Von Willebrand disease I & II (vWD I & II)

vWD I is an inherited bleeding disorder affecting Standard Poodles. These dog lack essential protein needed for blood clotting. There are varying degrees of symptoms in affected dogs. These dogs bruise easily, have nosebleeds often and gum bleeds when losing teeth. When having surgery or any trauma they also bleed excessively. Death can result form this bleeding. Dogs can live a normal life with this disorder, but if surgery is needed, often blood transfusions are essential to save the dogs life.

OFA Statistics show that 3.7% of the population of Poodles are either carriers or affected by this disorder.

This disease has recessive inheritance, so needs two copies of the disorder for a dog to be affected. Any breedings with Poodle on both sides will need to be tested. Example: F1 Goldendoodle to Poodle.

Two vWD I = Affected

One vWD I gene = Carrier

No vWD I genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for vWD I:

Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen

DDC

Animal Genetics

Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy (SAN)

SAN is an inherited neurological condition that affects Golden Retrievers. Onset of symptoms usually show between 2 to 8 months of age. They can include muscle coordination, abnormal gait and difficulty balancing hind limbs. Most dogs need to be euthanized by 3 years of age. This is a recessively inherited disease and requires two copies in order for a dog to be affected. This should be tested for any time two dogs with Golden Retriever in them are bred. Example: Goldendoodle to Goldendoodle breeding.

Two SAN genes = Affected

One SAN gene = Carrier

No SAN genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for SAN:

Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen

 

Progressive retinal Atrophy, Golden Retriever 1 & 2 (PRA-1 and PRA-2)

PRA-1 and PRA-2 are late onset inherited eye diseases that affects Golden Retrievers. Onset of symptoms start around 6 to 7 years old. It is characterized by changes in reflectivity and appearance of the Tapetum behind the Retina, which leads to thinning of blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the retina, causing night vision loss, as well as, peripheral vision loss and ending with complete blindness.

OFA statistics show 2.0% carriers for PRA-1 and 2.5% carriers for PRA-2.

This is found in Golden Retrievers and should be tested when there are Golden Retrievers on both sides of a breeding. Example: Goldendoodle to Goldendoodle.

Two PRA-1 or PRA-2 genes = Affected

One PRA-1 or PRA-2 gene = Carrier

No PRA-1 or PRA-2 genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for PRA-1: 

Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen

Animal Genetics

 

Ichthyosis (ICH)

ICH is an inherited skin condition found in Golden Retrievers. The onset of this disease is usually before one year old, but can vary from being detected as a puppy until a year or more. This disease causes the outer layer of the epidermis from forming properly. They start with flaky skin and dull hair, which turns into the skin turning a  darkened greyish colour and appearing thick, hard and scaly. This is noticed the most on the abdomen, but can affect the whole body. It can be managed, but can result in skin infections in some dogs. ICH is inherited recessively, so you want to make sure that one parent is clear of this disease.

OFA statistics show that 28.1% of Golden Retrievers are either carriers or affected by this disorder.

This is found in Golden Retrievers and you should be testing for this disorder if there is Golden Retriever on both sides. Example: Goldendoodle to Goldendoodle breeding.

Two ICH genes = Affected

One ICH gene = Carrier

No ICH genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for ICH:

Paw Print Genetics

Animal Genetics

 

Progressive retinal Atrophy, progressive Rod-cone degeneration (PRA-prcd)

PRA-prcd is a late onset, inherited eye disease. It can be seen as early as 1.5 years old, but usually there are no signs of vision loss until the dog is 5 to 6 years old. They often will start with night vision loss and peripheral vision loss. This will continue until night vision is gone and lose vision in bright light as well, then eventually complete vision loss. This disorder is inherited recessively. So we always need to make sure when breeding that one parent is clear of this disease.

OFA statistics show 2.8% of Golden Retrievers are carriers or affected by this disorder and 10.1% of Poodles are carriers or affected by this disorder.

Poodles and Golden Retrievers carry this disease. It is important to test for this in any generation of Goldendoodle.

