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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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More importantly, blinkers stop you seeing what is all around you. Worn on horses, they are there to cut out the crap and only enable the horse to see what is in front of it. Hence the term.'a blinkered view', meaning you are not seeing everything you should. In canine health terms it is IMPERITIVE that we do NOT wear blinkers, but that we DO see everything that is all around us. And more importantly still, act upon it.

I know in the US that Breed Clubs are very strict about enforcing their code of ethics. Here in the UK, the clubs have codes of ethics, but rarely seem to act on them, pleading that it is legally very difficult to do so. They may well be correct, I am not a legal expert, but in the mean time yet more dogs suffer at the hands of irresponsible breeders and I have to wonder what is the point of having a code of ethics if it is never enforced.

Donna, the people you describe in your post, are what I would refer to as responsible breeders, when faced with a problem they have done something about it. Those you refer to with a more personal agenda, who you say are ultimately found out, generally are known over here as well, trouble is, nothing is done to stop them breeding and by the law of averages, most puppies will go into unsuspecting pet homes.

It is hard enough to cope with some of these dreadful problems when you are an experienced dog person, just think how much worse it must be for those who have acquired their first dog. I knew someone who had the unfortunate experience of owning a bloating epileptic, who they then had to put to sleep. They were given no support or guidance from the breeder, in fact the breeder denied any problems, yet it was common knowledge within the breed that these problems were behind those lines. This heartbreaking experience was the first experience that friend had of owning an Irish Setter and now as far as she is concerned it will be the last. In her mind, rightly, or wrongly, all Irish Setter breeders will be forever tarred with the same brush. Because there are those who are not honest and open about the problems they encounter, the public perception it creates, is that all breeders are only in it for the money, they are not interested in the welfare and well being of the dogs they are breeding. In short, the public regard them as no more than Puppy Farmers. If ALL breeders were open and honest then it would command respect from the dog loving public. Instead we have this situation of mistrust. The public perceive the dog breeders to be shysters and there are many in the dog world who are only too keen to perform a witch hunt whenever any problem rears it's ugly head and are quick to point the finger and lay the blame.............just so long as it is as far away from their own breeding lines as possible!
Michelle, you refer to a breeder who denied having bloat and epilepsy in their lines when it was common knowledge that the lines contained these problems.I would say that there is not such a thing as common knowledge in the show scene in Britain.The only way it seems to me to aquire this knowledge is to keep one,s ears to the ground and to have a wide circle of doggy friends,where perhaps you can pick up some info,which is gained from gossip, if the problems are not in your line. I am not sure you could disbelieve the breeder in question.

When knowledge is known by a wide circle of people it is common knowledge.

