dislikes, what to feed and what not to feed, etc etc. plus a bag of food, I have been astonished to find out that some puppies are still being sold, for a great deal of money, I might add. Without food, without any instructions, or inoculations, and without information on potential dangers...ie Bloat. Are these people pet owners that are out for a 'quick buck' or what???
As for getting together and trying to do research on this problem........this is only my opinion I might add......I really don't think that there are that many out there that want to do the research. There was research started back in 2001 a top geneticist tried to ask for measurement, (the same as the American data), but not many people came forward to give such measurements. When you do these things the more people that give the data the better, if there aren't enough people coming forward, you can't do the calculations, with a small number, and when you think of the number of dogs that are shown at each show the results were pitiful, so do these people really want to know the answer, I know we here do, but even then how many would give their data???? the person ended up having to give it all up. And wont be volunteering again, and quite frankly I don't blame them...But it is really a missed opportunity..




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