Primrose visited the vet this morning and he agreed with me, that the eye is doing well and will heal without the need for surgical intervention. Photos below of her eye show reduction of clouding of the eye and blood vessels in situ healing the corneal ulcer caused by a scratch injury to the cornea.
This morning at the vets, the results of Henry's hip scoring had arrived and the vet gave them to me and it's not the best news (caught me slightly broadside), because for his breed his score is above the Breed Mean and Median. It is advised to breed from dogs below the Breed mean and Median.
Now when the vet showed me this and I looked at his x-ray of his hips (I am trying to get a copy of the x-ray, I have found in the past difficulty in getting them from vets, maybe due to the fact that some might be dishonest and an x-ray may not be used with the dog it was of and dare I say, it also is to stop you getting a second opinion on it without going back through the BVA scheme). I did not think the subluxation was as severe as the score reflects. I have seen a lot of x-rays, grading is slightly subjective and is not an exact science, personally I think the right hip is more a low 2 and the left hip is a low 3 for subluxation. The score is out of 0 to 6 for subluxation, giving a dog a score of 4 is inferring a two third subluxation of the head of the femur outside the socket, which looking at it as a lay person, this cannot be seen. The femur head on both hips looks fully and normally formed and the sockets are well formed and not shallow everything looks tight although there is some subluxation.
To understand Henry's grades and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Hip scoring system you will need to read the following links,
or go to the BVA website at www.bva.co.uk click on Canine Health Schemes, then click on Hip Scheme.
Hope you are up to speed because you will need to read all of the above to fully understand hip dysplasia and the grading of it with the BVA.
Looking at the x-ray with the vet, with the grades, his reaction is that he has to recommend not breeding from him by the BVA recommendations and adds, often people still breed although the dog has not been graded that favourably within it's breed. My reflex reaction at the time was to say, "Looks like I'll be bringing him in to be castrated, as I should not breed from him then." I asked what he thought his chances are of developing symptomatic problems of hip dysplasia and he said, " looking at the x-ray he would not be surprised, if he never had any symptoms, not even in old age" and leaving the surgery with getting my head around things, what the vet last said, made me wonder that I might of reacted with haste in my righting off of Henry being bred with Smudge, so home to the computer and to try and get some clarity on what is something sitting in the grey area for me.
Can I justify breeding from Henry because other breeds the bar is set lower, can I get that one past you ?
Breeding Henry and Smudge together is not trying to get anything by anyone. Henry has some subluxation and has slight exostosis (benign outgrowth of cartilaginous tissue on a bone), which is only just noticeable on the x-ray. If you look at his grade compared on the other schemes he falls on the OFA under Fair to Mild and between a 3 to 9 in Switzerland and 0 to 1 in Sweden looking at both hips individually, although as the BVA state, these grades can be misleading in comparing. Using words though to define grading I think can sometimes be better than using numbers, because being told your dog has "severe hip dysplasia" tells you straight, rather than with a Bulldog being given a grade of 40 which with the OFA you would be told is "Severe", but on the BVA scheme that looks okay within it's breed, might see a lot more consideration taken in breeding, because one of the worst sayings in pure breeding is, "For his/her breed that's good or normal." The BVA scheme seems to be proliferating that ideology, "it's okay within the breed" rather than dispelling it with hip grading.
In life we have black and white, when things fall in these areas, the decisions is made for you and life is simple, but when something falls into the grey area things get complicated and sometimes you may make a call others will look at and think you mad or a genius (that's if the call turns out a good one).
Hip Dysplasia has a white area and a very black area, then it has a lot of grey area. I have to decide with Henry how much into the grey area he is.
He is nearly two years old and shows no outer symptoms of hip dysplasia. He has very good muscle formation in his hind quarters, down his legs to the hocks and is a very active dog, that loves to run and jump. He shows no weakness in his back end when rising or moving. The subluxation may be partly down to the fact that Henry has been a very active dog and I see that it is advised with some breeds that are prone to severe hip dysplasia to keep them crated whilst still growing and if given the choice between a dog kept crated and a high chance of behavioral problems due to such restriction or mild hip dysplasia, I will go for mild hip dysplasia every time. If you are crating dogs for the best time of their youth, due to the high chance of developing hip dysplasia, you have to question breeding such dogs. A dog at two that has no hip dysplasia because it has been crated for the best part of its life, is it a better breeding proposition than a dog that has been very active with mild hip dysplasia ?
I found an interesting blog whilst researching hip dysplasia called, 'Just another backyard breeder' and her entry on the 25th January 2013 is interesting about hip dysplasia and the grading schemes in her country,
Looking at the BVA grading system for hip dysplasia is funny as we do not put dogs on a level playing field and the grade is supposed to be looked at within it's breed and that is where I struggle, because surely bad hips is bad hips but if Henry was a Neapolitan Mastiff he would be seen as well within the parameters to breed from by the BVA and if Henry was a Bulldog or Otterhound he could have double the hip score and be in the parameters of recommendation to bred from by the BVA. So if a Otterhound or Bulldog he could actually be symptomatic and within the recommendations by the BVA to be bred from, no wonder those breeds are in such trouble. The other thing with the Neapolitan Mastiff, Bulldog and Otterhound are these are heavy breeds, so if diagnosed with any level of hip dysplasia the likelihood of it progressing to a painful symptomatic stage is higher than in a lighter built dog like a Brittany. For me looking at the BVA grading system, it seems to not be serving dogs equally, but I know why there is always this softly softly approach, because if you set the bar to high or equal for all dogs, some breeds would lose so many dogs from the breed, that a risk of breeding other genetic problems into the breed becomes even higher, so for now the Kennel Club and the BVA will support the breeding from dogs with symptomatic signs of hip dysplasia, it looks like. A dog falling anywhere near 45, surely for most of us falls into the black area and to think I'm worrying about breeding from a dog with a score of 20, when a Bulldog breeder is still recommended to breed from a dog graded 45 and under.
The chart below is data up until 1/11/2011 and I rung the BVA today after getting the results for some advice and was told that they have just updated this chart and are yet to publish it on the website. The Mean for the Brittany is now 18 and the Median is now 15, so this scheme in three years of data has lowered the bar for the Brittany rather than heightened it, which surely is not how a health scheme should work ? Will be interesting to take a look at this updated data for all breeds, when they get round to putting it up on their website.
It is thought over fifty percent of larger breeds have some level of hip dysplasia, interesting reading is this article on hip dysplasia http://www.provet.co.uk/health/diseases/hip%20dysplasia.htm
After having an information overload today, I have made the decision to go ahead with mating Henry with Smudge.
To me looking at all evidence, I can find, to breed Smudge with Henry is a healthier option than breeding her with a Cavalier and more to gain than lose. Henry being bred to a smaller breed looking at the evidence available should more likely see improvement in the hips than to worsen them. I could go on but I must get to bed. I will finish on why I'm breeding this litter and simple, it is for myself, selfish I know, but true and if it goes well and they arrive safely, I would keep each pup if I could. I've made the call and so, on my own head be it.
“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!