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Denise Wall

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  1. I finally got a chance to go through this video again trying to pay more attention to detail. Basically, my take on it is, as is obvious, it's not good to use high dose ivermectin (group 1). Lots of problems. In group 2, these dogs, different breeds and with their MDR1 status unknown, were already suspected of having retinal problems in association with regular heart worm meds alone or in association with other flea and tick products. Group 3 contains a "pure" group of dogs taking only regular dose HW meds but again, no info about the breeds or other info such as HDR1 status of the dogs. Group 3 also contains a control group that took no HW product and consequently showed little retinal toxicity. So group 2 that would be most dogs as far as their mix of various HW, flea and tick products. But it's not exactly a pure group since they were already suspected to have retinal toxicity in association with HW/flea/tick products. As would be expected, this group did have various positive signs of retinal toxicity, some of it reversible once removed from the meds. Group 3 (non control) was the most disturbing to me with about 21% of dogs showed retinal abnormalities. This is the group I don't know what to think about. This was just regular dose HW med. I think there is evidence that there can be retinal problems with ivermectin/heart worm meds either alone or in combination with certain flea and tick products. Retinal problems may not be the only problems either. However, we really don't know much about which dogs, which breeds and whether the dogs had other problems contributing to these problems in this study at least. I suspect this could involve MDR1 as it's a likely suspect but more research is needed. There are genes that regulate production of the protein the MDR1 gene produces that could be a major factor for example. As someone who's been in the literature on this topic a fair amount lately I have to say it's amazing to me how little research has been done on this pretty important gene product in dogs. Especially given the number of breeds with high rates of mutation in this gene. Perhaps studies like the one in this video will lead the way to more sophisticated ones with more answers and better guidelines and better products. So that's my follow up on the video. I hope I didn't miss anything.
  2. One main concern of mine from this presentation is the possibility that Comfortis and Trifexis (popular flea and tick preventatives) are inhibitors of p-glycoprotein, the protein produced by the MDR1 gene, and as such can increase ivermectin concentration 360%. See the slide at 59 seconds of the video. If true, this is concerning for all dogs on heart worm prevention. I think it's something that bears following.
  3. I am working on this. It's a pretty complicated subject actually, and reading and properly evaluating the scientific literature as well as trying to find personal accounts in breeds other than border collies (where the incidence is extremely low) will take some time. Most of the dog forums and personal accounts revolve around heart worm medicine and other commonly used meds such as acepropazime. I'm just trying to be thorough because it's important. I'm sorry it's taking so long.
  4. Rest in peace, Donald. You truly loved the working border collie.
  5. No. I'v had white factored pups from two non white factored parents.
  6. No problem Candy I was actually trying to convey that many evaluations of and support for health and genetic disease problems are going on all the time over many years with the ABCA Health and Genetics Committee and ABCA Board, even if they aren't all apparent to the membership right away. Many of these situations for research are complicated and involve many factors and careful consideration. We're trying to play the "long game," although that's sometimes hard to understand and accept when one has an immediate problem.
  7. I'm sure you probably didn't mean it this way, and believe me I'm not looking for personal thanks when I point this out, but as someone who's been on the ABCA Health and Genetics Committee for two decades, I hope people realize that this is not just the "first step" forward in improving information and education about the health and genetics of our breed. Many dedicated people have been involved for many years in this endeavor, even if their efforts haven't always been in the spotlight.
