Many breeds face enormous health challenges these days. Indiscriminate breeding, breeding for profit rather than quality, breeding dogs too young have all contributed to the current problems.
The breed with which I am most involved had the foresight several decades ago to develop a health database with which breeders, pet owners and anyone else interested in the breed can share health information.
Breeders and pet owners alike can enter their dogs’ basic information and any anecdotal information about their dogs. Diagnoses, whether from their own vet or from organizations like OFFA or Pennhip are faxed to the data operators. Litter information can be entered by the breeder and updated by the puppy buyers.
Rescue dogs are included – after all, they’re part of the breed, too, and can provide valuable information about the state of the health of the breed. Is the prevalence of dysplasia increasing or decreasing? Are we seeing an upswing in the diagnosed cases of PRA or holding steady? Are there more cases of hemangiosarcoma or is the primary cancer that is killing our dogs still malignant histio? Pets and rescue dogs are affected by these, too, and need to be included in the information we evaluate.
I’ve had several people ask whether a dog has to be AKC registered to be entered, and the answer is no. There are many dogs included who are not registered at all, and others that are registered with FCI or APRI or even ACA. No judgment is made as to the worthiness of your dog, what is collected are the facts. You can even include a picture.
I haven’t provided the name of the database, in part because I hope that many will ask whether their own breed has such a repository, and, if enough people ask, maybe it will happen if it hasn’t already. And if you go looking for such a site, you may happen upon information that will help you better understand your breed and your breed organization!
Surely that is a good thing.