There are so many things a breeder can test for ( I have posted some issues on this page). Lets take Hips and Elbows for instance: Parents can be OFA good, Offspring - can still have hip problems. Right now, testing does not guarantee and certainly does not " cure" hip dysplasia in bloodlines. Long ago breeders didn't have the option to test.. They bred the fur babies they had and that is what gave us our lines and pedigrees today. Due to the past I feel that issues that may arise will always in some way be there due to the dogs of the past.....Health screening is only a key that the dogs being bred do not have issues, however it does not mean they are not carriers....... There is still too much unknown. Many factors do play a role in a puppies development, feeding, activity , living situations, and hereditary. I believe no breeder can guarentee a puppy will stay free of any issues in their lives however I feel that a good breeder should stand behind their pups 100% and be their for their puppy buyers.
As a puppy buyer.. you need to decide how important this is to you and what you will want and expect if you purchase a puppy that ends up with hip problems or any other health issues at that.. Make sure in your search in looking for a fur baby, the breeder you go with is there for you for the life of the puppy and will back the puppy up if something should arise.
Bloat (Gastric Torsion):
A condition where a build up of air or stomach contents that cannot be passed through the intestines. This is LIFE THREATENING and requires immediate medical attention from your vet. It may lead to the twisting of the stomach. Bloat (Gastric torsion) may cause a painful death in a matter of minutes! Rapid diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian is essential to save the life of your dog. Dogs that have bloated and survived are at high risk for a recurrence of this condition.
The exact cause of bloat is not known. It does seem to occur mostly within a few hours of eating or drinking, especially if the dog has been exercised shortly after the meal or is a rapid, gulping eater. Other causes of bloat are (but not limited to) overeating, intestinal blockage , traumatic injury, or physical stress (whelping, vomiting, etc).
A current trend to elevate the food bowl can worsen bloat occurance by allowing the dog to gulp more air as it eats.
Indications of bloat include abdominal distention (tight/bloated stomach), restlessness, excessive drooling or panting, retching without actually vomiting, and/or watery diarrhea.
Condition where the lens of the eye becomes clouded impairing the vision. The degree of vision loss depends upon the size and location of the cataract within the eye. Cataracts may also cause a lens protein to leak into the eye, resulting in an immune reaction and inflammation of the eye. Surgical replacement of the affected lens is the only method to restore vision.
Cataracts can be a result of old age, disease or trauma to the eye, or be congenital (before birth).
Coat funk is a coat disorder characterized by the breaking and eventual loss of the guard coat. The hair does not grow back and will eventually give the affected dogs body a woolly lamb appearance. Males are usually affected, but cases of affected females or only a loss of undercoat have been reported.
Coat funk appears to be a problem with the hair follicle cycle where the normal cycle of shed & regrowth halts. The hair becomes brittle with age, coat breaks off and lost hair is not replaced. Lab tests such as thyroid level and skin scrapings will appear normal.
Symptoms of coat funk first appear around 2-3 years of age, but may not attract much concern by owners until the severity increases. Initial signs of the disorder are coat breakage around the collar, tail, and hair stress points such as the haunches and buttocks. Eventually this pattern of broken coat will spread to the rest of the body.
Affected dogs appear normal in all other respects, and can lead full and happy lives. However, care must be given to protect them from weather elements including, cold or wet weather, excessive exposure to sun or wind, etc.
Common name for a coat that has a strong chronic odor. Characterized by a sour smell and returns within a few days of bathing. Little is known about the cause of this condition, but may be linked in some instances to a border line thyroid problem. Other suspected causes are vitamin or mineral deficiencies and allergies.
Occasional (non chronic) strong coat odor can be caused by a fungal or bacterial growth in the undercoat. In these instances, the undercoat has become wet from bathing, swimming, etc and was either improperly or incompletely dried.
A retinal disorder causing an inability to see objects and determine distances during exposure to daylight. An affected dog may have partial or normal vision under low light conditions such as night and evenings, or at dusk, when indoors, or during overcast days. The severity of the disorder varies in each dog affected.
Day blindness does not worsen over time and may be detected in puppies less than two months old. There is no known effective treatment at this time. Affected dogs should be monitored and their activities restricted during daylight hours.
Dwarfism also known as Chondrodysplasia:
A genetic condition involving the development of the growth plates in the legs, resulting in stunted or deformed growth. It is most noticeable in the forelegs which can become short, squat, and bow inward under the body. An effected dwarf may be barely able to walk or seem almost normal, depending on the severity of the condition.
Elbow Dysplasia is a condition that involves the improper development of the small bones in the elbow, which do not grow together as they should. This results in lameness, poor extension of the elbow, pain and swelling.
The cause of this abnormality is not known. Surgery may alleviate the condition as long as arthritis has not developed in the elbow.
