Black Russian Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight


that they grow out of before they are four months old. A veteri- narian performing an auscultation (listening to the cardiac sys- tem with a stethoscope) should be able to discern the difference between a puppy murmur and a more significant sound. OFA maintains a Basic Cardiac Database and an Advanced Cardiac Database. Advanced Cardiac is performed by a boarded veterinary cardiologist and requires an echocardiogram. Guidelines for OFA Cardiac changed in October 2020. Results are recorded in a two- tiered clearance, one for congenital disease (permanent), and one for adult onset disease (valid for one year). More breeders are tak- ing advantage of Advanced Cardiac, but there are limitations relat- ed to cost and access to a boarded veterinary cardiologist. Heart disease does occur in this breed. There are documented cases of SAS (Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis) and cardiomyopathy. Again, not many dogs who have known disease will be entered into the data- base, thus the breed statistic for 100% PASSING cardiac exams may be inaccurate. EYES According to the OFA database, only 2.6% of the breed has abnormal eye results. This is a problematic area of testing. Exams are performed by board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists. This is not a “vision” test but rather a screening for genetic dis- ease related to the eye. There are several eye conditions noted upon examination. Some of these conditions (entropion and dis- tichiasis, for example) may be discovered during an exam, but are not considered inherited or breed-specific conditions. Those dogs may receive a “passing” grade on their eye exam with the “breeder option noted.” The decision to note the “breeder option” is not left to the breeder or OFA. The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists has a Genetics Committee that is responsible for determining the eligibility of the condition noted with consider- ation to the breed of the dog. Eye exams are good for one year only. It is helpful for breeders to continue to test their breeding dogs when they are young and again when they are older. JUVENILE LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS & POLYNEUROPATHY Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP) is also referred to as Polyneuropathy with Ocular Abnormalities and Neuronal Vacuolation (POANV). They are one in the same. This syndrome is tested through a DNA sample of the dog. Both the sire and the dam should have this testing completed BEFORE the mating occurs. The JLPP gene is a simple recessive gene. Without a lesson in genetics, the important information is the result for the puppy. It is OK if the puppy is a carrier (meaning the puppy has one copy of the gene). A puppy with two copies of the gene for JLPP will die. To date, 100% of all puppies with two copies of the JLPP gene have died. It is fatal. Always ask for copies of the JLPP test result for the sire and dam, as well as for the puppy, if possible. Never purchase a puppy without this information, not from any breeder in any country in the world. (The test is globally acces- sible.) If you want more information about the disease, I provided a link in a previous paragraph. The BRTCA was instrumental in raising money for researchers at the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine to map the gene and develop a test for the disease. Through 2020, 735 dogs were tested for JLPP; findings indicate that nearly 25% are carriers for the disease. HYPERURICOSURIA Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is inherited as a simple autosomal recessive gene. Dogs with two copies of this gene are predisposed to form stones in their bladder, or sometimes, kidneys. While this condition is not considered “fatal,” there are several dogs that have

There are many peer-reviewed journal articles on canine health. Some are accessible online. The majority of articles and resources will not be breed-specific. These are still great articles and resourc- es. Hip dysplasia in the Black Russian Terrier is no different than in a Golden Retriever. Look for reputable sources when researching health conditions. Some useful links are included here: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Following is some anecdotal information about conditions and diseases in Black Russian Terriers. Much of this is based solely on my experience or discussion with other breeders or veterinarians, and is not to be relied upon as scientific fact, unless so referenced. HIP DYSPLASIA According to the OFA database ( breed-statistics ), more than 41% of animals tested have ABNOR- MAL hips. This means that more than 41% of BRTs whose x-rays were sent to OFA did not pass their hip screening for dysplasia. Many more dogs have x-ray screenings but did not have OFA evaluations. This means that the statistic for failing hips could be higher than 41%. It is also important to note that a passing hip grade on a two-year-old dog does not mean the dog will be free from joint degeneration over time. This is a large breed dog with large bones and a lot of weight. Joints may deteriorate over time for any dog, even those with “OFA Excellent” hips. ELBOW DYSPLASIA According to the OFA database, more than 26% of animals tested have ABNORMAL elbows. This means that more than 26% of BRTs whose x-rays were graded by OFA did not pass elbow screening. Many more dogs have elbow x-rays done, but they are not sent to OFA for grading. This means that the statistic for fail- ing elbows could be higher than 26%. On another note, because nearly 60% of the weight of the dog is carried upfront, the elbows take a lot of wear and tear. Some abnormal elbows will require surgical repair, while others do not. Elbow injuries are common in the breed, especially in young dogs, and like hips, elbow joints will wear over time and degrade so that a dog with normal elbows at two years old may not have normal elbows at age four or later. CARDIAC According to the OFA database, 100% of BRTs have passed their cardiac exams. This does not mean there are no heart prob- lems in the breed. Many BRT puppies have a slight heart murmur

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