The problems I referred to were fact, not gossip, I don't do that and never have. I only talk in facts. If I'm not sure then I don't speak! The person who was unfortunate enouigh to have the affected dog was not in the show world and therefore would not be aware of what was going on. Sadly for them, they found out the hard way who to avoid in future, but in their case, it soured their view of Irish Setter breeders as a whole. I am not making inuendoes here, or trying to cause trouble. I am merely stating the facts.
But it is still only common knowledge to the components of "that wide circle" not to everybody!!!!
Your point is noted, of course it does depend on the size of the circle, but in the case I mentioned the circle in question was extremely wide!! Having said that, whatever the subject, there will always be those in the know and those on the edges who don't.
Colette, I don't know how it is in the UK as I am in Canada. I just bought a puppy with very different lines from which I am familiar. I made contact with the breeders of the sire and the dam of the puppy and found them to be quite open and upfront about the pedigree - most pedigrees within the breed contain the same issues that are known to occur in the breed. What I was interested in was recent occurrences of problems. Knowledge of issues back along a pedigree is good to know from a potential problem perspective, but if selected away from or if by pure chance the problems were not passed on they may be of no issue at all. It's what the two parents pass on from their kin that matters. And so it was helpful for me to speak to these breeders who bred several generations of the pedigree. I will admit there was a time that I would not have had the nerve to ask. But now I am upfront, although somewhat apologetic, when I inquire, mentioning the problems I have encountered and that I need to know about these things. One of the breeders said to me "what kind of breeder would you be if you didn't ask?". I find when you approach a person by bringing up the issues you have encountered, the person will respond in kind. You've shared your experience and it is an invitation for that person to share their experience with you. Not all breeders will be forthcoming. If you get a sense that information is being withheld or the person glosses it over saying they have never had an issue, you might want to rethink breeding into their line of dogs. I have also heard the opposite from a breeder recently on Setters-UL who commented that it "slays" her that people breed from her lines but never contact her to find out the family history. Clearly breeders are willing to share their knowledge of the dogs they bred within a pedigree. Perhaps this is not common practise in the UK. It was not always the case over here either, but you will never know if you don't ask. And you might be surprised what you may find out. Then the question is, what do you do with this information? I don't mean that you spread it around. I mean do you get frightened away or do you take the realistic perspective that no dogs are perfect and look at ways to improve or work with that dog from that line? I know some people are suspicious of breeders who are testing, as if that is some indication of a problem. It could be (or used to be), but isn't it better knowing a breeder is aware and trying to do something about the issue rather than blithely ignoring it, or not checking for it? Health clearances in a pedigree are a clear indicator that the dogs were not affected by any of the problems that were tested for. Unless DNA tests are involved there is a possibility that a dog could be an unaffected carrier of a problem, but the fact that so many in the pedigree had hips xrayed clear, and eyes, xrayed clear, or blood-tested thyroid normal, etc. is hedging one's bet that the offspring may be clear of these problems too. There are exceptions, of course, since there are no conclusive DNA tests for these problems and these conditions may be polygenetic, but health clearances and family histories can go a long way in helping a breeder know of and avoid potential issues in puppies. Sharing family histories can and likely will become common place in time, hopefully. We have no issues sharing our own family histories with doctors and medical personnel put a great deal of emphasis on family history when making diagnoses. It shouldn't be any different sharing the health histories of our dogs. Does anyone blame the parents or ancesters for the genetic condition in a child? Then why are we blaming dogs and breeders for genetic disorders that often are not under anyone's control? Didn't mean to go off on a tangent like this. Bottom line: Ask about the health history, if you can ask other puppy buyers about their dogs, rationally evaluate what you are told, and then go with your gut instinct.

hi dee,
just an update on layla whom ive talked about on this blog, who was diagnosed with lopra 2and 1/2 years ago.
ive taken her for her eye examination this afternoon and its been confirmed what i already knew.my beautiful dog is totally blind due to this horrible horrible disease.she is not five while next month.im devastated to say the least in just 2 and 1/2 years her sight has gone. irish setter owners please please have your dogs eyes tested .the sooner a dna can be done for lopra the sooner it will be eradicated from the breed. laylas adapted fantastically well and you would not know if you saw her she was blind but i would not wish what im going through on anyone (its more tears again today just like when she was first diagnosed)
Late onset PRA (LOPRA) might become a big problem in Irish setters. This became clear yesterday in a meeting organized by the Dutch Irish setter club.

After a lecture of professor Stades on eye problems, a case of blindness of the stud dog Bradley was reported by a visiting breeder. This means both parents were carriers, she said.

Lines involved spread through the population. These are roughly the same lines of descent as most leading UK lineage in the world.

More owners of blind Irish setters were present. There is confusion over early onset and late onset PRA, became clear.

I suggested to forbid any breeding before the age LOPRA can show up that is 2-5 years was. This got some support, others pointed at rules of the Dutch Kennel Club: maximum age for breeding a first litter is five years.

Professor Stades threw light on all kinds of eye problems, of which LOPRA is one in three, others being PRA and stationary night blindness.

There are more problems, like ectropion and hairs going through the eyes. Some breeds like American cocker spaniels score a percentage of seventy with last problems.

Stades pointed at phrases in breed standards for the Irish red setter and Irish red and white setter which might provide problems with hairs, raised eyebrows in IRS and slight prominence for the eyes in IRWS.

