Exclusively Setters

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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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Henk, there is nothing "new" about it. The movement originated with Dr. Armstrong well over 10 years ago, mainly in response to Standard Poodle breeders whose genepool was dominatated by a highly inbred line. I was on Dr. Armstrong's list from the beginning so there is nothing new about it for me. Dr. Armstrong never forced his ideas but made suggestions, and he never condemned show breederes. And why should anyone? They are responsible for producing only a minority of purebred dogs. Unfortunately Dr. Armstrong passed away and did not get the opportunity to conduct the thorough research he had hoped. Now there are people using his preliminary investigations as proof positive with regard to the breeding methods used by show breeders. It was preliminary work and there are so many factors that he never got a chance to look at. Unfortunately his list has carried on with a most militant and condemning handful of people who are claiming to be promoting Dr. Armstrong's message. And we have the producer of Pedigree Dogs Exposed on that list sucking it all up for her next expose. What's wrong with careful and rational investigation into the status of the various breeds and then making some plans? What's with "one size fits all solutions" as if all breeds are in dire straits and exactly the same. Real science investigates a problem first and them discusses. Unfortunately the science has been skipped or extrapolated from extreme examples for these folk and and they went right to the discussion and recommendations. Dogs are not wild animals. They have their own unique population dynamics and they need their own model - goodness knows there are enough of them to study and develop a model unique to their needs. And yet we have a strongminded group determined to forced purebred dog populations to fit the population structure that is associated with wolves. First time I have ever seen observations from a minority population being extrapolated to a majority population. It's not like it would be hard to observe and study dogs - they are right in front of us afterall.

Nothing "new", still very new for many site-members. See relevant topics here.

Yes I know your opinion conflicted often with those of scientists in Canine Genetics. Most dogbreeders grew up with "linebreeding" as THE way to improve so not surprising. Debate on that fits better in the topic Genetics than here.

As for this topic, it shows dangers of immense narrowing of genetic diversity in Irish setters based on UK showlines. Analysis of dominating breeding systems and lineage also shows why bloat&epilepsy are described as breed specific.

In case the openness of Dee Rance on her Jas wil lead to another "wind" in the breed, like concerted efforts to regain genetic diversity (all scientists I've read are promoting this) and critical breed specific analysis on effects of inbreeding and outcrossing etc, breeds future is the winner.

And that does need scientific research on a worldwide basis.
I am a bit fed up of receiving messages that there is a new posting on the " New Eye Problem" only to find out it's all about Coi's etc. Is it not possible for you to start a new discussion on that topic & let this discussion get back to the origin theme.
My only comment on line- breeding is Humans have loads of inherited conditions & they are the results of complete outcrosses.I am not advocating very close breeding but just to use common sense.

On the eye problem what has happened to the tests done on the Sire? of the 3rd dog? Seems to me that the owners/ breeders have had plenty of time to investigate, so where is the pedigree?. Bitches are being mated possibly to suspect lines without the breeders knowing.

Wendy I am sorry this has come up under your posting, the "reply to this" was not working on Henk's

I don't know of any breeder of Irish Setters that purposely sets out to breed unhealthy animals. Period. Genes being the random things they are pop up in unexpected places. A case on point is the PRA tragedy of many years ago in the UK where breeders wiped out entire bloodlines before they knew what the mode of inheritance was. They felt that no animal or person deserves such a tragedy and set about to rebuild their bloodlines. While PRA was eradicated for the most part, there were also good things forever gone. This doesn't sound like breeder irresponsibility to me. I knew Ted Eldredge and had dogs of his breeding. I knew what he and others were going through with the test breeding and the heartbreak. We've come a long way since then and learned much. And I think Dee and others with this new eye problem and LOPRA as well are setting about the issues correctly. Learning and not overracting. Cooperation rather than divisiveness. It took many years for PRA to be intelligently bred out. It will be the same for these once we get a handle on them. Henk, all your ranting and raving and pedigree waving isn't one bit helpful. This is just what people like Jemima and her ilk thrive on. They'd rather see a hue and cry about irresponsible breeding than an intelligent path forward to healthy animals. Makes better publicity for their agendae. The ERG for the CSNB is frightfully expensive and what's the point of bearing the expense for each and every animal on the planet when a simple dark room with a red flashlight on the ceiling is a free screening tool? I might also mention that those laser pointers that so many think are great playthings for their dogs may be inadvertently blinding their animals? Sad but true. Takes but an instant for the accidental flash into an eye. This is not a joke. Ask your own eye doctor if this can happen. I've a friend who's an opthalmic nurse that agrees with me. I cringe everytime I see someone post about how much fun they have with their dogs following the red dot. How quickly can your animal twist and jump up on you and have his eye damaged? Hmmmm??? So, Henk and others, let's be a bit more tolerant of breeders and help find a solution and not be part of the problem. We have the UK Irish Setter Association on track with this and the ISCA is publishing information in the Memo to Members. Steps forward. Baby steps surely but still a path forward.

