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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve been looking at breeders trying to find a litter with the best chance at health....ie being scrupulous and combing through their clearances.

I’ve been in touch with a couple breeders who are offering litters with one parent having grade 1 DJD in one elbow. They either say that there’s been an injury or they want to continue the line of a champion etc.

I don’t know what to think. These breeders are considered reputable and responsible from what I read and have good reviews.

Am I gambling with the health of my puppy?
Should I run?

Thanks for your advice!
 

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I wouldn’t gamble unless your looking at field or agility champions and the OFAs were done at a later age because the dogs truly had accomplishments that made the owners want to do the breeding in order to continue the line.

Your looking at multiple breeders with this same situation?

Post the registered names of the parents and let the experts here help. Elbows are worse then hips IMO.
 

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Kate
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If they are breeding dogs with elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia - they need to have a guarantee of full puppy $$$$ back if your pup develops either elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia. No excuses (your dog ran up a hill so it's your fault does NOT work). No demands (you keep your dog, they give full puppy price back).

Period.

Breeders can protect themselves when breeding by only selecting dogs who have full clearances.

If they breed dogs who failed hips, failed elbows, failed in some way with eyes or heart - they have to be held accountable if something goes wrong.
 

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This is a tough issue since the OFA is fairly inconsistent in terms of what constitutes a grade I. Have either of the dogs you are considering had a CT to determine if there was actually DJD?
 

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I wouldn't simply because my dogs are expected to work.
 

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FWIW, I have a dog with Bilateral Grade 1 elbow dysplasia (DJD) who does hunt, tracking, dock diving, and plays ball. Grade 1 does not always equal any kind of deficiency or pain. She's never had any symptoms, and I do a lot to try to prevent any from developing (water treadmill therapy, supplements, Cartrophen). She came from fully cleared parents, btw.

I would not breed her. I know that opinion is out on Grade 1 ED - there is some speculation that this is just how some dogs' elbows are made (especially the ones who are never symptomatic). But until the science is firm or the OFA changes the way it rates elbows (maybe one day, Shala's elbows wouldn't be considered dysplastic), I would not be taking a chance of adding a weakness into the gene pool.
 

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Kate
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FWIW, I have a dog with Bilateral Grade 1 elbow dysplasia (DJD) who does hunt, tracking, dock diving, and plays ball. Grade 1 does not always equal any kind of deficiency or pain. She's never had any symptoms, and I do a lot to try to prevent any from developing (water treadmill therapy, supplements, Cartrophen). She came from fully cleared parents, btw.
If you are getting a pet who will be kept lean all his/her life - OK. Gamble away.

But if you are getting a dog that you want to have a normal sporting breed life - doing all the hiking, running, playing, dog sports stuff... sky is the limit... it's too much a gamble when one of the parents has a failed elbow.

And fwiw - I've heard people speculating that elbow dysplasia skips generations. That's actually a good reason if any not to buy a dog if one of the grandparents is missing elbow clearances. Because who knows.... :(

My experience with elbow dysplasia was a dog who at 5-8 months was in so much pain he couldn't make it from one side of a room to the other without stopping and sitting up to get weight off his front legs.

This was a dog who if he had good days in his life - he paid for them by being sore the next morning.

This was a dog who was brilliant in training. He could have done anything in obedience - because he was a very good boy in the obedience ring.

He learned all agility basics and was ready to compete (if I wanted to) in less than 6 months.

He also took 1 field class and was a better working dog than actual field bred dogs (including labs and GSP's). There was no priming him to do anything. He did all the retrieves perfectly without any questioning or hesitation.

But this dog couldn't do all the things I wished he could have because of those darn elbows.

In his case, both his parents had cleared elbows. But he was born at a time when elbow dysplasia was not understood to be hereditary. So grandparents could have been dysplastic. We don't know.

I do know that he had littermates put down because they had bad elbows and hips.

In his case, his elbows were Grade III and so swollen as a young dog that the xrays were unclear and disputed by many vets.

Personally speaking, I've seen breeders hemming and hawing about breeding dogs with elbow dysplasia and I am divided between thinking they will regret increasing possibility of ED in their lines.... and also in some cases, it's breeders who don't plan on keeping any puppies. Or they don't do anything with the dogs but breed and breed and breed.

Me personally - even if there is a CT scan, the science is too unknown and new about that being a definitive... that I'd keep going and find a different litter. Because it is still too much a gamble in my eyes.

When you have breeders deliberately breeding dogs with elbow dysplasia (or hip dysplasia, or serious issues with the eyes, or something else) I think they leave themselves open to criticism and accusation. I'm just saying. And I think it's fair for puppy people to hold them accountable in those cases.

Obviously, if both parents had full clearances - the breeders can demonstrate they dotted all the i's and crossed all the T's and it's bad luck. But they can't demonstrate the same if they gambled by breeding a dog who failed one or more clearances.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone......we’ve decided to pass but I do really wish this was the litter. We saw the parents and they really tugged at my heart strings. The search will continue for clear lines.

Thanks to everyone. I have other litters I’ve been looking at so I’ll post in another thread and get some clarifications on clearances. Hopefully one day it will be a puppy picture that I’m posting!

Thank you 🙂
 

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Me personally - even if there is a CT scan, the science is too unknown and new about that being a definitive... that I'd keep going and find a different litter. Because it is still too much a gamble in my eyes.

When you have breeders deliberately breeding dogs with elbow dysplasia (or hip dysplasia, or serious issues with the eyes, or something else) I think they leave themselves open to criticism and accusation. I'm just saying. And I think it's fair for puppy people to hold them accountable in those cases.

