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I have been trying to think of a way to post this...I have been banging on, on this site, about breeders and owners, 'putting their hands up' to a ''new problem'' or even a problem that has been around for a while. So I am putting my ''hands up''
Some people will have see the Blog placed by Carol Gill (thank you Carol for posting this) called ''Crufts 2009'' in this blog it states that there is a leaflet supplied by ISAE with reference to a 'new eye problem' in Irish setters. It does not say which lines, or who own the dogs, this problem has been found in..Carol asked me if I knew!! (all three people involved have stated that ''If asked we would not lie'' we would say who we were).
I have one of the 3 ''affected'' dogs, 3 doesn't sound much but when you think that only 7dogs have been tested then this number is quite high.
The dogs have what we think is akin to or is CSNB (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness) which is found in Breards only, at the moment, THIS IS NOT PRA.
The dogs in question have the problem in varying degrees Jas being the worst one affected, she is clinically blind at night.
People have already said that they feel that this comes down a particular line, and named the dog...
PLEASE LETS NOT START SLINGING MUD AT DIFFERENT DOGS, OR ABOUT DIFFERENT BREEDERS. although my bitch and her sister (the other affected bitch) do have many famous dogs, in there lines the THIRD dog has a very different male line, so NO MUD SLINGING PLEASE I am putting this on this site, to get a conversation going, and to see if there are people who have noticed a problem, which I have to say is VERY difficult to see, I have heard of people with totally blind animals that didn't know their dogs were blind, if it happens slowly the dogs adapt to their surroundings, and these, affected dogs, CAN see during the day...
I must reiterate that a breeder CAN NOT legislate against something that they do not know about, and this comes from very diverse lines. If you feel that your dog has any kind of vision problem please ask, where ever you are, this could be a very widespread problem.
Lets now discuss this and see if we can get to the bottom of it ASAP....lets not let it linger and spread through this lovely breed, it isn't PRA, or something painful like Bloat, but it must be very distressing for the animal and I know that it is distressing for the owner involved. We all love this breed or we wouldn't be on this site, and this site is so good to ''get the word out'' and lets see if you can get this eradicated.

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There are always going to be defective genes within breed populations. Selection can only do so much but future DNA tests will enable breeders in the future to 100% avoid genetic diseases (for the conditions for which DNA tests are developed). Having said all that I don't think that the above figures are bad at all. A 48 % response rate is not bad. In general survey response rates tend to be very low regardless of what the survey is about. And for those conditions for which only one affected was reported that is a 1% rate which is very very low. The epilepsy numbers correspond to a 8% rate and the bloat a 5% rate and considering that these are both well known breed specific problems in Irish Setters these are not bad percentages at all, in fact are quite low. I had epilepsy in my early dogs and I am ever so hopeful for a DNA test for epilepsy. It will be wonderful to be able to avoid this horrid problem.

Someone mentioned about breeders refusing to have their dogs measured for bloat. That was done in the US and nothing came of the findings. Bloat has increased dramatically with the introduction of kibble and I think there is a lot in to realize in that finding. Management plays a key role (I feel) in bloat. I have had only one case of bloat (knock on wood) in 30 years (in 1981) despite owning many Irish Setters throughout that period including dogs with bloat in the pedigree and having first degree relatives that bloated. I've used only a few brands of kibble over the years (always free-fed) but they all had the same thing in common: when I soaked the food in water it did not swell enormously. Some kibbles swell excessively, one of the worst I found was a well known brand that called the food "flakes". Those tiny flakes swelled a zillion times their size. The kibbles I feed can even go through the washer from the dog's blankets and does not swell enormously. I also avoid soy in the list of ingredients.

dogfood in the form of pellets that you buy in bags.
It was me that mentioned 'measurement' and it was NOT done in the US, it was done here in the UK and I would dispute the fact that bloat is a management problem, I lost all my lines with this dreadful problem...I mated a perfectly healthy dog to another perfectly healthy bitch, and they then after puppies were produced bloated. and EVERY SINGLE PUPPY died of bloat except one and he was run over by a drunk driver. You can't tell me that nine people have ALL produced 'bad management' in their dogs health. It is genetic....and Kibble had nothing to do with it they were all fed on meat and biscuits, Kibble was not in such high use when this happened. I have always exercised after leaving at least 2 hours before and after feeding. I never leave dogs alone, for more than two hours and you can't tell me that bad management comes in when a dog bloats in the early hours of the morning...sorry but this has left me a little bit miffed......
What are biscuits? And were they meal fed or free-fed? I did not mean that people managed their dogs wrongly, more pointing a finger at kibble as being the culprit. I hear less of bloat these days and I think it is because there are better quality dog foods around these days than 20 years ago (and maybe because people are not breeding bloat rcoverees as much? One can only hope). I am sure the air expanded kibble I was feeding the one Irish Setter I had that bloated was the reason why that dog bloated, that and the fact the dog tended to a lot of tummy problems. I didn't mean that the mesurement study was not done in the UK, but there have been various measurement studies done in the US on various breeds including Irish Setters. My posting was not meant to upset people or make anyone feel they caused their dog to bloat. That never occurred to me at all when I was writing my comment. I just find it interesting in his 40 years of breeding, Ted Eldredge had only one case of bloat in his own dogs. He fed Kenl Ration Biscuit with meat in two meals a day and Ken' Ration biscuit was also available all day (free fed). Eithers with dogs from him did bloat apparently. So management or if you prefer feeding practise is the first thing that comes to my mind.