Donna Seigart
Woodglen Irish Setters in Northern California USA
So eloquently said Donna
well said donna,
all that is been asked is for people to take notice of their dogs vision and if they think they have a problem go and see their vets.we who have dogs that are affected either with lopra or the new problem thats facing dees jas are not blaming any breeder or dogs.we just want people to be aware there are these problems out there and with the cooperation of all red setter owners we may well stop it becoming widespread in our beautiful dogs.
I don't know of any breeder of Irish Setters that purposely sets out to breed unhealthy animals.
I don't wish to be rude, but are you serious? Have you led a sheltered life, or have you been wearing blinkers? Let me qualify that statement. Whilst I agree with you to a point, I also violently disagree with your statement.
Anyone can breed a litter that is affected by a dreadful illness, possibly inherited, it is how they then deal with this that matters. As we know, it is possible to unwittingly breed an affected litter through lack of knowledge, thinking that we are doing all the right things at the time, only to later discover to our horror that we have bred a litter of unhealthy dogs. Not all breeders are willing to be honest about the problems behind their bitch or their stud dog. The responsible amongst us will do the right thing and not breed from those affected lines again.

However, there are those, who armed with the knowledge that they have produced an unhealthy litter, will, using the ostrich technique, bury their head in the sand and continue breeding from the affected lines, knowing full well that in doing so they are perpetuating the problems they have already produced. In short, people like this do not care about the breed they are breeding, be it Irish Setters or anything else. They have no scruples, or morals and certainly don't give a damn about the suffering they may inflict on the dogs they breed, or their unsuspecting owners.

Unfortunately, in whichever breed you own, there will be breeders like this. Please do not perpetuate the myth that ALL breeders strive to produce fine healthy litters, for sadly they don't. I wish they did. Yes we need healthy dogs in order to win in the show ring, but those with the problems often never make it to the show ring, so are unheard of, or swept under the carpet, never to be spoken of, or re-homed with an unsuspecting pet home, or put to sleep. Breeders such as this, in my opinion, have no business being in the dog world, for they are not dog lovers, just dog owners, more's the pity for the dogs. If everyone was totally honest about the problems they encountered with their dogs, then breeders would be able to breed litters fully armed with the health information that they needed, in order to avoid any catastrophes, but as we all know, at the moment, life in the dog world just isn't like that. So whilst most of us are honest and above board and are breeding for the 'right' reasons, let's get real and acknowledge that not everyone is the same. There are those out there, who don't give a damn and WILL knowingly breed from unhealthy dogs.

Usually at any seminar arranged to educate and enlighten breed members about whichever problem has arisen within the breed, the delegates are often as not, the usual select group. Those that really need to know the information, are normally those who would never dream of attending. Sadly there are also those who although interested in whatever the subject, would not attend for fear of being labelled as having a dog with that particular condition. As an example, I once attended a seminar on Epilepsy many years ago, long before I actually had owned an Epileptic dog. When I met someone who I knew at the seminar, they greeted me by saying they didn't realise that I had an Epileptic dog. Their thinking, was that as I was attending a seminar on Epilepsy, then, I MUST by default have an Epileptic dog!

This brings me back to the need for education and for everyone to be open and honest about any health problems. Just remember that years ago, no one spoke about cancer, it was hushed up. Look how far we have come and the strides we have made, since people began to speak openly about this dreadful disease. We need to adopt the same stance and attitude to the health problems that affect our breed. But sadly, despite education and the majority of people being open and honest, there will still be unscrupulous breeders who continue to knowingly breed from unhealthy dogs until they are forced to stop, by the development of DNA tests and KC ruling that they do so. Whilst we debate the ethics of this here, good as it may be for all of us to air our views, I do feel that to some extent we are only talking to the converted and to a very large extent we are diversifying widely from Dee's original request.
Very well said, Michelle. I know how hard it is to educate people unwilling to be educated. Maybe impossible? Certainly frustrating.
I couldn't agree more!!!!
Very vise words Michelle!

I fully agree with you!
Thanks to you Kristina & Susan, it's heartening to know that I am not the only one who thibks like this.
Oh how I wish I'd lead a sheltered life. Blinders...well they do help one focus on what's important now don't they? Don't they have you keep looking forward? Yes, they most certainly do. And that's what we must do to help our fellow breeders focus on breeding healthy dogs and eliminating as many of the hazards as we can. And no, my glasses are not rose-colored either. I've been in this breed since 1974, and seen a lot and learned more. There's no time for petty wallowing in the past and carping on about slights and perceived snarkiness. It's not about the human personality traits, it's about the dogs and their welfare. I know many breeders with broken hearts who had bred litters with great promise but got devastating health issues, lost litters, health concerns not even known about until they began sharing information. One had epilepsy crop up so she admitted the problem, began another line of breeding that's quite successful. The breeder that bred my lovely boy that bloated at a young age? Well, that's the last litter he ever bred he was so devastated with all the issues that manifested. I also know a few with a more personal agenda but you know, they ultimately get found out and go by the wayside, as they should. And now, good nite all.

Donna Seigart
Woodglen Irish Setters in Northern California USA




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