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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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Safest choice for future of the breed is do not breed from Irish setters who bloated as long as you have no assurance from objective experts (NOT YOU!) that it does not has a genetic cause.

As for the subject of this topic. We are discussing quite some time a problem without providing all relevant information. Not healthy. We discuss thanks to openness of Dee the affected Caspians Modesty http://setters.applegrove.net/setters/search.php?Query=caspians+mod.... She has (great)(grand)sires present in most IRS showlines.

One of the sitemembers sent me meanwhile a coi percentage for the affected setter (=31), how much of Modeesty's blood is from just one stud dog Kerryfair Night Fever (42%), possible number of forebearers in ten generations (2046) and real number of forebearers (263).

Knowing that, it is in my eyes wrong to withheld buyers and breeders of Irish setters information that could provide them tools to prevend spreading this. A pedigree is certainly one of them.

Irish setter history knows stud dogs heavily used, responsible for biggest tragedies in history of the breed. Like Rheola Benedict (for the UK) and Kinvarra Kermit (USA). They did not have the wealth of information we have on dangers of raising a coi.... Apparently we learned not enough of this episode in history, neither of warnings from so many experts including our own.

Dee what is your private e-mail address? Jemina Harrison (Pedigree Dogs Exposed) asks for it. She wants to congratulate you on your openness! Her e-mail is jem@jemimaharrison.co.uk
Henk, I have tried on here to be open and above board, but what I have also done, is to keep saying that.....WE CANNOT BLAME ANY ONE DOG OR PERSON.......I didn't know that the COI for Jas was as high as that, I knew it was high but.....and the numbers of past dogs is extremely low,
I have been banging on for a long while now as to getting the COI levels lowerd compulsory, and there are some on this site that think it is OK to keep on and on doing this in/line-breeding, I think these figures should make them think again, but I doubt it, but please don't start a witch hunt for one particular dog, we don't have all the facts yet, this third pedigree will go a way to widen the search, I know that I would love to give you the third pedigree but I can't at the moment, (try looking on the ISAE web site,) I think that they will be the first to post it... My email address is on this discussion already I think, if not I will give it to you, couldn't get anything via the address that is posted....and lets face it there has got to be more than one dog here that is carrying this, (if it is a recessive gene) and I think that it goes much further back than just this one dog...so no getting at any one dog PLEASE
Dee wrote: "There are some on this site that think it is OK to keep on and on doing this in/line-breeding."

I've seen them. There is a difference between your own father having cataract or a sire siring half of Ireland...

As for witch hunt etc. Providing all relevant facts is something different. It was not for nothing a brother to sister mating, providing Rasbridge a blind bitch to start breeding in 1938 to chase a pattern.

A coi like the one of Modesty is still often called linebreeding (=inbreeding) but can be higher than that of a brother and sister. Many fanciers/breeders still do not know or understand this. One reason why full information is needed.

Another reason is -in my eyes- interests of just one owner or breeder or some is nothing compared to numbers of possible affected in a system of such close inbreeding, now practised all over most of the world.

And that is something experts have tried to tell us..... It is not just blindness, it goes for a lot + more complicated genetic stuff as well. It may again according to quite a few experts, in the end lead to complete extinction of a breed.
I am in the process of doing up a write-up COI's and their limitations but just had to reply to these recent posts.

First off, high COI's of 25% or more (brother & sister, parent & offspring) comprise only 1% of registered dogs in kennel club registies. You can't be blaming 1% of a population for all problems in breeds. If COI's were the only consideration then we would not have ANY mixed breeds with health problems because most of them have COI's of 0%.

Ch. Kinvarra Kermit had a COI of 4% and that is based on a pedigree database that goes back to Palmerston. I don't have a full pedigree for Rheloa Benedict. Ch. Kinvarra Kermit was a son of English import Ch. Kinvarra Mollie of Gadeland. A brother and sister breeding of two of her puppies produced two blind puppies. The significance of this was not realized at the time. If it had, the spread of PRA could have been nipped in the bud. Kermit was a carrier of PRA and he was used widely. He was not inbred exclusively on but was bred to many different bloodlines and the recessive that causes PRA was unknowingly spread to many different lines. Eventually carriers were unknowingly bred to carriers and blind puppies started popping up everywhere. That Kermit carried for PRA had NOTHING to do with his COI (which was low) nor because of inbreeding. It was all about him being a carrier and being used as a sire. No doubt he was not the only carrier in the US at the time. It was basically a situation just waiting to happen. And one which has been completely rectified through the efforts of breeders who pursued test-matings which eventually led to the DNA test which has virtually eliminated PRA in Irish Setters worldwide.

I am so discouraged by all this talk of low COI's and outlawing inbreeding/linebreeding. It's such a simple way of looking at a much more complex situation. Can we afford to be promoting and wholly relying on simple (and clearly inadequate) fixes when the health of our dogs are at stake? There will always be a need for keeping good records of family health histories and screening tests until DNA testing reaches a stage that will allow us to identify carriers of the most problematic genetic conditions.

I was a member of OrigCanGen list from it's inception (over 10 years now). The list is not what it was when Dr. Armstrong was alive. I know how persuasive some of the arguments can be and how easily impressed one can be by the doctoral titles and verbose vocabularies of some of the members, but it's important to keep in mind that there are NO actual geneticists on that list fielding questions and moderating the discussions. Most of it is opinion-based and rehashing quite dated preliminary surveys conducted by Dr. Armstrong. There are crackpots in any grouping and right now on that list there is someone dismissing the value of xraying hips of breeding stock. So please use your commonsense when reading from that list and the papers online that stem from that list.

