This is a translated re-blog that was in Norwegian. Thank you so much Tonje for translating for meg (Tonje owns Strider and Shy)
Kelpies and Disease
The statistics are in general good when it comes to the most tested ailments: HD&AD. There is a low percentage that gets any remarks, and an even lower% that actually get problems with their remark. PL does appear here and there, to a more or less serious degree, but fortunately most with diagnosed PL have it to a lesser extent. These are things which I believe should be checked on all dogs used for breeding (I get PL checked by chiropractor and therefore not official result).
Backs have come into focus, especially after Finland got a good system fro registering that. There are many with remarks, but also in this case with varying degrees of severity. In general I believe that all breeding dogs and dogs that are being used actively, should Xray their backs simply to get an understanding of the physical start point for these dogs. So far I have owned/bred dogs that have had fusion between vertebrae in the pelvis, had a vertebrae missing compared to the normal and others again with LTV4. They don’t necessarily struggle with skeletal problems, but the muscles around the defects come under extra load. The breed is active, the breed really uses their body – so a breeding dog should not start out with any defects in the back, unless in such a mild degree that it would never ever give symptoms or problems. The hereditary pattern is unknown, and of course later back problems kan be due to use, accidents, lack of warming up +++
All the above are things that dogs rarely die from, and can be treated, given pain medication and adapted training. There are not many dogs that die from these ailments (but of course, some one here and there may be extremely unlucky).
And then we have the heart..
From RAS in Sweden (breed description/strategy):
4.4. Heart defects
Statistics from Agria Breed Profile show that the AK is the victim of more heart defects than the average breed.
4.4.1 Endocardos/Chronic mitralinsufficiancy
Chronic mitralinsufficiancy (also know as endocarps) is a disease that gives a degeneration of the valves between the for- and heart chamber in the heart but is also a disease that can be acquired. Affected dogs must not be used for breeding.
DCM stands for Dilated CardioMyopathy which means weakness of the heart muscle. Diagnosing this condition, requires ultrasound investigation of the heart. The disease is hereditary and affected dogs must not be used for breeding. Some intermittent individuals have been diagnosed with DCM.
Mitralinsufficiense is what one sees the most of. And on young dogs, we are talking about down to 2-3 yrs of age. The development is pr today unknown, but one both knows of and hears about kelpies who either get heart failure or have to be put to sleep due to heart complications before they are 10 years old. I.E. BEFORE they are 10 and even younger and then after having to adapt their lives the last year or two so as not to overload the heart+medication. A healthy breed should not have any of these problems apart from anything due to accident or injury.
Many seem to believe it is enough to only listen to the heart, but is it really that simple? I know about several who have been told that the heart is hunky-dory when listening to it with stethoscope, but become ill a short time afterwards. I know about several whom have been listened to and then done ultrasound to discover they have obvious leakages in the mitral valves.
That ultrasound MUST be done before breeding, and not older ultrasound examination than 1 year, should be self-evident? And then one can argue back and forth about how expensive this examination is and bla bla. But if you actually plan to have a litter and can estimate an average of eg 6 puppies, then add 500-1000 kr (approximately 100 EUR) pr puppy and you have covered the ultrasound expenses for both the bitch and the dog. And the puppy buyer should be overjoyed that you actually check this, even if the puppy becomes a tad more expensive. Because if you do an ultrasound and get a remark, then what? Then you have saved potential puppy buyers the real of loosing their dog too early. I call that win win!
There are other diseases one should be aware of, like EP and allergies are increasing etc. But these are ailments that can’t be pretested for in any way. The other diseases above, can be to a great extent tested for prior to breeding. Both EP and allergies may set in suddenly, but at the same time it may come to light that «someone» hasn’t told the full truth and the whole truth about siblings/parents/relatives. Or such things have simply not been taken into consideration. But this is something that is hard to demand for a puppy buyer, because it is something that requires a lot of knowledge and interest into digging into breedlines (inserted by Translator, assume that is what is meant) – and last but certainly not least: that everyone are open and honest.
When all this is said, I must add that these are my own thoughts, I am not in any form of board or breed committee. I have not had any special breeders in my mind, but this is meant as information for those whom are looking at the breed. In general the kelpie is a healthy breed, but this will not continue through many future generations if health is not taken seriously even at a micro level.