  8. Not to hijack this topic but since this keeps coming up: Although I originally wrote this dart board analogy to describe what I *think* might happen when working breeds are lost, it applies to trying to imagine how to keep the working gene pool healthy. I am a breeder (or was at least) and it's a very difficult to circle that square in real life. Many here will be familiar with this analogy already: Assume the border collie is the theoretical breed, where many strong workers existed in the original breeding pool and the need for their work was not lost or reduced over time but instead the dogs became less and less useful for it. I believe it simplifies the concept I’m trying to get across to think of the different levels of workers in concrete groups, even though, in reality, the scale from all to none is on a continuum. And, in reality, each dog of a breeding pair should be evaluated through actual stockwork for each of the many traits involved, and bred to the best complimentary mate in an effort to produce the proper mix of these traits in the progeny. So, this analogy is strictly my theoretical attempt at a simple representation. ************************************************************** Imagine something such as a dart board, with a bull’s-eye and several circles that indicate areas farther and farther from the middle target. Let’s say the bull’s-eye circle is red, the next circle is orange, the next yellow, and the very outside circle is white. The actual area within these circles varies depending on the number of dogs in each class at any one time. Now let’s define the groups of dogs within the different colored circles. Please remember all of these categories in this hypothetical situation represent the genetic potential of these dogs. In other words, this is what's in the gene pool. I'm not talking about what people think the dogs are or don't know whether they are or not due to not having tested them: Red circle (bull’s eye) = The very best quality of working border collies. A working definition might be dogs that are exceptional enough to save a great deal of time and manpower for a livestock operation. Orange circle = Useful dogs who save time and manpower for the operation but who are not top quality. Yellow circle = Dogs who will work a little, but wouldn’t be considered useful workers on a real livestock operation because they would cost time and cause too much trouble to train or use. IOW, someone may want to pretend they're actually helping, but they really aren't and sometimes they're hindering. Although they may show some herding instincts, it's not the right total package for work. White circle dogs = Not interested or not capable of doing anything with stock except maybe chasing or showing only prey drive. So, not useful or way less than helpful, and sometimes downright dangerous to the stock. Livestock working ability is comprised of many complex traits. These traits all need to fit together just right and in the right amounts for the dog to be the complete package, and be considered a top worker -- the bull’s-eye. Achieving this package with the consistency needed requires stringent evaluation and selection for working ability every generation. Because of the complexity of reproducing behavioral traits such as these, it’s difficult to get this package that is a top worker, in every pup, or even close, despite crossing the best to the best. This is partly because some dogs, for whatever reason, aren’t good breeders, no matter how good they, themselves, are. So let’s say if only red circle dogs were crossed, only 80% of that number of red circle dogs would be produced in the next generation. (This is a hypothetical number – it may actually be more or less.) Therefore, breeding only red circle dogs will not replace all of the red circle dogs, and the number of red circle dogs will drop each generation if only these crosses are used. As with other breeds used for other purposes, many a top sire gets bred to a mediocre bitch. Because the working genes were (are?) still highly concentrated in the border collie gene pool, the chances of hitting upon a dog that may not be a top worker herself but is a good breeder, are still pretty good. This type of good breeder would be mostly in the orange circle with a few in the yellow circle, but almost none in the white circle. Breeders of these top working sires may take a stud pup from these crosses to increase their chances of hitting on a good breeder should their top bitches not be, or not cross well with their choice of stud dog. In other words, the top breeders still rely on the peripheral pools of dogs that are not as good workers themselves but are good breeders, to provide some of their next generations of top red circle dogs. As long as the emphasis is on breeding for work and the momentum of most of the breeding is going toward breeding for the bull’s-eye and concentrating only the working genes, the number of red circle dogs will be replaced each generation and maybe even expanded. Now, suppose the breed becomes popular for dog shows, pets, and dog sports such as agility. Suppose these people do not only buy puppies from the working bred dogs. Now instead of a mostly dead end gene pool -- dogs that will not be bred but only used for dog sports, etc., these dogs with no working ability will be bred as the demand increases. The number of white circle dogs increases. And since people seem to want to claim their “borders” can still herd with the best of them, or the sport dog people need to tap into the working traits for success in their endeavor, they will look to the working circles for breeding to try to get these traits in the pups. Regardless of how it happens, however, now the momentum has changed and the working genes are being diluted, instead of concentrated, in this peripheral gene pool that has formerly been the source of good breeders to help replenish the red circle top workers. As this trend progresses, the good breeders in the peripheral gene pool become rarer, the yellow circle fades more to white, the orange fades more to yellow and the red fades more to orange. Unable to replace themselves without the help of the strong working genes formerly present in the peripheral gene pool, over time, the number of dogs truly in the red circle diminishes until the gene pool is too small.