I agree Ginnadi
The basic body shape of the dog, and the disposition, ie a more nervous dog is much more likely to produce bloat, Stress is another 'trigger' but management re feeding isn't, (unless people are feeding and then straight away taking for long walks, this is enough to kill any dog, one meal and then heavy exercise.) and anyone that has not had it in their lines or has not seen it, is a very lucky person..
We have a chance here on this site to do some good for the breed, we need to all pull together to do good, these dogs can't do it for themselves. They don't have an option of who to mate with, we decide that, we decide every thing they do or think. (Within reason.) In the wild, they wouldn't interbreed, the only animals that are aloud to mate are the Alfa dog and bitch, anything else that breeds is dealt with by these two animals. Left to their own devices there would be little in-breeding. We should be much more careful as to what we do, I have said before that in-breeding has it's place but not every mating, and I am not pointing the finger at any one person, it is a collective we.
I don't think I am just lucky, I think I have happened upon a feeding practise that works. I have an 11 year old that has never had an incident of bloat (knock on wood). The dog can eat anything, she has a cast iron stomach. I have never restricted food (she is free-fed), water, or exercise. Her father died from bloat and her full sister died just this week from torsion (owned by someone else). The possibility is definitely there. None of this dog's puppies have bloated (knock on wood) and they are all 7 1/2 years old now. There is a lot of bloat in the pedigree. If it is a genetic problem, it sure isn't a clear cut one. The only thing I know is that over a 30 year period I have tended to use the same kibble for years and years. When I have to make a food change because the other kibble is not available, I make sure there is no soy in the ingredients and I soak a few pieces overnight to see how much they swell. I only feed kibbles that do not swell up when soaked. I do not use the kibbles preserved in citric acid because the bloat study indicated they should not be fed soaked, but what happens in the stomach? The food gets wet, so I only use kibbles preserved with Vitamin C. This has worked for me for 30 years. I don't think it is pure luck, if it is I should be fortunate with lottery tickets, and I am most definitely not.

If Bloat is a genetic problem, and it is a recessive gene, to get affected animals you need two carriers or affected to pass on the gene, and when the puppies are borne only 1/3 will be carriers 1/3 will be carriers +affected, and there will be 1/3 that are totally clear, (this is a simplistic view of genetics) perhaps if your bitch's ancestors are carrying the genes then your bitch may well be the 1/3 clear. So again I would, if I had one that hadn't bloated with its farther having bloated, be counting myself as lucky.
Wilco I have said many times on this forum...NO BLAME TO ANY DOG OR PERSON, and I stick by that. We are not hear for a witch hunt, I hope that we are here to eradicate problems, not point fingers, and lets face it, that particular dog is behind most of the Irish setters in existence, but it is probably much closer to home, and ''it takes two to tango''.....if recessive..
Yes we need more dogs to come forward with problems, because as you quite rightly say we can't say that there is a problem with just a couple of pedigrees. I think that I have said it before....we need 12 affected dogs and 12 unaffected dogs, before the AHT can do genetic profiling, but that is all that is needed 24 dogs...and with the dogs already tested we are 25% of the way there...I think that it may be difficult to get the others, because it is very difficult to notice that a dog has lost or is loosing its vision...but at this moment in time there are a few more dogs waiting to be tested..but they have not shown any problem, (this was the case with at least one of the dogs that came up with a positive diagnosis, her owner had seen, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH HER, but her vision is 45% down in one eye and 55% down in the other, again, please be observant.
I've owned over 20 Irish Setters in the past 30 years and had one bloat. they came from widely different pedigrees and all had some bloat in the pedigree, lots of Indeed who bloated, and lots of Vindicator who bloated. I really doubt that bloat will come down to being caused by a single recessive gene. The measurement studies over here found a significant effect when the chest width and depth ration was large, they also noted the significant eefct of having a first degree relative that bloated. The problem is ruling out management practices. Puppy buyers tend to follow the advice of the breeder, so they all could unknowingly be doing things that may contribute to bloat, like feeding the same food, etc. I find the fact that Ted Eldredge had only one case of bloat in all those years of breeding and yet puppy buyers had dogs bloat quite illuminating. It points to management. I have followed the feeding routine that Ted Eldredge (Tirvelda) used with his dogs. It worked for him and knock on wood it has worked for me. He bred into many many different lines. The liklihood of escaping the genes is just too high, I am convinced that bloat had more to do with the food fed and how (common practises within related dogs) than a genetic propensity. But regardless whether I am right or wrong, I will keep on doing what I have been doing, because it has worked great for me and my dogs over the years.