Two PRA-prcd genes = Affected

One PRA-prcd gene = Carrier

No PRA=prcd genes = Clear

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected

Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% Affected

Affected to Affected = 100% Affected

Testing facilities that test for PRA-prcd:

Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen

Animal Genetics

 

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is caused by a mutation of the SOD1 gene and is an inherited disorder. The average onset of this disorder is around 9 years old. This disease affects the white matter tissue of the spinal cord and is the canine equivalent of Lou Gehrig’s disease. These dogs will lose the ability to walk between 6 months to 2 years after onset of symptoms. It is inherited as a recessive trait. In order to avoid having dog affected with DM you need to test breeding dogs before breeding at a genetic testing facility. One parent always needs to be clear of DM.

OFA statistics show 2.3% of Golden Retrievers  and 10.1% of Poodles are either carriers or affected by this disorder.

Both Poodles and Golden Retrievers can carry this disease.

Two DM genes = Affected by DM

One DM gene = DM carrier and will throw DM 50% of the time to offspring. Only breed a dog like this to a DM clear dog.

No DM genes = DM clear and will not throw it to any puppies. Can breed this dog to a DM carrier and not get DM affected puppies.

Examples of Crosses:

Clear to Clear = 100% Clear

Clear to Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier

Clear to At Risk/Affected = 100% Carrier

Carrier to Carrier = 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% At Risk/Affected

At Risk/Affected to Carrier = 50% Carrier, 50% At Risk/Affected

At Risk/Affected to At Risk/Affected = 100% At Risk/Affected

Testing facilities that test for DM:

Paw Print Genetics: Paw Print Genetics

Vetgen: Vetgen

Animal Genetics: Animal Genetics

DDC: DDC

Hybrid Vigour – What does this really mean?

What is Hybrid Vigour?

It is the improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring or the increased vigour or general health, resistance to disease, and other superior qualities that are often manifested in hybrid organisms, especially plants and animals.

So essentially, hybrid vigour means that by crossing two unrelated animals to each other, you are decreasing the relatedness and therefore the overlap of genetic issues that are brought on by inbreeding and line breeding.

Why do we care about inbreeding and line breeding? 

All breeds were originally formed by using a form or inbreeding or line breeding. This is how they were able to create breeds that all looked the same. They bred dogs together with common lineage to get dogs that looked a like, establishing a type. This amplified certain genes in these dogs to be more predictable in looks, the problem is it also amplified ‘bad’ genes. Fast forward many years you have breeders overbreeding popular sires, a closed registry not allowing any new blood and culling dogs for their colour and nothing to do with health or genetics. Now, you have dogs that are more and more closely related.

We have seen that the more inbreeding that takes place, the lower the sperm count in males is, the lower conception rates are, the lower the litter sizes are and the lower dogs lifespan’s are. This has been seen in many different species, but for some reason dog breeders still are having a hard time dealing with this. Golden Retrievers are a perfect example of this. In the 1970’s Golden Retrievers lived to be between 16-17 years old, now Golden Retrievers have a life span of 9-10 years old. This can be attributed to dogs being too closely related, which results in getting two ‘bad’ genes, since one gene has to come from each parent.

How does this apply to Goldendoodles?

Well, lets break this down.

Golden Retrievers struggle with the following diseases:
Hip Dysplasia
Elbow Dysplasia
Eye Disease
Heart Disease
PRA
Muscular Dystrophy
Degenerative Myelopathy
Ichthyosis
Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa
Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy

Poodles struggle with the following diseases:
Hip Dysplasia (not very common in Miniature Poodles, mostly found in Standard Poodles)
Eye Disease
Heart Disease
Patellar Luxation
Legge-Calve-Perthes
PRA
Von Willebrands Disease I
Von Willebrands Disease II
Gangliosidosis
Degenerative Myelopathy
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures

Okay, now that we have looked at the common diseases amongst the two parent breeds, we can take a look at the ones that over lap. So, Hip Dysplasia, Eye Disease, Heart Disease, Degenerative Myelopathy and PRA are all in common. This means that because they are common in both breeds, you will not get the beneficial effects of hybrid vigour with these diseases. Now, as for Elbow Dysplasia, Muscular Dystrophy, Degenerative Myelopathy, Ichthyosis, Patellar Luxation, Legge-Calve-Perthes, Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy, Gangliosidosis, Osteochondrodysplasia and Von Willebrands Disease I and II, you will see the health benefits of this cross.

What does this mean?