I would suggest that breeders trust their instincts and their own observations and read widely. George Padgett, author of Control of Canine Genetic Diseases, strongly advocated for open health databases. Following his death many of the databases with The Institute for Genetic Control were merged into OFA (offa.org). Clearly open databases of reported diseases and DNA/phenotypic testing results are the way of the future.

A low COI does not tell you that your dog is a carrier of a recessive disease but a DNA test will, and so will his/her offspring if the problem crops up, which is how breeders have been determining carriers for decades prior to other testing methods being developed.

This discussion is about a three dogs with an apparent inherited nigh blindness. It would seem sensible to focus on identifying if there are others in the breed that are affected and making breeders aware of the pervalence and how to detect the problem. Leaping to outcrossing for the sake of lowering COI's will be a quick fix if this is a simple recessive, however outcrossing will spread the gene further afield so every line will be carrying for it. Right now it may be localized to a number of lines or dogs. At this point in time I would think that the emphasis should be on getting a good handle on the scope of the problem, the numbers involved. and collecting information. This information will be needed to determine an appropriate course of action.

Avoiding being at each other's throats over this is paramount. Conflict will only succeed in dividing people and that's the last thing anyone could possibly want with regard to this breed health concern.

No Leena, the lack of ancesters is driving up your COI. You are basing it on a little over half the ancestry. I am not missing that many ancesters. I've been adding to my database for 22 years now. I imagine I have better access to US records then you.

Kermit's father was a the result of an outcross and he was loosely linebred to Kermit's mother. But even so 8.18% is not that high. There is no known optimal COI after which problems may be "expected". Most of the inbreeding damage that is referred to comes from inbred mouse colonies in which brother and sister breedings are repeated for 20 generations or more. No one breeds dogs that way.

Wise breeders will not breed from dogs that bloat or have problematic tummy troubles. IBD is an issue in the breed as well. So are food allergies. These are reasons not to breed a dog and to look instead for breeding stock that does not exhibit these problems.

Having read through this forum and not fully understanding exactly what a COI is and it;s implications in a breeding programme I have done some research as i am keen to learn and found this link which is very interesting and which I will take time to digest and fully understand, Dee you will find this intersting. www.dogstuff.info/playing_coi_sharp.html
Have found a very useful website with many intersting articles re COI , breeding and genetics www.dogstuff.info/genetic_index.html Genetics do they matter The downside of inbreeding it's time for a new approach is interesting stuff as is www.dogstuff.info/playing_coi_sharp.html before finding this research I did not fully understand exactly what a COI was and it's implications in a breeding programme these articles have made it much clearer for me Dee you will find these interesting.
Hi Kirsty,
I provided Henk with Jas' COI. Here is a link explaining how it works.
COI's are but one piece of information but unfortunately some are looking at them as the most important factor for a breeding.

I will repeat what I just posted above: A low COI does not tell you that your dog is a carrier of a defective gene but a DNA test (if available) will, and so will his/her offspring if the problem crops up, which is how breeders have been determining carriers for decades prior to other testing methods being developed. Linebreed and inbreeding can identify carriers.

I noticed in the Sharp article (which I have read before) that finding health histories is difficult. That had not been my experience. If getting a health history is difficult then maybe one should not deal with that breeder!!

Outcrossing/lower COI's are probably the safest approach for novice breeders. But for experienced breeders who know their lines, linebreeding can be a marvellous tool to produce good quality healthy puppies. Most longtime breeders with many generations of their own breeding are hate to bring in new lines for fear of bringing in problems. But successful linebreeding programs require occassional outcrosses and so there is always that risk of bringing something new in. Most times those are desireable traits but sometimes it is health problems. This is just the nature of breeding. It's unpredictable. Mathematical calculations may work on average but someone will end up with the unpredicted results that fall to either side of the mean. Breeders can hedge their bets better with health histories and health testing and knowing their lines than any COI can predict. The genetic diversity proponents don't tell you that. No their view is that breeders are money grabbing, narcisisstic, win-at-all-cost-dog-show-crazies who combine dogs with all kinds of health problems simply to win without any care for health, structure, soundness, or temperament. I've been showing for 30 years and I know that you can't win with poorly conditioned, unhealthy looking, or temperamentally unsound dogs. Coat is a big thing in shows and unhealthy dogs just don't have good coats. So clearly if the stereotype is correct that breeders want to win at all costs then commonsense says that they would have to breed healthy dogs or they just won't win. We all know it is more complicated then that, but when you wash it all down, a good show dog has to look and act healthy. Most breeders want to produce healthy, sound dogs and because of this approximately 90% of purebred dogs live long and healthy lives. For some reason it's the 10% that don't that we only seem to hear about.

Excuse me for butting in....I started this forum to find out if there were any other dogs out there, with an eye problem. we seem to have got back to the COI argument, (I am guilty as well,) not how to tell an unwell dog by its coat etc. Thank you Leen for the calculations, we need more diversity in our gene pools, that is it...all this arguing as to who is to blame etc, NO ONE IS TO BLAME or we are all to blame, for our past breeding plans, all I know is that my dog is going blind, and there are dogs out there that are already blind, not from the same thing but the problem is still the same, the dogs cannot see. We need to concentrate on finding a way to stop this, we won't do it by arguing, we need to pull together, please....ARE THERE ANY OTHER DOGS OUT THERE THAT HAVE VISION PROBLEMS..that is all that is needed, please be honest, we need dogs to test, this will get a DNA test to help us eradicate this, please stop the mud slinging and the arguing and please don't blame any dogs, we do not know who they are yet....
Sorry Dee, you are right.




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