  9. I've been in this a long time. I hear things and I know some things for sure. For example, in one case, a famous sire was tri. The dog's son off him was black and white. This black and white dog, also famous, was used *a lot* at stud. He never produced even one tri pup, not even when bred to tri bitches. When a dog sires 100 or 100s of pups, it starts to be outside the realm of genetic possibility that he is carrying the tri gene, which is recessive. Other times, pedigree "inaccuracies" in the past are common knowledge overseas, even though no one will repeat them in writing. I've also heard that it's common practice overseas, or at least it used to be, to line a bitch with two studs just to make sure they catch. No big deal. One can only hear these things so many times before they start to seem like more than rumor. Not to piss anyone off, but it is what it is.
  10. I have two points to add for interest. What's recorded on the pedigrees and used for the UK database may not actually represent the true parentage. Sorry, but true. In one of my late dog's pedigrees there were three wrong UK sires listed that I know of. It happens here too. AKC once did a study of pedigrees versus the true parentage and found a shocking percentage of inaccuracies. It doesn't matter if a dog was a popular sire (WRT passing on genetic disease through later line breeding) if no one breeds from the offspring. Sometimes that happens.
  11. I just heard of this and add my absolute shock and sadness to that of her so many other friends who knew her personally and from the internet. We will miss you so much Hilary.
  12. I can personally attest to the fact they really work. I've been using them on my 15 year old Mick for several months. He was having trouble on slick floors. I tried to put rugs everywhere I could, but he still found slick places to slip and fall. These toegrips have made a tremendous difference in his quality of life and my piece of mind. I would recommend them without reservation. Just get the right size and read the instructions. ETA No, he doesn't chew them off. They actually stay on amazingly well.
  13. Nobody started it yet so I guess I will. Goodbye my sweet, wonderful boy. You were a brilliant working dog and taught me so much. Stilhope Zeke (1999-2012):
  14. TEC, I'm a bit behind on this topic but wanted to have my say. One of the videos of a mild episode of BCC on this site is of my dog Zeke: FWIW, I am a scientist with a PhD in biochemistry as well a clinical laboratory degree (BS MT(ASCP)) and experience in laboratory medicine. So even though I wasn't wearing a white lab coat, I have one Blood and other clinical parameters had been tested on this dog in the past and were all normal. Also, FWIW, I did not induce this episode. Sometimes, even after years of experience, it's difficult to tell what will precipitate an episode. In this instance, when I saw it had happened, I went to the house and got a camera. Fifteen minutes after the video he was completely recovered and perfectly normal. As has been said, this dog was functional enough to work and run big challenging Open courses such as Edgeworth with no problems. He retired at a normal age. It's a strange syndrome. I've long been interested in this problem in border collies and have been a strong supporter in the research to discover the cause. I wanted to help others recognize these symptoms so I did the video. I believe all who contributed videos to this site had the experience with the condition in their dogs to know they were not at risk. ETA I never saw this dog exhibit any symptoms until at least five minutes after he had stopped working.
  15. I'm a bit late to this thread but I just want to say something others are saying but hopefully a little differently. Think of the working border collie as needing to be bred for all the right pieces to fit together properly. The checks and balances of that system of careful selection of traits makes the dog whole. It doesn't always work out perfectly, but the goal needs to be maximal effort at keeping all the pieces there and together just right or the breed starts to fall apart. For this breed, that can only be accomplished by selecting for stockworking ability. If one selects for only some of the pieces, like those traits important only in agility, the dog as a whole starts to become unstable in some way. The checks and balance system the breed was optimally developed on is gone. I'm not talking about individuals here. Just because someone can find a dog or two to trot out as an example of why it's okay to breed other ways doesn't make it true overall. Look at breeds like the German Shepherd. The temperaments of those dogs started falling apart in extreme when pieces got left out or didn't fit together properly from being bred for other things. And as much as I hate to use this example, look at the pit bull breeds. Those dogs were supposed to be aggressive to other dogs for fighting but not to people. It's pretty easy for that checks and balance system to fall apart when selection isn't for all the pieces to fit together right. I think any breed that has been stringently selected for brilliance at its work such as the working border collie, you're walking a fine line on the extremes. This fine line can only be maintained through the same type of selection process (stockwork) that has, over time, made the breed whole and stable. I have no idea if it's possible to select specifically for an agility line of border collies. As Pearse said, you do get what you select for, but that may just be individual traits and not those unfortunate things that go along with them. If it can be done, it may take a while before you can get the pieces to fit together right for the whole dog to be stable. And maybe it's not possible to select for that particular set of extremes and have a set of checks and balances that will establish stability overall. I guess time will tell. I'm sure people here know enough dogs of various breeds that are just complete messes to understand how badly things can go wrong when pieces are missing or don't fit together right. So the question in my mind is, do you want to stick with something tried and true - the working border collie bred as it was meant to be - or are you willing to chance something that may fall apart because the pieces aren't there or don't fit right?