It is important to understand how most genetic diseases work. Most disorders are a result of a recessive gene. When you have dogs that are closely related, you are doubling up on genes too often and opening yourself up to more genetic disorders. This is one of the most common causes of disease among purebred dogs. It is important to breed ‘like’ to ‘like’ as, you want to breed for certain traits that you want exhibited in your breed, but in the process of breeding closely relates dogs together, we also having those recessive traits come to the surface more. This is why breeding Goldendoodles is considered healthier than the parent breeds because we have more genetic diversity in this cross and less doubling up of those genes that cause genetic issues.

So, shouldn’t health testing solve the problem?

Not entirely. We are able to identify many diseases now with genetic testing, but not all disorders that Poodles, Golden Retrievers or Goldendoodles are affected by have been identified. So, it is still very important to make sure that your dogs are not closely related, so no other disorders start effecting these breeds.

Do we lose hybrid vigour when we go past an F1 generation?

Yes and No. Yes, in theory the most hybrid vigour is achieved in a first generation because both parents are not closely related at all and there should be very little overlapping of genes. But, there is still more hybrid vigour in an F1b, F2b, F3 or Multigen, than there is in a purebred Golden or purebred Poodle. The only reason there could be less hybrid vigour in an F1b for instance than an F1 is there is Poodle on both sides, so you could see more overlapping of genes since the recessive genes could come from the Poodle side of both parent dogs.

Should we only breed F1’s then?

No, even though we know that a Golden and a Poodle bred together should not have much overlapping of genes and therefore should be healthier. There are many other things to consider when breeding Goldendoodles. Most F1’s are not good for allergy sufferers and are not usually non-shedding, both of which are not suitable for many families. Also, when breeding further generations you can selectively breed for specific traits in your breeding program and get more consistency, which is not found as often in an F1 generation. Also, even Multigenerational Goldendoodles still exhibit more hybrid vigour than a purebred does.

So, what is the solution?

We need to understand that the reason that a Poodle crossed with a Golden Retriever is healthier and has more hybrid vigour than a purebred Poodle or a purebred Golden Retriever is due to it not being closely related and therefore not having overlapping of ‘bad’ genes. So, it is not only better to breed two unrelated breeds together, but you should also use dogs from each of those breeds that are the most unrelated possible. This is also why when breeding you should track your bloodlines and make sure you are not breeding related dogs.

Are Goldendoodles always healthier than Poodles or Golden Retrievers?

No. When breeding a well bred, healthy Poodle to a well bred, healthy Golden Retriever, the Goldendoodle offspring should be healthier on average than both parent breeds. But, If you breed a poorly bred, not health tested Poodle to another poorly bred, not health tested Golden Retriever, you will not miraculously get healthy Goldendoodles. They may be healthier than their parents, but they won’t be healthier than a well bred, health tested Poodle or Golden Retriever from another line. Even though hybrid vigour does give a healthier outcome than the parents, if the parents are not healthy to begin with, you still won’t get a healthy puppy. It is always important to breed healthy parent breeds when producing Goldendoodles.

In Summary.

  • Golden doodles are healthier and tend to live longer than both Parent breeds due to hybrid vigour.
  • All Goldendoodle breeders should be testing for disease present in both breeds to make sure there is no overlapping of genetic disorders, just as you would if you are breeding the purebred parent.
  • Even though we lose some hybrid vigour when breeding past an F1 generation, we are still seeing more hybrid vigour than we would see in the purebred dog. You can continue to optimize the health benefits of hybrid vigour in these generations by using unrelated dogs in both breeds to continue the lines.
  • It is still important to breed past an F1 generation because we want more consistency in the Goldendoodle.
  • Hybrid vigour is not an excuse for using improperly bred parent dogs. To optimize hybrid vigour always select well bred, health tested parents to produce Goldendoodles.

Purebred or Crossbred? A Genetic Perspective

I get this question all the time. Why cross breed when there are pure-breds to meet every need?

First some background:

All breeds were started by selective inbreeding or line breeding. This is how they established very specific traits and a ‘type’. This makes all dogs from a purebred look and act a like. This is great for establishing a specific type and a dog bred for a specific need. Purebreds have closed registries and ultimately are having an increase of inbreeding co-efficient in most breeds with each generation, due to many factors including overuse of popular sires, breeding for a specific trait (ex. shorter and shorter noses) and the fact that no new genetics can be added to the gene pool due to a closed registry.

