Q & A's
The last week or so I've had some interesting inquiries. The first was an email asking me about the BVA - CM / SM scheme and their Suggested breeding recommendations for CM/SM. The lady has a Cavalier bitch that has been graded CM 2, SM 1c and on the breeding recommendations, she should be looking to breed her with a dog graded SM 0a or 1a. The letter beside a grade indicates the ages that the scan has been taken between. So her bitch being 1c, the c would indicate her bitch is between 1 to 3 years old and the 1 indicates that her bitch has a Dilated Central Canal (CCD). Often CCD can be benign and progresses no further and causes no problems, but with the presence of CM it can be the precursor to the dog progressing to having symptomatic SM.
The lady was struggling to find a Cavalier dog graded 0a or 1a and had found a stud dog with a grade for SM of 0c and the stud dog owner thought with his knowledge of the parents of his stud dog, that breeding them would not be a problem. She was asking my opinion on this potential mating.
Now it is very hard to give advice without a full history of both dogs including the parents of each dog, but for me having a Cavalier before 3 years old with a grade for SM 1c, which is on the spectrum for SM, I would not breed from them at that time and wait until they are just over 3 years old and re-scan again, If the SM has not progressed further and the Cavalier remains graded 1 for SM still, so SM 1b this starts to look more favorable towards the CCD being stable and maybe benign. The scheme is realistic in what it is trying to achieve with CM/SM without more genetic reduction in an already small gene pool, an improvement in time onset and non-symptomatic for SM.
Anyway I tried to be diplomtic in my reply, because personally I think the Stud dog owner is being irresponsible encouraging breeding from any Cavalier graded 1c.
"Hello Cavalier bitch owner,
I don't know the age of your bitch, just that she is between 1-3 years old. Personally I would never breed from a bitch graded 1c, I would wait and have her re scanned at just over three years old and if her grade remains at 1 at over 3 years old, so being a 1b. I would then consider breeding from her, but at the moment she is on the spectrum for SM and you don't know whether her SM is progressive or stable. If you are looking to breed only one litter from her, it would not hurt to check her again when she is just over three years old and take it from there. Fertility starts to wane in purebreed dogs around 5 to 6 years old, so still plenty of time for her to be bred from at three years old.
I don't like advising people about breeding their dogs, because most times they don't like what I have to say. The is just my thoughts on it, but obviously it is up to you what you do.
Hope this helps.
She did reply, thanking me for my advice. I just have to hope that she is prepared to wait.
The next inquiry was also by email and the person had just got a Cavapoo and was asking me advice on what to feed their puppy and had read a blog I did about dog food I fed my dogs and wanted to know why I did not feed a certain brand of dog food. Now feeding dogs has become a real hornets nest, as so many things are made these days. Recent research has shown that dogs may have the capabilities to digest starch Starchy Diets May Have Given Ancient Dogs a Paw Up, but like humans I suspect some dogs have more of a genetic capability than others to digest starch. Personally I think most dry dog foods are okay for the majority of dogs, but some dogs with more problems digesting starch etc, will need a lower starch dog food. This will be found out by trial and error. I tend to stir away from dog foods over 40% meat, as I find these cause diarrhea in my dogs. My reply about dog food for the ladies pup,
"Sorry, but you would be best to ask the breeder of your pup for advice on what to feed, as they will know what the pup has been fed on before you got it.
It has recently came to light that dogs posses the enzymes to break done starch, so I would not be so worried about grain. I find above 40% meat content caused a number of our dogs to have very loose stools. My advice to anyone is no more than 40% meat content, not to high in fat, sugar or salt content. Most dry food complete diets contain more than enough for a domestic dog to survive on. If your dog has a bit of a dodgy stomach, I have had good fed back for Lily's Kitchen for dogs that are fussy eaters or have delicate stomachs. This dry food is a premium dry dog food product.
Unfortunately a lot of snobbery and guilt has been attached to feeding dogs. Find the food your dog like and go with it. I chop and change my dogs food to give them a bit of variety. A good tip for a tasty low cal treat is bits of raw carrot. Most dogs like raw carrot and it is good for them. My dog also love eating the core of peppers, which are good for them.
Hope this is of some help.
She then came back asking further information and telling me the advice the breeder of her pup had given her and I replied,
I'm not sure why you are asking my advice on a dog food, when the breeder of your pup has already advised you on what to feed. If the pup was eating Millie's wolfheart when you picked it up and was doing okay on it I would imagine it would probably do the job. A breeder should give you a couple weeks supply of puppy food when you pick them up. If your pup is doing okay on what your breeder gave you when you picked your pup up. I would stick with that myself, unless there was a problem with getting that dog food in the area you are.
Now you might sense a little annoyance in the last reply, because I am wondering why they are asking me about puppy food, when the breeder of the pup (which was not me), it has transpired has given advice on food to feed the pup and I'm not a dog food specialist.
The last inquiry was someone who rang me and has a Cavapoo puppy that they have put a deposit on and have yet to see. It has turned three weeks old and the breeder has noticed that it is undershot. She wanted to know if I thought this would be a problem for the pup and with insurance etc. Now it is really hard to make any judgement without seeing the pup. The lady had been sent a photo of the undershot mouth and described what she saw. It sounded like the pup was mildly undershot and I said, that sometimes if very mildly undershot at this age, it can correct with their second teeth, as a the lower jaw grows slightly faster than the upper jaw, but I stressed it may not correct with second teeth. The breeder has been honest and as some breeds being extremely undershot is part of the breed look, it would not be that much of a problem with insuring the pup. The pups are being vet checked before leaving, so she could ask to speak to her vet after this has been done, to see what the vet thinks about the level of undershot jaw with the pup. I also suggested her showing a vet she knows, the photo she has been sent of the pups jaw to put her mind at rest.
Being slightly undershot is not a major issue for a dog, but the best arrangement for teeth in a dog is a scissor bite, as the teeth interact correctly from both jaws. The problems that can occur with any other type of bite is the teeth not fitting well together when the jaw is shut, making chewing less efficient, so more prone to tartar build up and often the bad fit will mean that the dog will need to have teeth removed so that it can comfortably bit and close its teeth together.
I try to answer all inquiries even when they are about pups I have not bred. Maybe I should start a 'Dog Agony Aunt' service.
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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!