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Billsmom

Hip Dyspasia

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Hi, How about a lively discussion on Hip Dysplasia? I propose that relying on hip X-rays to make breeding decisions may be as detrimental to the working stock dog as breeding for appearance only. For generations stockmen bred their best dogs together sucsessfuly, without benifit of modern technology. If Border Collie breeders use only those dogs whose hips "pass", and omit a good "sound" working dog because the hips failed, may they in fact be changing the breed for the worse? I ask these questions because over the years I have seen a number of dogs, of various breeds, that have been X-rayed as dysplastic, yet lived full sound lives. On the other hand, there are those with "excellent", and "good" hips that are on pain killers for arthritis at 7 years of age!

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Seriously, welcome to the Boards, Billsmom. If you take a look at some of the previous threads on hip dysplasia, such as this one (skim quickly to about halfway down the first page), I think you'll see why I put up the previous post. As this discussion develops, I feel sure you can count on at least one dedicated ally.

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Welcome to the boards.

 

Relying on anyone factor in making breeding decisions will be detrimental to the working stockdog. However, x-rays can be a useful tool in selecting better crosses of working dogs. An example is the increased probability in getting dysplastic pups from an OFA fair crossed with and OFA fair. Both parents are within normal limits and would likely not show signs of hip problems working; but the cross has a higher probability in throwing dysplastic pups than an OFA fair x OFA good.

 

Mark

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Thanks for the replies. I really don't have answers, only questions. Do we really know that fair to fair increases the probability of HD? I personally used to own a radiographically severely dysplastic Gordon Setter. I owned him from age two until his death at 13 from cancer. He was a show champion, and a wonderful hunting dog up until a year before his death. He was never bred, and he was never, ever lame. Yet in the time I owned him I meet a few other Gordons that did have good and excellent hips, and to a dog they had stiff rear movement and in some instances they had "old age" arthritis at about 7 years. Could this happen to the Border Collie?

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Originally posted by Billsmom:

Do we really know that fair to fair increases the probability of HD?

Yes

 

The Use of Genetic Databases to Reduce Disease Prevalence

 

The increase in HD in fair x fair vs. fair x good was 12% to 16.3%. While these numbers seem small they are statistically significant due to the large numbers of dogs in each type of cross (i.e. fair x fair). It should be relatively easy to find a good working cross for an OFA fair that is "good" as opposed to "fair".

 

Mark

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Billsmom - Your comments about your dog being a show dog and your being familiar with other dogs that were rated excellent and good, makes me wonder if they were show dogs also?

 

The reason I ask is that I believe that show-ring standards emphasize straight hind ends (seen from the rear) in dogs as they do in many other species (horses, cattle, dairy goats, among others). In reality, it is my belief that that type of hind end may "look pretty" but isn't necessarily as functional and sound over time as a hind end with some "angles" to it. In addition, show dogs are generally evaulated standing and trotting in a manner that isn't "natural" to the breed as it works, further contributing to selection for characteristics that may be contrary to function.

 

It takes consideration of a number of criteria to evaulate the breed-worthiness of a working Border Collie, and the appropriateness of a match between dog and bitch. Hip/elbow xrays are just one of many available to help with making responsible decisions.

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Sue R, Good input, but the point is, the OFA and PennHip just evaluate hips, and they do not care if a dog is a working dog or show dog. In the thirty years that I've been involved with dogs most show breeders are using hip evaluations as part of their criteria for picking breeding choices, and yet many of those good and excellent hips are not on the dogs that have the best movement for what their original purpose was. I am only talking about radiographic evidence, not clinical HD.

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Billsmom,

 

Here's a question for you. Would you breed a dog that shows no clinical signals of HD but the radiographic evidence conclusively shows HD?

 

The problem with making a breeding decisions based solely upon clinical signs of a genetically influenced disease is that the disease may not have progressed sufficiently to become clinically evident at the time of breeding.

 

Mark

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I guess I should have introduced myself before starting this thread. I am fairly new to Border Collies, my Bill came into our lives in 1999, and I got hooked. We have a small hair sheep herd, about 30 head, 4 Quarter Horses, and 5 Border Collies, the last one having only been in our family for about 2 weeks. I try to go to as many trials as I can, but sometimes earning a living has to take precedence. Both my husband and I are industrial electricians, and we (dogs too) have to go on the road fairly often. Yes, I do have a long and varied background with dogs, starting with Doberman rescue and Obedience training in the early 70's. Over these years I have owned 4 dogs that had radiographic evidence of moderate to severe hip dysplasia, yet I have been lucky that there was never any clinical signs. All four dogs were never used in any breeding program, and they lived full sound lives with me until old age. Arthritis was never an issue with any of these dogs. The Setter was a good personal hunting dog, the Dobe was a loving pet, and the 2 Australian Cattle Dogs worked with my Jersey dairy herd every day until cataracts and deafness made it unsafe.

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Mark, That's the problem, which dogs will have a long, sound usful life? Was it a disservice to the Gordon Setter breed to remove a beautiful, birdy, ground covering dog from the gene pool? His hips were truly bad, but he had tremendous muscle tone until he died. I personally don't think he should have been bred with those hips, but perhaps this is one reason while a breed starts to drift away from being able to do what they were bred to do.

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I sure forgot my manners and should have said, "Welcome"!

 

...most show breeders are using hip evaluations as part of their criteria for picking breeding choices, and yet many of those good and excellent hips are not on the dogs that have the best movement for what their original purpose was...
I think you and I are in agreement here, and that most folks on these boards would also agree with this statement. Good xrays without good movement is not a breeding criterion. However, I do think most folks here would include radiographic evaulations as an important *part* of evaluating breeding-worthiness in working Border Collies.

