Testing Dachshund Health PDF Print E-mail

The Dachshund Club of America is now participating in the OFA's CHIC program!

To learn more about CHIC, please click on the CHIC logo.
All Dachshunds used for breeding or bred at Ruger who stay here will be part of the CHIC program. All results will be released for public information, including any abnormal results, both with individual registries and on this web page.

View Health Clearances on dogs used for breeding or breeding prospects we own or co-own

This is my personal take on health testing. It's very brief and certainly not the only opinion out there. If you are interested, do a little research. It's amazing the information and opinions you can find. Then, you can formulate your own opinion. I am always learning and growing. My opinions tend to evolve as I go through this process. I guess what I am trying to say is that this is my opinion, but it doesn't mean I look down on people who don't share it. There is room in this world for a little of everything; hopefully more good than bad.

Many, many good people in Dachshunds do not think that this breed, beyond IVDD (disc disease), has any major health problems and they do not test their breeding stock for much, if anything. I wonder how we really know if Dachshunds do not have widespread health problems unless we test breeding stock over several generations and make that data available to other breeders via a database?? Many diseases do not show themselves until later in life and some problems, such as patellar luxation, are not always obvious to even a trained eye. Additionally, it is thought that some diseases like epilepsy and IVDD are "polygenetic recessives" that are also aggravated by environment; things like diet, stress, weight management and even nail length in the case of IVDD! A polygenetic recessive is one who needs many genes to line up, perhaps even in sequence. For example, say that in order to be affected with epilepsy, a dog must have genes denoted by letters "ABCDEFGH". If the dog's sire is carrying genes "ABGH" and the dog's dam is carrying "CDEF" and they line up just right, that particular dog would have epilepsy. If the dam had only the genes denoted by "CD", the parents are carriers, but not of the complete gene sequence, so none of their offspring are affected. However, those offspring can also carry the genes for epilepsy...all it takes is for the 'right' series of genes to match up. It is very complex and that is why diseases that are polygenetic recessives seem to hop around all over the place and can't be easily traced.

This habit of not testing and/or not disclosing affecteds also concerns me from a standpoint of linebreeding or inbreeding, both of which are common practice among breeders and not necessarily cause for concern as most pet buyers are led to believe. I personally think linebreeding is a good idea from a consistency standpoint. However, those practices, coupled with heavy use in a particular size and variety of the same stud dog, could have dire consequences if the stud dog is an affected for or a carrier of an inheritable disease, especially those that are thought to be simple recessives. Of course, outcrosses can be as much as a problem as linebreeding or inbreeding if both parents have the 'right' genes.

I am not saying that a breeder who does not test their breeding stock is a bad breeder. On the contrary, they may well have very reasonable, logical explanations for not testing for a particular condition. I certainly do not have all the answers and my opinions about testing may very well be off the mark. I try to keep my mind open to learning and I have learned to never say never. However, that said, for the general pet buying public I truly believe that which can help set reputable breeders apart from backyard breeders and puppy millers is testing of breeding animals for basic inheritable disease.

If you are considering buying a pup from a breeder, ask them what they test for and why or why not. Any breeder worth his or her salt will be willing to discuss this topic. However, beware the breeder who says that "xxx" is "not a problem" in Dachshunds. Don't just take their word for it....do your own research. Your family and your new puppy will benefit from the time you spend researching the breed and possible issues.

There are many conditions with which Dachshunds can be afflicted. The major ones, in my opinon, are IVDD, PRA, Patellar Luxation, Thyroid issues and Epilepsy. There are currently no tests available to identify carriers in Dachshunds for any of these diseases except for cord1 PRA in miniature longs. PRA and Patellar Luxation are thought to be simple recessives, while IVDD and Epilepsy are thought to be polygentic recessives with an environmental component.

As of early 2005, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in England has developed a DNA test for the cord1 gene, which seems to cause PRA in some miniature longs and not in others. http://www.aht.org.uk/clinics_small_dogs_prog.html This test is able to denote whether or not dogs are clear for the cord1 gene or if they have two copies of the cord1 gene or if they are simply carriers. While we are finding that the test needs some tweaking, I am very encouraged by the honesty regarding results from some very major miniature long breeders in this country and worldwide. We have long needed this openess regrading results in Dachshunds. I believe that it will usher in a new era that can only improve the health of our beloved breed. Hopefully, from this test will come one that is a bit more accurate in terms of clinically affected Dachshunds and one for all sizes and coats of Dachshunds. Its cost is currently about $120 US dollars.

Through accurate DNA tests for hereditary diseases, we will be able to eventually eliminate the diseases in tested dogs without sacrificing critical bloodlines. Even affected dogs can be bred without producing affected puppies.

Please read the following article before you make a judgement on the previous sentence!

Don't Throw the Baby Out With The Bathwater
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 18:47