Why is this an issue?

When breeding dogs that are closely related together you are lessening the genetic diversity of the dog and perpetuating genetic disorders within the breed. By overlapping good trait, we are also overlapping the bad traits.

How?

Almost all genetic diseases are a result of recessive traits. Since it is a recessive trait, you need two copies of the genes in order to have the dog affected by the disease. With a diverse genetic pool the chances of those two recessive traits coming from both parents is very slim, but once you have related dogs bred together, your chances of overlapping genetics increases exponentially.

This is what we have genetic testing for though right?

Yes and No. Yes, genetic testing will help a lot with minimizing the genetic issues. We can test for many genetic diseases now and know specifically if the dog is affected, a carrier or clear of a genetic disorder. The problem though is we have not identified every disorder out there genetically. There are many common disorders that we simply do not have a test for. So, it is very important to still have as much genetic diversity as possible to minimize these issues.

So, now what?

It is important to look at many generations of your dog before breeding them. If possible look at at least 10 generations. Chances are in many breeds you will see overlapping of genetics in these generations. So, try to find dogs that are the least closely related as possible.

How does crossbreeding help?

Crossbreeding is a very easy way to increase genetic diversity. We see the positive effects in many breeds. It especially helps with disorders that are not found in both breeds as regularly. So, for instance with Goldendoodles, there are several disorders found in Golden Retrievers that are not found in Poodles, so you will see  less of those disorders because of the genetic diversity. This is described as hybrid vigour. Hybrid vigour is the tendency of an organism to have qualities superior to those of either parent.

When does crossbreeding not help?

If both breeds that are being bred together carry the same genetic issues, crossing them will not help eliminate those genetic disorders. For instance, if you are breeding Standard Goldendoodles, breeding a Golden Retriever to a Standard Poodle is not going to help decrease hip dysplasia, as both breeds are prone to it. But, you will see a decrease in other genetic issues with this cross.

Since crossbreeds tend to be healthier, does that mean I don’t have to health test?

Absolutely not! You should see a decrease in many health disorders and the chances of your dogs being affected by the disorders that are not common between the breeds will decrease, but we should always do as much as we can to minimize health issues within our breeds. Health testing is always important. If we have available tests that could affect our puppies, why not test? Test all available tests for both parent breeds is a good practice.

Does crossbreeding always mean healthier?

Crossbreeding alone does not automatically mean healthier. If you take an unhealthy dog of one breed and breed it to an unhealthy dog of another breed, does not mean you will miraculously get a healthy crossbred puppy. When crossbreeding it is still of utmost importance to make sure that both parents of either breed are healthy and good examples of their breed. If you wouldn’t breed them to another dog within their breed, you should not be breeding them to a dog in another breed and expect healthy puppies. That in itself is the reason why many crossbreeds are given a bad name. Many breeders out there are selling crossbreeds and since nobody asks about pedigree, conformation or health testing, we see vast inconsistency and poor breeding. With crossbreeds, health, temperament, conformation and pedigree are still of the utmost importance to ensure pure lines, consistency and overall health.

Why is pedigree important on a crossbred dog?

Without a pedigree, you have no way to prove what is in that dogs background. Your dog could have a completely different breed in its background with different health and temperament issues you are not even aware of or they could be severely inbred, causing extensive health issues, among other issues. It is still very important to track pedigree on a crossbreed. This allows us to keep track of lineage to ensure continued genetic diversity. It allows us to know what breeds are involved in the cross, so we are aware of potential health risks and can test appropriately for those health issues. It also makes sure that we are keeping the desired temperament and conformation that we are looking for. Dogs can and do throw back genetically to more than just their parents. It is always important to know many generations of your dog lineage.

So what does this mean overall?

Crossbreeding is a great method of increasing genetic diversity. You will see a decrease naturally of genetic issues due to this. But, crossbreeding is never a substitution for poor quality breeding stock. We should always pick pedigreed, health tested and conformationally sound parents with excellent temperaments to produce crossbred puppies. When done correctly, you should see healthier dogs with longer lifespans.

Health Testing Goldendoodles

Health testing is one of the tools that breeders use to produce the healthiest puppies possible.

