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Why breeding dogs should be health tested...if you are buying a puppy ask to see the health testing of the parents.  Buying a puppy from health tested parents greatly reduces your chances of having a puppy with health issues common to the breed later in life.  Click through to read the article.

I hear so many of my clients say, “I just want a pet, I don’t need to get my puppy from a responsible breeder.”  Then they go bargain shopping on Craigslist or Kijiji and find a great bargain priced puppy.  They put so much time and love into training their puppy and then it starts…the health issues.  They end up spending more on vet bills than they would have originally paid for a well bred puppy from health tested parents.  Suddenly, their bargain puppy is no longer a bargain!  And this is why breeding dogs should be health tested.

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Why Buy Your Puppy From A Responsible Breeder Who Health Tests?

Responsible Breeders Are Educated About Health Testing

Responsible breeders belong to breed clubs, have mentors and attend seminars so that they can learn about breeding dogs and how to do it properly.  They know what testing is important to do on their breed.  And they test all of their dogs before using them in their breeding program.  Responsible breeders also do pedigree research to see what issues have popped up in the pedigrees of their dogs.  By using the test results and the information from the pedigree research, responsible breeders can greatly reduce their risk of producing puppies with genetic health issues that are common in their breed.

Responsible breeders stay up to date on what testing is available for their breed.  They are constantly learning and using the information available to improve the health of their breeding program.  Their main goal is to produce healthy, happy puppies that meet the breed standard.

Responsible Breeders Use The Test Results To Improve Their Breeding Program

Responsible breeders are educated on how to read the test results from their dog’s health testing.  They then know how to use this information to breed away from any issue that may have been found in their dogs.  They also know when to remove a dog from their breeding program.  DNA testing typically comes back listing the dog as either clear, a carrier or affected.  Responsible breeders know how to work with any of these testing results so that they do not produce the issue that was tested for.

Health Testing Greatly Reduces The Risk Of Producing Puppies With Breed Specific Inherited Diseases

Responsible breeders health test their dogs before using them for breeding.  Each breed has their own set of health testing that should be done.  The breeders know what health testing needs to be done for their breed.  They research pedigrees looking for any issues that could come up and then try to avoid them.  They are educated and make informed decisions when it comes to breeding their dogs.

Of course, things can still happen but health testing greatly reduces the risk of getting a puppy that will have breed specific health issues.  Not all health issues have testing available though.  For example, epilepsy is a concern in many purebred and mixed breed dogs.  There is no test for this condition.  Epilepsy can be genetic but it can also be caused by environmental factors too.  It can show up randomly but some dogs seem to be more prone to it than others.

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Hip and elbow dysplasia are two other health issues that have no dna testing.  Currently breeders have their dog’s hips and elbows x-rayed and sent off to a specialized lab.  In North America it is typically OFA.  A panel of certified veterinarians will evaluate the x-rays and give the hips a rating of excellent, good, fair or a fail.  The elbows will either be graded as Normal or a fail.

It is very important for breeders to do these tests.  It really does help to eliminate dysplastic dogs from a breeding program.  This helps to reduce the occurrence in their breeding program.  OFA keeps a database of results so breeders can do research to learn what lines to use and what lines to be very careful with.  Although, until there is a dna test, even parents who have excellent and normal ratings can still produce puppies that have hip and/or elbow dyplasia.

What Can You Do As A Puppy Buyer?

Ask Breeders Lots Of Questions

As someone who is interested in buying a puppy, you should ask lots of questions.  Ask the breeder about any health issues that have popped up in their breeding program.  All breeders will eventually face some sort of health issue.  Ask them about the issues in their breed. Find out what testing they have done to try to prevent these issues in their dogs.

Do Your Own Research

Always do your own research!  Research the health issues in the breed.  Find out what testing is available for the breed.  The more research you do and the more informed you are, the better decisions you will make.

Ask To See Copies Of The Health Testing

Any breeder who has done the health testing on their dogs will be happy to share the test results with you.  Some labs will post the results online for the public to see.  Other labs may only send the results to the owner of the dog.  The breeder will happily share the results with you and explain what they mean if you have any questions.

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What Should You Avoid?

Avoid any breeder that tells you that they have never produced a health issue.  Unless it is a very new breeder, they will have at least produced something minor.  All breeders, whether mixed breed or purebreds will have produced some sort of issue if they have been breeding for a while.

Avoid any breeder that tells you that it’s not necessary to health test their dogs.  There are tests available for the majority of breeds.  Any responsible breeder will do the necessary testing on their dogs before breeding them.

Avoid breeders who try to pass off their vaccinations records or a health certificate from a veterinarian clinic as health testing.  Local vets can tell if the dogs have any issues such as a heart murmur, allergies, ear infections, etc but they do not do dna testing.  They can collect the dna or do the x-rays but the tests are sent away to a specialized lab to be evaluated.

So, whether you are looking for your next family member or your next high performance dog, it’s important to do your research.  Find a breeder who is honest and who health tests their dogs.

If you are looking for a puppy from a responsible breeder but don’t know where to start, check out our course, Secrets To Finding A Responsible Dog Breeder, to learn everything you need to know about finding a puppy from a responsible dog breeder. 

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