Obviously, if both parents had full clearances - the breeders can demonstrate they dotted all the i's and crossed all the T's and it's bad luck. But they can't demonstrate the same if they gambled by breeding a dog who failed one or more clearances.
That's me too. Even w a CT, we don't know. And my own feel for it is if a dog steps in a gopher hole and gets ED from it- something was weak to begin with.
We can have bad luck-but getting all the clearances we CAN get at least cover us for trying best. I love a good gamble but am one of those gamblers who, as soon as I get the cash I came in with in my pocket, play w the house's money till it's all gone. I'm not going to risk other people's money,hopes, dreams, anything w their puppies because I put the time and money in to show a bitch who then fails something- it's wrong. People should be able to trust their breeders to never gamble on their dime.
 

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That's me too. Even w a CT, we don't know. And my own feel for it is if a dog steps in a gopher hole and gets ED from it- something was weak to begin with.
We can have bad luck-but getting all the clearances we CAN get at least cover us for trying best. I love a good gamble but am one of those gamblers who, as soon as I get the cash I came in with in my pocket, play w the house's money till it's all gone. I'm not going to risk other people's money,hopes, dreams, anything w their puppies because I put the time and money in to show a bitch who then fails something- it's wrong. People should be able to trust their breeders to never gamble on their dime.

My understanding from a CT scan is that it would (or could, I guess) show that the OFA reading was incorrect. Not that there was a weakness. If the CT scan shows the same (i.e. DJD) then the OFA was correct in their reading. But if not, the OFA was wrong. To me, the OFA is not the authority on ED since they seem to have really inconsistent rulings on what constitutes a grade I.
 

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Kate
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What I've heard is people disputing that any fuzz on the rads = elbow dysplasia. This while OFA has been pretty firm and unwavering about stating that any fuzz or irregularities on the rads are a form of elbow dysplasia.

You have people who have had unilateral or bilateral results thanks to a little fuzz around the elbows - but there have been no symptoms or signs of elbow dysplasia with their dogs.

Then you have people who have had CT scans done on the elbows and had a radiologist state that the elbows were normal and had no signs of bone changes or dysplasia.

This is where I've heard all the disputes over the OFA authority on elbows stemming from.

For me personally - I think it isn't enough for some people to say that "fuzz" on the rads is just conformation of the elbow or unrelated artifacts when the rads were done (errors by the technician doing the rads) - particularly if that fuzz shows up on multiple rads done by different vets.

If conformation/structure - I'd be asking WHY the elbows look different than other normal graded elbows of majority dogs being OFA'd and cleared.

Also I know that with today's technology and digital radiographs, the vet tries to get the best possible shots of the hips and elbows. So they are taking multiple shots and viewing them immediately. I just think there's less chance of errors and/or no excuse for poor quality rads...?

Other stuff I've heard - it's people blaming elbow dysplasia on injuries. One person I know of in particular said that she's blamed herself for letting a 4 month old pup run across a field with the other dogs, because he came up limping right after and was dx with elbow dysplasia. Her stated opinion was the dx was due to injury and she didn't have bad elbows in her lines.

Other people expressed caution to puppy people with dogs related to this woman's dogs on the basis that there were known (but not reported) elbow problems with other dogs (ie pets, so not sent in to OFA).

These dogs shouldn't be getting elbow dysplasia just from running across fields or climbing up and down stairs. This is a sporting breed. They should be structurally sound enough to be normal active pups.
 

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Just in case there was any confusion.. just want to clear up - I would also not take a chance on a pup from a parent with Grade 1 ED. I also would not breed my dog who has Grade 1 ED. I know there is much debate and discussion going on right now around Grade 1 DJD, but until OFA changes its policy, I would go by the CoE. I just personally wouldn't want to take a chance of passing along a weakness.

My dog has no clinical symptoms but I am proactive every single day to keep it that way. Thankfully, I have a great insurance policy which covers all of her supplements and meds and monthly injection, because they are not cheap. I take her for weekly water treadmill therapy which is not covered, and keep her very fit and lean. I don't let myself worry about 5 or 7 years from now. It is certainly not the worst thing that one could be dealing with concerning their dog's health, but it's always lingering in the back of my mind when she is running hard. If researchers and veterinarians determine in 5 or 10 years that Grade 1 ED DJD is NOT actually Grade 1 but part of normal elbow construction, I will not regret any of what I've done for Shala, but I will feel better knowing she was never at risk for pain or weakness.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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It seems that a lot of breeders don't want to take a grade 1 ED dog out of the gene pool, and will breed on them. I don't. But I once bought a show puppy (referral from HiTide, actually) whose grand dam, Alley, had ED. The claim was it was a result of injury, but there was no way to really know. My dog's dam cleared, my dog cleared, and every one of my dog's puppies that were tested cleared. And today, at 7 years old, my dog remains super athletic and robust. So in that particular case, it turns out to have been a sound breeding decision.

Personally, since getting that dog, I've decided that even if ED was from an injury, I wouldn't breed that dog, and probably not any dog in that direct pedigree (sibling, parent, child). I don't baby my dogs. I don't restrict their access to hills, stairs, etc. I figure Goldens are supposed to be rugged, robust, athletic, sporting dogs, and if they are going to be so easily injured then I don't want such a dog in my lines. We're not making crystal figurines. We're making working animals, athletes. They should be able to withstand the rigors of a normal athletic dog's life without suffering injury. So, my personal feeling is that dogs with even a grade 1 ED should probably not be bred, population genetics concerns notwithstanding. And I wouldn't buy a puppy from such a litter, either.

But a lot of people disagree with me, so your mileage may vary.
 
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