|Thomas W. Lyon|
39552 Roman Rd., R.R. #1, Brucefield, Ontario, Canada, N0M 1J0
As a prospective Weimeraner owner, whether you get a puppy from us at WeatherRun or another breeder, there are some health issues in the breed that you should be aware of. Careful research of the pedigree and Breeder honesty is very important, as all we have to base breeding decisions on is the anecdotal health history shared by owners and breeders. I'll share a few health issues commonly related to weimaraners for your information:
Distachiasis: This is a row of extra eyelashes that can sometimes appear and can appear in many other breeds as well. We are not sure of the genetics of this condition but I breed away from it. If they do appear (which can happen at any age) electrolysis or laser can remove hard lashes so they don't cause an irritation and subsequent possible infection. Most often, if they appear in puppies, they will fall out naturally in a few months. It should be noted that the lashes can appear at any time. If they appear later -- 10-15 months of age they can grow inward and are quite often bristly. These must be removed before the cornea is damaged. I will not knowingly breed a dog or bitch that has this condition. Fortunately, this has not been a problem for me in my bloodlines.
Hip Displaysia: This is a quite commonly known disorder in many dog breeds. Over the past 20 years, Weimaraner breeders consciously worked away from this disorder. Reputable breeders will not breed animals that have not been X-rayed and evaluated as GOOD or EXCELLENT (OFA or PennHIP). Here at WeatherRun, we subscribe to this policy and to date have not had a problem with this in my bloodlines.
HOD or Hypertrophic OsteoDystrophy: Genetically, this is an autosomal recessive, autoimmune disorder in which the puppy's immune system becomes overactive and starts to attack its own tissue. As an autosomal recessive genetic trait, both the sire and the dam must be carriers of this genetic trait. HOD usually manifests itself as painful swelling of the joints and high temperature fever and may progress, in very serious cases to other systems of the body. This disorder can be fatal if not recognized and treated promptly. You should not delay in getting your puppy to the vet for treatment should you notice any symptoms. Often HOD presents itself in puppies at the time of their 12-week vaccinations. The standard multivalent vaccine is thought to put too much stress on the immune system. Many breeders follow the practice of splitting off the Parvo vaccine and giving it separately between the other vaccines. Recent research has shown that there is no significant difference in the number of affected puppies whether given the multi-valent vaccine or the split vaccines. It has been postulated that if the multivalent shots are started when the puppy is still receiving mother's milk and thus her immune protection, the puppies show no reaction and have a smooth transition to developing their own immunities. Here at WeatherRun, we use a Multi Valent vaccine developed for breeds with a high incidence of this disorder.
Thyroid: Thyroid dysfunction has been seen in the breed in the past, both Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. As a precaution, I test all breeding stock to be sure their thyroid function is normal.
Bloat/Torsion: In larger breeds sometimes there is a problem of stomach torsion causing bloat. Basically, the stomach flips, which twists and obstructs the bowel and the blood supply to the stomach. It is most often fatal. Veterinarian intervention should be sought immediately with symptoms of bloat. Recent research has shown that there is a genetic or familial component to this disorder, whether through internal structure or external structure (conformation), extreme depth of chest, shortness of rib cage and very high tuck - up of the belly was noted. While some breeders (of many breeds) view this conformation as desirable, it is a conformation that I will not subscribe to nor breed for. I choose my breeding stock to display good depth of chest, long rib-cage and moderate belly tuck to produce a gradual taper from front to rear. The research also determined a very high link to elevated feeding arrangements. I also think management has a large part to play in this and although many feed once per day, I choose to feed twice a day with free-choice water. This way the dogs do not GORGE themselves on food or water.Tom Lyon
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