These is a list of tests that should be done when breeding Goldendoodles.

For Golden Retrievers:
Degenerative Myelopathy,
Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa,
Ichthyosis,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 1,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 2,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration,
Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy,
Hip Dysplasia,
Elbow Dysplasia,
and Heart Disease.

For Poodles:
Degenerative Myelopathy,
GM2 Gangliosidosis,
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures,
Osteochondrodysplasia,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy,
Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration,
Von Willebrand disease I,
Von Willebrand disease II,
Hip Dysplasia,
Elbow Dysplasia,
and Heart Disease.

For Goldendoodles:
Degenerative Myelopathy,
Ichthyosis,
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 1,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 2,
Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration,
Von Willebrand disease I,
Von Willebrand disease II,
Hip Dysplasia,
Elbow Dysplasia,
and Heart Disease.

Note: DM, ICH, NEWS, PRA-1, PRA-2, PRA-PRCD, vWD I and II, OCD, GM2, SAN and DEB are all DNA tests, so we can know with assurance whether or not puppies will be affected by any of these disorders. Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia and Heart disease on the other hand are not as easy to eliminate from a breeding program. Hips and Elbows are checked by taking x-rays of their hips and having them evaluated by a professional, whether that be through Penn Hip, Dr. Wallace or OFA. These are very subjective tests, that can come out with different results depending on who takes the films. They are still useful to eliminate obvious hip issues, but are not the only tool that breeders use to evaluate a dog hip wise. You can breed two Excellent rated dogs together and get a dysplastic puppy, this is why you should evaluate an entire pedigree for hips, not just the parents. All of our dogs will either have their hips rated and passed or will have atleast 4 generations of all Good and Excellent rated hips. Same goes for Elbows. It is important to know that only 25% of hip dysplasia is genetic, most often it is environmental. This is why it is so important to keep your dogs slim and not overweight!

Descriptions of these Diseases:

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy caused by Mutation of the SOD1 gene is an inherited neurologic disorder of dogs. This mutation is found in many breeds of dog, including the golden retriever. While it is not clear for some of the other breeds, golden retrievers are known to develop degenerative myelopathy associated with this mutation. The variable presentation between breeds suggests that there are environmental or other genetic factors responsible for modifying disease expression. The average age of onset for dogs with degenerative myelopathy is approximately nine years of age. The disease affects the White Matter tissue of the spinal cord and is considered the canine equivalent to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) found in humans. Affected dogs usually present in adulthood with gradual muscle Atrophy and loss of coordination typically beginning in the hind limbs due to degeneration of the nerves. The condition is not typically painful for the dog, but will progress until the dog is no longer able to walk. The gait of dogs affected with degenerative myelopathy can be difficult to distinguish from the gait of dogs with hip dysplasia, arthritis of other joints of the hind limbs, or intervertebral disc disease. Late in the progression of disease, dogs may lose fecal and urinary continence and the forelimbs may be affected. Affected dogs may fully lose the ability to walk 6 months to 2 years after the onset of symptoms. Affected medium to large breed dogs, such as the golden retriever, can be difficult to manage and owners often elect euthanasia when their dog can no longer support weight in the hind limbs.

Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB) is a hereditary skin disease affecting Golden Retrievers. Clinical signs of DEB are present at birth. Affected dogs have fragile skin that is easily damaged from rubbing or trauma resulting in blisters, ulcers and scarring of the skin. Areas that are most prone to blisters are the face, foot pads, genital areas and ears. In addition, affected dogs will develop blisters and ulcers inside the mouth and in the esophagus. Ulcerations of the skin and mucous membranes are painful and can become infected. Blistering of the skin tends to cease at around 8 months of age however, ulcers of the mouth and esophagus persist into adulthood. Dogs with DEB are often smaller than littermates, likely due to difficulties eating.

Ichthyosis

Ichthyosis (Golden Retriever type) is an inherited condition of the skin affecting Golden Retrievers. The age of onset and severity of disease are highly variable, however most affected dogs present before one year of age with flaky skin and dull hair. Over time the skin develops a grayish color and appears thick and scaly, especially over the abdomen. The symptoms may progress to severe scaling all over the body, may improve with age, or may come and go over the dog’s lifetime. While the prognosis is generally good for affected dogs, they are at increased risk for skin infections.