Is a condition in where the socket of the hip joint will be deformed or too shallow, allowing the rounded end of the thigh bone to separate from the socket. In most cases the rounded ball end of the thigh bone will be abnormally flattened and the neck of the bone may show signs of thickening. This condition can also be caused from the hip ligaments or muscles not having enough control over the hip during movement (i.e., trauma to the hip area during development).
Most breeds are at risk and especially the larger dogs. This is probably due to the greater weight of the body and the associated greater stress to the joints. Dogs with hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but the condition will usually manifest itself within the first two years. The more severe the hip joint abnormality... generally the sooner it will become apparent.
Hip dysplasia may vary from mildly abnormal development to complete hip dislocation. The severity of the condition may also be influenced by too rapid growth, overfeeding (over nutrition), or excessive exercise. It is usually painful and interferes with proper movement and activity levels, depending upon the severity.
Diagnosis is made by X-raying the hip joint. Treatment depends upon the severity of hip deformity. Mild cases may require the dog to be on a life-long prescription of pain medication. Surgery to reconstruct or replace the hip joint may be required in more severe cases or as the hip joint wears with age. In severely dysplastic cases the dog may require euthanasia (death).
Hypothyroidism is a disorder caused by the deficiency of a thyroid hormone that is marked by a low metabolic rate. Usually caused by the destruction of the thyroid gland from an immune process, atrophy or cancer. Hypothyroidism is the most common of hormone disorders in dogs, and Malamutes are one of the breeds that appear to be at increased risk.
Some signs of hypothyroidism include mental dullness, avoidance/intolerance to exercise, general lethargy, weight gain without increased food intake, slow or poor coordination, seizures, as well as reproductive, coat (dry, dull, loss, slow regrowth) and skin problems (dry/scaley).
Symptoms may be gradual and subtle, and usually appear between two and six years of age. Treatment consists of hormone replacement therapy, which must continue throughout the dog's life, and recovery to a normal lifestyleis excellent.
Inflammation of the sensory and motor nerve fibers resulting in nerve damage and progressive muscle weakness. Characterized by gradual onset and slow progression of symptoms. The earliest indications may be a change in voice, difficulty in swallowing, or regurgitation of food. Further signs are uncoordinated movement, trembling muscles, loss of balance and eventual paralysis of the legs.
Some known or suspected causes include physical trauma, dysfunctional immune system, drug or chemical toxicity, heavy metal toxicity (lead, copper, zinc, etc), metabolic diseases (hypothyroidism, diabetes, etc), and cancer.
Treatment is dependent upon the underlying cause of the condition. Recovery will depend upon the degree of nerve damage involved. The specific cause in many dogs may not be identifiable and no effective therapy available. In cases suspected to be hereditary, most dogs will eventually recover on their own. However, these dogs will not fully recover to their pre-polyneuropathic condition and will require some form of invalid care in the meantime.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA & CPRA
Is a degenerative condition of the retina which causes impaired vision and slow or incomplete light reaction by the pupil. (Note: The retina is the deepest of three main tissue layers which make up the inner wall at the back of the eye.) Normally the condition appears between the ages of four and eight years old. There are two types of progressive retinal atrophy, general (PRA) and central (CPRA).
PRA is the more common type of retinal atrophy and affects the photoreceptor area of the retina. CPRA is similar to PRA, but affects the retinal layer beneath the photoreceptive area. Symptoms may be subtle at first, including a reluctance to go outside at night, staying near lighted areas or their owner, difficulty in tracking a moving object, reluctance to climb stairs, or misjudging indoor jumps.
Initial onset is characterized by night blindness (poor vision in dim lighting) and normal vision in the daylight. Progression of the disorder eventually leads to loss of day vision and later total blindness. In the final stages the pupil does not react to strong light and is widely dilated. Cataracts are not uncommon. There is no known effective treatment.
Is a condition which is a failure of proper support to the vertebrae area and affects the spinal cord in the hip area. Found mostly in large breeds or sometimes in long backed breeds. This is a fatal condition which usually progresses slowly, but in some cases can cripple a dog in less than a day. Onset is normally between three and twelve months of age. The exact cause is not known, however displacement of vertebrae due to a long neck, overfeeding , and too rapid growth is suspect in influencing the condition.
Characterized by a progressive lack of coordination in the hindquarters due to very weak & unsupportive leg muscles and a palsy-like shaking of the head. As the condition continues, the front quarters become affected and the rear will eventually become completely unsupportive, quadriplegic. The condition is frequently extremely painful.
Diagnosis is by X-ray. Treatment consists of surgery to alleviate displacement/deformity of the vertebrae. Acute cases respond best to surgery, slowly progressive cases the least.