 

That said, I am a novice to the world of working Border Collies, spay/neuter my Border Collies, and rely on others to make those essential decisions.

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Sue R, Someday I may like to try breeding a litter of Border Collies, and I'm trying to get some educated input on the HD issue. Has anybody else noticed that the AKC Border Collie club puts a tremendous emphasis on good hips and eye checks, yet the breed,in my eyes,just keeps looking more and more generic! Has there been any long term studies following dogs that have been x-rayed. Could it be that the Border Collie breed might be better served to use those fair hips, and maybe insure that the breed retains it's extreme flexibilty? Once again, this is not an opinion, but just a question.

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In this part of the world hip x-rays are a novelty. Our own local veterinarian actually refuses to do them. He is afraid of being sued? There are a couple vets over the stateline that will do OFA quality x-rays and they charge about 300 dollars for a Border Collie. When I had my Cassie spayed, I asked that vet to do her hips while she was sedated (this vet is about 30 miles away). He wouldn't or couldn't do a good enough film to submit, but he said her hips were fine. She is ten now, and can't work the sheep anymore. Even with her Deramaxx she still has bad days! Local "breeders" and fellow trialers do not seem to ever do hip checks, or at least they never mention it. Local talk is often about how so and so bought a pup that was crippled, and that the pup came from a distant breeder that always OFAs their dogs. Anyhow, if I ever do decide to breed a litter, I will definitly want to do everything possible to insure a healthy litter, including Hip x-rays.

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Has anybody else noticed that the AKC Border Collie club puts a tremendous emphasis on good hips and eye checks, yet the breed,in my eyes,just keeps looking more and more generic!
Billsmom - If you do a search on previous threads, you will find a number of topics dealing with the AKC and what breeding for conformation/show has done to produce a dog that is a distorted imitation of the working Border Collie. That type of breeding is the antithesis of how and why the Border Collie should be bred, and produces the type of dog that many on these boards (and elsewhere) refer to as the "Barbie Collie", bred for looks and not for purpose or function. With the show ring judging the dogs rather than the stock or the work testing the dogs, those characteristics that make the breed unique will be lost over generations of breeding for arbitrary or non-purposeful characteristics.

 

An abundance of diagnostic tests can't replace the art that goes into breeding good working dogs, but some of the tests are extremely helpful in contributing to responsible breeding. I assumed that hip and elbow xrays were readily available throughout our country - I wonder why they are not in your area (and maybe others)?

 

The way I understand it, you could breed dogs with the best OFA/PennHip results together and still might get one or more offspring that had bad hips. As Mark points out, using dogs that have excellent and good results may decrease your likelihood of pups with poorer quality hips but it's never a guarantee. As you note, good muscle tone and other factors may reduce the effects of poorer hips (as defined by xray) in individual dogs.

 

There are folks like Mark on these boards that can be much more informative about this topic than I ever could be, and so can a search on these topics to show you previous threads that dealt with them.

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Sue R, I do really appreciate all the feedback I'm getting and yes, I have read some of the other threads as well. Does anyone know if the Border Collie has a serious problem with clinical HD, or are most of the cases just caught with pre-breeding health checks? Would the membership of the ABCA participate in a survey, do you think, asking if they utilize hip x-rays, and also of those dogs that have been x-rayed, how long they lived, when did they need to stop working, etc. As far as I know, no breed has ever done a comprehensive survey asking how the various hip ratings fare in the long run. The first breed to utilize hip x-rays as I understand it were the German Shepherds, and I am led to believe that they had a serious incident of crippling disease. Knowing the status of their hips have helped that breed tremendously, but this is a breed with extreme angulation. Did they start having crippled dogs before or after that trend began(extreme rear)? Maybe that breed really needs good tight hips to remain sound. Or maybe I should just stop asking so many questions! And yes, we are a little rural here! Rabies vax are annual since we have been in a quarantine for the last few years. The vets know beef cattle, and hardly a thing about sheep. There are a couple large cities about 100 miles away, and I bet I could find some veterinary hospitals there that do hip x-rays on a regular basis, but eye certification might be difficult. That's a bridge I'll have to cross if I decide to ever breed.

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I spoke years ago with the only vet around at that time who did PennHip evaluations. His take on it (the way I remember it) was that there is a secondary factor affecting the expression of hip dysplasia : that of laxity. If a dog has dysplasia, AND has a high degree of laxity, it is more likely that the dog will exhibit symptoms related to deterioration of the joint. Essentially, the laxity allows a less than perfect joint to knock around, wobble, sustain uneven pressure , etc., increasing the wear and tear. If a dysplasic dog has a low degree of laxity, the joint is so tight that there is minimal wear and tear inside the joint, and so the dog may never show signs of the disease. Also, a dog with non-dysplastic hips can develop early symptoms of arthritis, if the degree of laxity is high. Lots of wear and tear. He showed me a set of x rays and subsequent Penn evaluations on a golden with perfect hips at 2 yrs, but requiring hip replacements at 5 yrs, due to laxity. The dog had been bred umpteen times in that 3 yr period, since he was an outstanding conformation dog and had a great OFA eval. I've heard many stories of high caliber working dogs being removed from the gene pool because of an xray, and yet working until in their teens with no symptoms whatsoever. It was this vet's suggestion that Border Collies often xray as dysplastic, and yet never become symptomatic, because the working collie tends to have nice, tight joints. I'm in the human medical field, and I believe there is a correlation in humans, between joint laxity and injuries, as well as deterioration and subsequest arthritis due to wear and tear.

 

Sheryl

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skd, thanks for the reply. This is what I've been asking! Maybe those really good OFA hips are not the best to breed for, or at least we need to know not to eliminate an otherwise outstanding dog from the gene pool just because of his hip x-rays. Need more long term info! IMO! I've been out of town on another job, so sorry for the late reply.

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