The professor advised intensive research on the blindness-cases.

More people involved and visiting the meeting on eye-problems are on this website and may provide more information on this subject.
Thank you Henk for the information that you have put here, though if you talk to at least one person on this site you will find that LOPRA can start as early as 18 months of age, (I think that this is correct, but it is something like this, very early) but this is the exception rather than the norm...My bitch is now deteriorating as far as her eyes are concerned, she seems to be almost blind now, her day vision is deteriorating fast, I was supposed to take her for a third testing via the ERG machine early last year, (last time I went she had deteriorated about 10% down on the first readings) but things overtook me, and she took a long time to recover from the anaesthetic that she had the year before, so am actually loathed to let her have this done again, but will have to do so I feel, because of the breed, though I don't want to loose my girl, just for scientific research, we will see.
I am thrilled that the Dutch ISC is taking enough trouble to take this problem on board. Personally I feel that there are many dogs out there that have this problem, but, because the dogs are older when this is detected properly, it is just put down to old age, and this is why we have only started hearing about it now.
All power to the Dutch ISC and if they or you want to know about what has been seen in our, very small selection of dogs, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me, and if I can help I definitely will.
Thanks again Henk for your report, I wish that I could have been there.
hi henk and dee thanks for the information henk its very intresting to read and dee thanks for replying to henks letter and for both of you bringing it to the forefront once again.
the last hour and half ive been reading a page on the gorden setters website regarding pra and how its on the increase in that breed.a wendy smith has wrote on there as her dog has it and ive joined their gorden setter ning website to write to her.she has done a lot of research ect and the reading is very interesting but one thing im a bit unsure of is where they get pra as an old dogs condition.
as you know dee layla was diagnosed when she was 2 and half and the professor said shed probably had it for some twelve months previous .it also says they have problems at night layla never ever had problems with going out at night ( this i wonder if it was due to her having it from an early age? and shed got used to where we took her ) the only thing that layla did on a night different from any of our other setters weve had in the past was to be very vocal she wouldnt let us watch tv or anything she just wanted all the attention and she made sure she got it.
as you also know dee and this is for the benefit of other es members pra was diagnosed after layla became disoriented when she was stopping at my daughters home for a few days while we went away we never dreamt she had a problem with her eyes .looking at her she had normal eyes then.(they are illuminous green now)
then theres the dna ing there are two or three different forms of pra and the rcd 1 that setters are dna for layla is clear i have certificate saying that (and her offspring will be clear) we know shes never gonna have any offspring
as i said in my previous post the only way to help the breed and to try and eradicate such diseases is by owners having their dogs eyes tested by opthamologists from an early age
hope this topic can keep coming back to front pages as problem is definatley not going to go away that easy
Hi there Lyn
It was your lovely Layla that I referred to as starting the problem at about 18 months of age. I wondered if you would come back to this one, thanks..and I agree with you, and would reiterate what you have said about the fact that you didn't notice anything wrong with Layla until she went to stay with your daughter, also if you look at Jas's eyes there is no sign of anything in her eyes to be seen, unless it is looked at under the ERG machine, and there still isn't anything wrong with them when looked at by the ophthalmology equipment in the dark room, that you get at shows. And because of the DNA we have eradicated the rcd-1 PRA its only LOPRA and whatever it is that Jas and the others have, that is now needing a DNA test, and it seems that there are cases of it around the world, LOPRA that is, we need to be honest about these things, sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the problem is criminal, and if it is like rcd-1 then it is a recessive gene and it will be fairly easy to eradicate, once the gene has been found.
Your reactions and a link are send by e-mail to the chairman, editor clubmagazine and coordinator health committee of the Irish Setter Club of the Netherlands. Hopefully it contributes towards eradication of the condition.

A high risk of not observing the condition or not properly diagnosing and possible breeding subsequently inbreeding to those affected underlines a need for openness. Sad to hear the blind studdog was reported four years ago, no actions taken a the time.




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