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Health Testing

 

Informed Decision Making

         
 

Health testing generally refers to measurements taken and registered with KUSA in respect of Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, both of which have been prominent in the breed over the last thirty years or so. "Vet checked" does NOT mean health tested.

The reality is that hip dysplasia is wide spread throughout the canine population, mongrel and pure-bred alike. More than half of the dogs surviving to the age of 7 years and beyond will exhibit some evidence of it. The lucky ones will manifest in advancing old age with arthritis, stiffness, difficulty rising. Some will be able to take advantage of modern advances in hip surgery. Then there are those completely crippled by the disease, unable to answer their most basic instincts to run and play and hunt and defend, enduring the indignity of not being able to toilet unassisted, constantly frustrated by pain and the fear of being accidentally bumped.

If we cannot cure or eradicate this disease, we must at least know that we are not proliferating it.

X-rays are conducted by practicing veterinarians. Your own vet may be able to do them or you may be referred to a larger practice with more advanced equipment. In South Africa, X-rays are sent off to Onderstepoort for expert measurement and assessment and results forwarded to KUSA for inclusion into the dog’s registration records. KUSA maintains an open registry so all records are available for public scrutiny, usually on payment of a small fee.

Testing is by no means infallible. Errors have been known to occur with overly negative results, and therefore probably also with overly positive results. However, it is still the only tool we have for improving our breeding lines over several generations. Countries where health testing is entrenched have seen a marked improvement in the health and longevity of their dogs.

In addition to Hips and Elbows, at Mishna we give top priority also to controlling for:

  • temperament – non-negotiable in selecting a family member;
  • ligaments – cruciate injuries are by far the most frequent and expensive problem that owners have to confront;
  • eyes – entropian and ectropian have almost entirely disappeared from our lines;
  • common degenerative diseases.

We test all our breeding stock and make it mandatory for all their offspring to be tested so that we can track and manage genetic potential for the health of future generations. So that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren may continue to know the unique privilege of knowing Chow Chows!

         
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