Messengers in the firing line again!

In case you're not checking the comments on the old posts, some people have been being very mean to Jo, the owner of Zak the epileptic Boxer featured in Pedigree Dogs Exposed.
Out of order I'm afraid. Jo is a great owner and she always does her very best for Zak, many sacrifices made to make sure he is never left alone. Huge drug bill, too. People really should treat her gently, she has enough to put up with.
Anyway this post caught my eye.. they start with an extract from one of my comments.

"When will dog breeders stop being so defensive - the enemy should be suffering - not the people who tell others about it."

When you report all the efforts being made to eliminate these issues within the show world or the lack of efforts in the 'Pet' only pedigree industry.When you start publishing details of the research groups, scientists etc who are working on the very health problems we are trying to counter. When you start to encourage YOUR public to support said research groups with blood samples, buccal swabs, monies to maintain their research.

Well regular and real readers will know that every edition of the magazine and on the web the Hairy Dogmother contains all the tests that are available and advisable for every breed and our recent How to save the Pedigree Dog booklet lists all the DNA tests available and encourages readers to take part in all the Animal Health Trusts ongoing research projects. We also had a major feature in the latest issue on all the Cavalier research projects and how to get involved. And dare i mention the Little Black Dog books which catalogued for the first time all the different health testing schemes....

So I am puzzled, anonymous - what is it we are not doing?

"It's not a defensive reaction to question an owner whose experiences are different to yours, its not defensive to give our personal experience, knowledge, advice received etc back to said owner. I see no attack from breeders here what I do see is people asking for clarification. Idiopathic - Cause/origins unknown Familial = occurance in more members of a family than would be statistically expected True Dominat autosomal epilepsy in both humans and other mammals is very rare - ie a simple genetic cause. Epilepsy as a stand alone condition is also rather rare with family members suspected of having polygenic susceptability towards seizures on their alles ie Complex epilepsy. "

"For those of you who truly wish to see the end of these diseases great, contact the research groups, offer them blood samples from your affected animals, monies etc do something constructive not just complain and attack those people who are trying to eliminate the problems. For every sample submitted they stand a chance of being a step closer to finding an answer that will help human suffering as much as animals. Here's a couple to start you off is the group who developed the epilepsy test for Lagattos. I am proud to say my own breed club members submitted some 50 plus samples this autumn towards their epilepsy research, with more coming via our pet purchasers. "

Surely you must see we are on the same side anonymous? Everyone here is pro-research and testing. You're raging at the wrong people. Those who don't support science should be your target. Those who think it's still quite fine to breed half brother to sister and not limit the use of popular sires.

Certainly the owners of dogs with horrible problems shouldn't be anyone's target.


Anonymous said…
Our feature on Epilepsy in the December issue of Dogs Today contained the following box-out:
How you can help:
Visit and learn about the research being done by the Animal Health Trust and submit swab samples, if appropriate, to the research programmes of affected dogs and their healthy siblings.
Donate funds to Olliesfund. Ollie was a Spinone who suffered in exactly the same way as Alfie.

We really ARE asking for the same things.

Rosie (Art Editor, Dogs Today)
Sorry have forgotten my password!
Anonymous said…
I give up Beverley. No one was being mean to anyone, perfectly reasonable questions were being asked to clear up outstanding issues from That programme, I for one would really have liked to know the answers to those questions. I would never support any breeder who had knowingly bred from a dog with a proven inherited problem or who had not done the necessary health tests with acceptable results. All this anonymous person wanted to know was what sort of breeder Zac had come from and what proof did anyone have that in this case that Epilepsy was hereditary. It was a a shame that the Pedigree Dogs Exposed did not make this clear and also inform the public of all of the work that is being done. It is also a shame that they missed out on the opportunity to advise people to research the breed they are intending to buy and only buy from breeders who have done the necessary health checks for that breed. I am sure that the programme would have been much better received if this had been done.
Beverley Cuddy said…
If you go back to the original thread you'll see all those questions are answered in the comments.

But again I ask you to back off Jo. She's a pet owner doing her very best in a very difficult situation.

And if you don't think it was mean to suggest she doesn't know what's best for Zak after her having so much experience of managing him through all those dreadful and intense fits...

Some respect for Jo please. I am in awe of how she copes with the situation and totally impressed that she just wants others to be spared from the same fate if at all possible.

I was told that breed expert Dr Bruce Cattanach said it took "that" documentary for him to realise the Boxer breed had an epilepsy problem.

Please stop shooting the messenger and accept that someone has to do something about inbreeding and the overuse of popular sires. The more inbred our dogs get the unluckier we will all become.

Anonymous said…
Well Beverley I did as you suggested and went back to the original thread and nowhere can I see the answers to my original questions.

The only person who came close to answering the questions was another 'anon' who wrote

"Had 'THAT' program been honest enough to admit the screaming cavie and fitting boxer were both pet bred, ie not bred by show folk, then maybe the government working party would be investigating the CORRECT area's of pedigree and x breed dogs"

However no evidence was given to back that statement up and wasn't stated by Jo.

I asked
"I would like to ask Jo what proof she has that her dogs epilepsy was/is hereditary."
"This was a question not asked or covered in that programme nor was the question of what sort of breeder the dog had come from. I would be interested whether Zak came from a breeder who hip scored or heart tested?"
"What proof do you have that Zaks epilepsy is hereditary."