GM2 Gangliosidosis

GM2 gangliosidosis is an inherited Lysosomal Storage Disorder affecting dogs. Affected dogs have insufficient activity of the Enzyme hexosaminidase B, which is responsible for breaking down specific carbohydrates in the cells. As a result, there is an accumulation of a glycoprotein, GM2 ganglioside, in cells, especially cells of the brain and nervous system. Affected dogs typically present with symptoms of neurologic disease around 9 to 12 months of age. Symptoms include vision loss, difficulties walking, loss of balance, head tremors and vomiting. Once an affected dog begins to show signs of the disease, the disease progression is rapid and dogs usually die between the ages of 18 and 23 months.

Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures

Neonatal encephalopathy with seizures is an inherited neurologic disease known to affect Standard Poodles. Affected puppies are smaller than littermates at birth, have difficulty nursing after a few days of life, and often die by 1 week of age. By 3 weeks of age, surviving puppies present with neurologic symptoms including muscle weakness, tremors, inability to walk, wide-based stance and frequent falling. The disease quickly progresses to severe seizures that become non-responsive to treatment. Affected dogs typically die or are euthanized by 7 weeks of age.

Osteochondrodysplasia

Osteochondrodysplasia is an inherited Musculoskeletal disease affecting Standard Poodles. Affected dogs typically present at about 3 weeks of age with stunted growth. Puppies often walk differently than unaffected littermates and stand with their feet turned out and hind legs splayed. Their legs are short and bent with enlarged joints and clubbed feet. They also have flatted rib cages and under bites, which can affect their ability to nurse and breathe. While affected dogs can survive for many years with supportive care, they will develop arthritis and will likely have breathing difficulty due to their deformed ribcages.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 1

Progressive retinal Atrophy, golden retriever 1 (GR-PRA1) is a late-onset inherited eye disease affecting golden retrievers. Affected dogs begin showing clinical symptoms related to retinal degeneration between 6 to 7 years of age on average, though age of onset can vary. Initial clinical signs of progressive retinal atrophy involve changes in reflectivity and appearance of a structure behind the Retina called the Tapetum that can be observed on a veterinary eye exam. Progression of the disease leads to thinning of the retinal blood vessels, signifying decreased blood flow to the retina. Affected dogs initially have vision loss in dim light (night blindness) and loss of peripheral vision, eventually progressing to complete blindness in most affected dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Golden Retriever Type 2

Progressive retinal Atrophy, golden retriever 2 (GR-PRA2) is a late-onset inherited eye disease affecting golden retrievers. Affected dogs begin showing clinical symptoms related to retinal degeneration at around 4 to 5 years of age on average, though age of onset can vary. Initial clinical signs of progressive retinal atrophy involve changes in reflectivity and appearance of a structure behind the Retina called the Tapetum that can be observed on a veterinary eye exam. Progression of the disease leads to thinning of the retinal blood vessels, signifying decreased blood flow to the retina. Affected dogs initially have vision loss in dim light (night blindness) and loss of peripheral vision, progressing to complete blindness in most affected dogs.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy – Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration

Progressive retinal Atrophy, progressive Rod-cone degeneration (PRA-prcd) is a late onset, inherited eye disease affecting Golden Retrievers. PRA-prcd occurs as a result of degeneration of both rod and cone type Photoreceptor Cells of the Retina, which are important for vision in dim and bright light, respectively. Evidence of retinal disease in affected dogs can first be seen on an Electroretinogram around 1.5 years of age for most breeds, but most affected Golden Retrievers will not show signs of vision loss until 5 to 6 years of age or later. The rod type cells are affected first and affected dogs will initially have vision deficits in dim light (night blindness) and loss of peripheral vision. Over time affected dogs continue to lose night vision and begin to show visual deficits in bright light. Other signs of progressive retinal atrophy involve changes in reflectivity and appearance of a structure behind the retina called the Tapetum that can be observed on a veterinary eye exam. Although there is individual and breed variation in the age of onset and the rate of disease progression, the disease eventually progresses to complete blindness in most dogs. Other inherited disorders of the eye can appear similar to PRA-prcd. Genetic testing may help clarify if a dog is affected with PRA-prcd or another inherited condition of the eye.

