Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Old Dogs

So the post reads ... "What health challenges are you facing with your GSD as he/she is getting older?"
In the replies I read so many sad stories of GSD's suffering with HD, ED, Arthritis and the dreaded DM. My heart breaks for the owners and the poor dogs, some of which are not "old" just older and really shouldn't be suffering from conditions of old age. But are HD and ED conditions of old age? Well no not really are they, there is a lot we can do to avoid them and it makes me wonder who is to blame that so many are still suffering from these genetic conditions? If you buy a cheap puppy from parents who are not health tested then you are asking for trouble. If you over exercise or incorrectly exercise a growing puppy, allow your puppy to become fat or neuter them before the growth plates have closed then there is a strong possibility that you have contributed to your dogs joint abnormalities. If we are ever going to reduce the pain and suffering from HD and ED then the general public really need to be educated .. and to be fair all the knowledge you need is at your fingertips these days. And of course buying a cheap puppy from an unscrupulous breeder just puts more money in their pocket to breed the next litter.
Test are now also available for one of the gene's that causes the dreaded DM (CDRM) - the next generations will also hopefully have less risk of inheriting this degrading degenerative condition. There is no reason why the future of this and many breeds can't be healthier, that is of course providing it becomes standard procedure to health test breeding stock. Currently it's just down to the breeder and the stud dog owner and the buying public to be ethical in their choices.
So looking back at older Blaniks, I guess we start at the beginning, Blade had a degree of HD. But I didn't ask the right questions .. if I knew then what I know now and if the availability of information was the same I would never have bought him. But of course I'm glad that I did, I wouldn't change a thing other than his health issues. The thought of having not had the pleasure of living with him .. well it doesn't bare thinking about. Blade also had DM in later years .. or CDRM as it was called then, of course in those days there were no tests .. just the bad luck of the draw, thank god things are better now. I got Nikki with more knowledge and she and her progeny did not develop difficulties that are often associated with older GSD's, they were fit and health into double figures.
I have always health tested my breeding bitches and with that in mind I hope the majority of Blaniks have live fit, happy healthy lives. But animals are not machines and sometimes the general make up of an animal has abnormalities. Storm was never bred from, never health tested but it was pretty obvious that she had hip issues .. we took care of her to make sure she was in as little pain as possible, sadly she died of a torsion at 9 years old. I can't think of any others other than Storm, Blade and Finlay who have had mobility problems here in old age. I hope the moderately active life I give them keeps them fit and healthy. I'm no weekend walker, it must be as damaging to joints to rest for 5 days and do strenuous exercise at weekends as it is to not walk at all?
Now I have 4 old dogs, old is over 7 in this breed. I'm careful of their weight and I'm currently in the process of trying to get a few KG off Jezi. Fat dogs are unhealthy dogs. I walk them, even at her 11.5 years Asha continues to do exactly the same as the others do. She has no obvious mobility problems and we'll keep going as long as she wants to. Jill Hubbards words will always remain in my mind .. Walk them as far as you think they needs .. and then just a little bit more. It sure does seem to be working here!
The top and bottom photos are of the 4 veterans out today .. the top photo is a little washed out but shows clearly 2 happy healthy veterans .. the middle photo .. well that was the main man, that was Blade!

1 comment:

Lin said...

That was so interesting to read and agree with you all the way, because of your careful breeding my beautiful Blaniks have lived a long and happy life , unfortunately Rocky had a torsion but these things can happen it's sadly just one of those things, I just wish everyone was as careful as you when breeding you're so caring and responsible