Jo responded
"what does it matter if my zak was a show bred dog or a pet? he has a pedigree with champions in most lines?? we are talking dogs health here! not if he was a show dog."

This response certainly did not answer my question.

I wanted to know whether Zaks parents had been heart tested or hip scored which would have given an indication as to whether he was responsibly bred. Just because a dog has Champions in its Pedigree it can still have come from a puppy farm.

Jo also wrote
"as for proof, he has been inbred, he has same grand parents on both sides of his pedigree."

At no point did anyone ask whether Zak was inbred because not all inbred dogs epileptic.

In the last few years I carried out a fairly close mating in that I mated a half uncle, half niece, however all other lines were fairly wide apart, giving me a COI of 11%, was this acceptable?

Odd how the Pedigree Dogs Exposed did not mention the heart problems in Boxers or the eye conditions in Cavaliers. Conditions which have and are being successfully addressed in these breeds.

Beverley you also stated
"I was told that breed expert Dr Bruce Cattanach said it took "that" documentary for him to realise the Boxer breed had an epilepsy problem."

I think if that is the case that it would have taken more than just that documentary which was about one Boxer. Odd that a Breed Expert who I believe is also a geneticist was unaware of such a problem

I'm afraid I rarely post on these matters these days and if at all possible don't give my details as unfortunately there appears to be a lot of childish name calling and insults on some many message boards and blogs.

I have also been employed to care for dogs with epilepsy and know exactly how distressing this can be.
Anonymous said…
I was glancing at Terrierman's Daily Dose just now and was appalled to read his Dec 19 entry, which said the bulldog breed clubs had rejected the KC's health suggestions. He has a link to the story in DogWorld.
It's quite appalling that these breed clubs want to continue as they are.
Anonymous said…
I am not sure what relevance it has if the Cavalier in PDE was pet bred or show bred really. This comment seems to suggest that only Cavaliers that are pet bred are likely to have SM, which sadly is not the case.

I don't think that this segregation is helpful, and it is as bad as saying that all show breeders are bad breeders. Many are not, and do all the necessary health checks. Just as I know of pet Cavalier breeders who are now having their dogs scanned, concerned about the possibility of SM as well as MVD.

What is more important to me is that all breeders, led by the "top" breeders start to scan their dogs and follow the breeding protocols as recommended by the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club from the very research that they have funded. Saying that they are not 100% guaranteed is a total cop out, as are some of the rather vague comments about SM being caused by "enviromental factors" with nothing to back it up.

I am a bit fed up being told that I was misled by PDE. I might have heard about SM from PDE, but I am getting my information from research freely available on the internet from people such as Clare Rusbridge who are actually doing the research. It is all there if you want to find it first hand.

Yes, there are many problems with puppy farmers and breeders outside the CKCS Club, but if the members themselves are not following the protocols and breeding from dogs far too young how can they blame everything on breeders outside of their club.

And any breeder (CKCS Club or outside) who is breeding according to the protocols with scanned dogs please start shouting it from the rooftops, as these are the ones we need to know about and applaud. These are the breeder who are going to start rebuilding the breed, not those who deny the problems.
intheworks said…
It seems that there are many trying to promote the idea that mostly "pet bred" dogs get SM. I too find it unfortunate that this is being propogated, and I have read it insinuated many places in comments now.

If you visit the link below you can read that from 1998 - 2004, 13 of the top 24 stud dogs had sired a pup with SM.

This next link tells of an SM risky Crufts best in breed champion from "a few years ago" who is off in the Americas (where I live) possibly still siring pups.

It does not matter whether or not the Cavaliers on PDE had been pet bred or not. This is a condition that comes from show dogs, pet dogs, and puppyfarm dogs and will continue to until the public demand only pups from MRId dogs.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed got that message out.

I purchased my Cavalier in early 2006 after looking for two years. I did not yet have internet, but now that I do I am aghast that the Club that recommended my breeder did not mention in any of their literature the risk of SM. My breeder stated it was very rare. She did not MRI, nor does she now, nor do many breeders at all here. An influential breeder close to me (who is also a judge) told me not 8 months ago that there was no point in MRIing, and she would not be.

I worry about my dog, and I feel duped especially after reading that club newsletter from 2004.
Anonymous said…
Shame Beverley that you have chosen not to publish my last post, you have repeatedly claimed that we should all be on the same 'side' which I totally agree with, the health of dogs is important as is the truth.
alfmcmalf said…
In my experience of working closely with show people - I know that many an epileptic dog is bred from show lines. It is happening here in the Uk and from the growing number of international contacts I am collecting it happens in australia, new zealand and the States.

As someone rightly says - to the owner it is immaterial whether they were bred for show, pet or working homes.

My experience of the dog world is that those that breed for working are no where near as defensive as those that breed for show. That pattern of behaviour is one as yet I don't understand. You'd think that show people would be used to others critiquing their lines and progeney but no they are an exceptionally sensitive group of women. For the most part.
Beverley Cuddy said…
Anonymous says I didn't publish his/her last post - I haven't not rejected any posts on this thread so please do post it again if you don't see it here. There's sometimes a delay between posting and appearing.
I don't have automatic posting here as we've spammed by viagra salesman in the past and I do like to have a look for libel, too! Also, anyone just saying something personal about me and not making a point doesn't get to post unless they're identifying themselves or I think it's funny!
Beverley Cuddy said…
Oops shouldn't post before having a cup of coffee!
That double negative makes it sound like I'm always rejecting on this thread - you knew what I meant didn't you!

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