  16. I don't run with that crowd so I have to ask, are they breeding those kick butt Redtop obedience dogs or going back to Redtop for their next dogs?
  17. Maybe re-education isn't the answer. Maybe it's showing them something beautiful and real and pure that they couldn't imagine existed until they're shown.
  18. Further, because I think this is the heart of the matter. Have you (the general you) not noticed how working people on this board generally embrace rescue dogs and their owners, or dogs from puppy mills once the people have them and nothing can be done about it? What's done is done and people want the best for that individual. Ahead of time, promoting and supporting *breeding* other than for what the breed was meant to be is where the problem comes in for most of us.
  19. A few random thoughts: I trained and competed with horses over jumps in several areas (hunter, jumper, three day eventing) for decades. I don’t recall anything like ETS in horses. Poor style, or lack of ability or courage, of course, but not anything that showed up after an otherwise good start. The rider normally tries to control the striding distance so the horse jumps from the proper spot but horses are sometimes free jumped on a lunge line with no rider where they would have to pick their own distances. Has anyone ever heard of a horse developing something like this? They already have and are developing genetic tests in dogs for things like the red gene and various structural features such as coat length and ear set. There will be genetic tests for the things people want them for if they can be developed, i.e., high heritability and not complex inheritance patterns. IOW there will be gene tests for lots of things that many others may not find important. Once again, supposing ETS is a genetic problem, and the cost for the test reasonable, it *could* be treated just the same as any other preference in a working litter bred for the right reasons, instead of specifically bred for the preference. For example, one might like red dogs. Even without selection such as testing the parents for the red gene or selection by breeding red parents, red pups are born into working litters. One might take that pup because red is preferred, but this has not changed the standard for the breeding. This is selecting from the pups available, not selection for red pups by breeding reds dogs or testing the parents for the red gene. Therefore, one could find a working bred litter and test the pup you like for ETS before you buy it. No, this is not as efficient as testing the parents and selecting against this gene, but it will not change the gene pool. If you want to support working breeders, you can. I’ve said this before but there’s pretty good evidence that in order to keep all the pieces balanced and working together correctly in a breed developed and selected for a high level of work performance, one must continue to stringently select for that purpose. Breeds can fall apart when only part of the traits are selected for and not balanced by those not selected for. The German Shepherd dog is a good example of this kind of failure, both mentally and physically. So we’re back to the same philosophy – you can do the activity (I don't consider conformation an activity) you want with the dog you have. Or even pick what you want from those available pups on the ground. Just choose from pups bred for working ability from work-tested parents. You can still support the breed as it was meant to be and do what you want without harming the gene pool if it’s important enough to you.
  20. If I go ahead and concede this is a real genetic issue with agility dogs, and does not appear to have any repercussions in any other activity or in a normal life for a dog, which I'm happy to do at this point. Testing and selecting parents based on their ETS DNA status officially marks for me the split of the breed into not only working border collies and conformation border collies, but into a third distinct group, sport collies. If the test were used only on an individual to determine whether to purchase a pup as an agility prospect from an otherwise well-bred working litter from non tested ETS parents, it would be one thing. But my money's on selection against ETS for the agility market.
  21. If your dog goes to water after exercise and drowns, it's certainly life threatening. That happened to quite a few water retrieving labs who had the similar disease, EIC. Sometimes it happened in the first episode so the handler would have no idea to be careful. It's quite possible BCC dogs could be pressed to death from inattention to the problem while working. I own a dog with BCC and have seen many others over the years. It can definitely be a health risk in more situations than a dog's "career." It in no way compares to jumping too soon over an agility jump, if that's what ETS really is. ETS does not sound like a clinically significant problem IMO, while BCC is.