Von Willebrand disease I

Von Willebrand disease I (VWDI) is an inherited bleeding disorder affecting Standard Poodles. Dogs affected with VWDI have less than half of the normal level of von Willebrand coagulation factor (vWf), which is an essential protein needed for normal blood clotting. There is variability in the amount of vWf such that not all dogs with two copies of the Mutation are equally affected. Dogs that have less than 35% of the normal amount of vWf generally have mild to moderate signs of a bleeding disorder. Affected dogs may bruise easily, have frequent nosebleeds, bleed from the mouth when juvenile teeth are lost, and experience prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma. Less often, the bleeding may be severe enough to cause death. Due to the variable severity of the disorder, affected dogs may not be identified until a surgery is performed or trauma occurs at which time excessive bleeding is noted. Veterinarians performing surgery on known affected dogs should have ready access to blood banked for transfusions. Most dogs will have a normal lifespan with this condition despite increased blood clotting times.

Von Willebrand disease II

Von Willebrand disease type II (VWDII) is an inherited bleeding disorder affecting dogs. Dogs affected with VWDII have decreased levels and abnormal function of von Willebrand coagulation factor (vWf), which is an essential protein needed for normal blood clotting. Affected dogs generally have moderate to severe signs of a bleeding disorder. Affected dogs may bruise easily, have frequent nosebleeds, bleed from the mouth when juvenile teeth are lost and experience prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma. The bleeding may be severe enough to cause death. Due to variable severity of the disorder, affected dogs may not be identified until a surgery is performed or trauma occurs at which time excessive bleeding is noted. Veterinarians performing surgery on known affected dogs should have ready access to blood banked for transfusions. Dogs can have a normal lifespan with this condition although they are susceptible to life-threatening bleeding with an accidental injury or any surgical procedure.

Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy
​​
Sensory ataxic neuropathy is an inherited neurologic condition affecting Golden Retrievers. Affected dogs typically present between 2 to 8 months of age with signs of neurologic disease. Symptoms include a lack of muscle coordination, abnormal gait and difficulty balancing especially affecting the hind limbs. Muscle mass appears normal and the condition does not appear to be painful. Although the disease progresses slowly, dogs are often humanely euthanized before three years of age.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a terrible genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation.

The very first step in the development of arthritis is articular cartilage (the type of cartilage lining the joint) damage due to the inherited bad biomechanics of an abnormally developed hip joint. Traumatic articular fracture through the joint surface is another way cartilage is damaged. With cartilage damage, lots of degradative enzymes are released into the joint. These enzymes degrade and decrease the synthesis of important constituent molecules that form hyaline cartilage called proteoglycans. This causes the cartilage to lose its thickness and elasticity, which are important in absorbing mechanical loads placed across the joint during movement. Eventually, more debris and enzymes spill into the joint fluid and destroy molecules called glycosaminoglycan and hyaluronate which are important precursors that form the cartilage proteoglycans. The joint’s lubrication and ability to block inflammatory cells are lost and the debris-tainted joint fluid loses its ability to properly nourish the cartilage through impairment of nutrient-waste exchange across the joint cartilage cells. The damage then spreads to the synovial membrane lining the joint capsule and more degradative enzymes and inflammatory cells stream into the joint. Full thickness loss of cartilage allows the synovial fluid to contact nerve endings in the subchondral bone, resulting in pain. In an attempt to stabilize the joint to decrease the pain, the animal’s body produces new bone at the edges of the joint surface, joint capsule, ligament and muscle attachments (bone spurs). The joint capsule also eventually thickens and the joint’s range of motion decreases.

No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. There are multiple environmental factors such as caloric intake, level of exercise, and weather that can affect the severity of clinical signs and phenotypic expression (radiographic changes). There is no rhyme or reason to the severity of radiographic changes correlated with the clinical findings. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic radiographic changes that are severely lame.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow of dogs. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:

Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)
Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)
Ununited anconeal process (UAP)

Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.

Heart Disease:

​Congenital heart disease in dogs are malformations of the heart or great vessels. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at brith and may develop more fully during perinatal and growth periods. Many congenital heart defects are thought to be genetically transmitted from parents to offspring; however, the exact modes of inheritance have not been precisely determined for all cardiovascular malformations.