Dear Dee,

I applaud you for being open an honest about this problem.....it is definitely the right way and the ONLY way forward for whichever health problem we are trying to eradicate. As you may remember, I sent an article to the ISBC Newsletter a while ago, about the problems I had faced with Bloat & Gastric Torsion and Epilepsy. I had a large response to this and mainly the response was positive, either people were congratulating me for being open and honest, or they were quite happy to share their own experiences of these dreadful diseases. However, there was a small group who tried very hard to get me to apportion blame, which I refused to do and also those who were extremely nasty, telling me that I must be a gift to my vet and that perhaps I would be better getting a lap dog!

Some of the latter were people who had been at this game for many years and from whom I would have expected better. It was a real eye opener. I find it very sad that there are those, who no matter what you do health wise, don't want to know. For them it doesn't matter that if we persist down this road, then the Irish Setter as we know it now, will not exist in years to come. To me they are NOT dog lovers, they just own them, more's the pity for the dogs! Luckily, I truly believe that the majority of people in our breed are NOT like this, but do genuinely want to do all they can to benefit the breed.

Someone once said to me that if those who bred the affected dogs had to witness the distress and suffering, they wouldn't be so willing to ignore the problems and put their heads in the sand. Unfortunately, they wouldn't be in that position, as they wouldn't keep the animals, for at the first sign of a problem, they are either re-homed or put to sleep, often unnecessarily so; if they can't be bred from and they can't be shown, then they have to go!! We have proven as a breed, that if we have the impetus to do so, then we can gather the necessary funding and conquer the problem, CLAD being a prime example of this. History points to the fact that we can eradicate our health problems, so I sincerely hope that we can and will, do so again with whatever health problems we encounter, now or in the future.

I sincerely wish you well with this quest and will follow this discussion with genuine interest.
Best wishes,
Michelle wrote: >Some of the latter were people who had been at this game for many years and from whom I would have expected better. It was a real eye opener>
Keep your eyes open, they are here as well and VERY INFLUENTIAL ....
Henk I have been with you on the subject of COI before, when I wrote what I did on that subject, I knew all about the problem that my bitch and her sister had, BUT I had my hands tied then and still to an extent have my hands tied now, I can give out my bitches pedigree, you for one, know it very well, and we have discussed it before, (for a high COI.)
I think, I am correct in saying, that the leaflet that was posted by ISAE has gone to your KC in the Netherlands, (so hope they will pick up on it as well) As for putting out the third pedigree, I cannot do that at the moment, out of respect for the third breeder, (the sire's owner breeder, of the other dog concerned). She is, I think having her stud dog tested, (if this is a recessive gene, then he will at best be a carrier, hopefully not affected for his sake) I have said before that as soon as I can post it, I will...
As I have said anyone can get my girls pedigree...but please don't think that it is a Caspians problem, it isn't, when the third pedigree comes out, it will show that it is a much wider problem....so don't look at pedigrees and say ''it hasn't got any Caspians in it so we must be clear'' it isn't like that, and we DO NOT want a witch hunt, for anyone or any thing, ie any particular dog, or breeder. it is much wider than that....
Michelle, please don't get me on the subject of Bloat, you will see that my daughter started doing research into bloat, but there were too few people that were prepared to have their dogs measurements taken. She wanted to do this, because it was OUR breed (when she was young) and I had lost all my lines with it, I think that this is why I am going all out to get this eye problem soughed out.
As for the influential people in the breed, I can't say....I too think that it is 'bad form' to get rid of dogs that, have a problem, or just can't be bred from again. When an animal comes to me and stays for more than 6 months then (generally) it stays, I have had to send my large animals ie ponies and llamas to a rescue centre, because I couldn't cope with them any more, for health reasons, and for their health they needed someone who could. But my dogs are hear to stay, I hope nothing will ever make me get ''rid'' of them, in the past they have been with me through, divorce, cancer and about four house moves, (houses to accommodate the dogs)
Economics must be part of the problem as to a) getting rid of a problem and b) keep breeding a problem. If say your stud dog has something behind it, it takes a very good person to tell all that is behind their dog, and the same goes for the bitch owner, do people stop breeding from these animals, sometimes NO, sometimes people do the correct thing, and stop breeding from them. People have got to look into their own hearts to say if they are doing THE RITE THING....
And Henk I am with you, 100%, and your KC, as to the restricting of the COI, I think that it should become compulsory everywhere, and so should restriction on the number of litters a dog should produce in any one KC...
Well said, Dee!




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