  22. Before I answer I must emphasize this analogy is not meant as a "how to" or a standard to judge a specific dog. It doesn't address all the subjective gray areas. A main point is the working breed cannot be maintained if only red circle dogs are bred. I don't know why this is true but it must be true because of the way things have gone in other working breeds that are lost. The gene pool needs a healthy population of the orange circle dogs and even a few yellow circle dogs to keep healthy numbers of red circle dogs. Likewise, a working breed cannot be maintained unless its breeders are mostly knowledgeable and mostly breeding toward the defining goal. Think of the gene pool as a whole, constantly in flux with each breeding, and imagine it as a flow either toward concentrating working genes by aiming for the red circle with most breedings or diluting the working genes by changing the momentum of the breeding selection (or non selection) toward the white circle. Here's a real life type of example. I've had border collies all my life. Many years ago, you could breed a border collie that had never been worked on stock and you still had a pretty good chance of getting a good combination of working genes. Because that was all they were bred for back then and the working genes were still highly concentrated in the breed. (Not saying you should do this without proving the dog, just what the odds were.) Most breedings were aiming for the red circle. Now, if you breed any random border collie that has never been worked, chances are you won't get a good combination of working genes because of all the other reasons border collies are being bred these days. The working gene pool is being diluted with the momentum going toward the white circle and those white circle dogs are being bred, changing the momentum even more. When you look at a random border collie, you can't know if its genetic potential is in the red, orange, yellow, or white circle, so training the dog out to the limits of its potential will help define whether breeding that dog should be helping the momentum go toward red circle, or backwards. Of course there are things that stack the deck. The informed breeder is not usually looking at a random border collie. They usually at least know the pedigree, which helps but certainly does not replace actually knowing the weaknesses and strengths in a dog that has been trained out. I have to stop now because I'm starting to get too specific and I want to avoid that. But the answer to your question re the analogy is not should they be bred but are they being bred, and what effect is that having on the gene pool?
  23. Maya, Out bye = work far from the handler (top of the outrun, lift, top of the fetch, etc.). In-bye close to the handler (pen, shed, etc.) Penny, I've checked in on this thread now and again and I don't really know what to say about the strange direction it's gone except you're right, the analogy was meant as a theoretical population. The actual gene pool of the population. The part that seems skipped over in this discussion is my disclaimer before I define the circles, "Please remember all of these categories in this hypothetical situation represent the genetic potential of these dogs. In other words, this is what's in the gene pool. I'm not talking about what people think the dogs are or don't know whether they are or not due to not having tested them." Because this is an analogy representing the genetic potential, that is, what will be passed on regardless of the environment or trainer or number of trial wins, no one truly knows what this genetic potential is for each dog in the grand scheme of things. I spend a lot of time pondering and trying to wrap my mind around the big picture for the breed. I'm not saying I'm even close, but in this oversimplification, I found a more concrete way to imagine the big picture on how working breeds are lost. The thing is, one hears the same things said over and over even when history plainly shouts these things must be false. An example is, "As long as there are working breeders breeding good working dogs, good working dogs will always be available for those who need them." What follows, said or not, is, "So go ahead and breed border collies however you want without worry, because you're not hurting the breed." That sounds logical but history has shown us time and time again that it doesn't, in reality, work that way. Breed after breed after breed has turned into yet another pet or show breed whose true working ability is diluted, sometimes to nothing. This is what the analogy was meant to address. How all these seemingly logical (to some) arguments don't hold water. It's an attempt to simplify and explain why this type of thinking has led to dilution of working traits in the overall gene pool in so many once useful breeds. Border collies are still needed for their original purpose of working livestock. In order to keep the breed from falling apart, all the checks and balances of selection for a good mix of the many traits needed to be good livestock working dogs need to continue with the goal of improving the working ability in each and every breeding.
  24. Thank you so much, Donald, for your kind words about the book.
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