Health Testing Info

OVERVIEW...what you need to know about bulldogs and health testing.


 

GOAL:  To produce unaffected or carrier only offspring in our breeding programs.

Good breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies. We encourage all Rare Color Breeders to participate in these recommendations for Breeding Healthy Bulldogs.

Ethical breeding practices:

*No restrictions on unaffected dogs.

*No restrictions with an unaffected to a carrier. If your breeding dog is a carrier, it is a must to test the intended mate to be unaffected for that gene.

*Restriction on breeding two carriers.

*Restriction on breeding fully affected to a carrier. Intended mates to fully affected should be clear.

 

Ethical Breeding

Ethical breeders should consider it our duty to protect the Bulldog/English Bulldog, our very special breed. Most consider the Bulldog an unhealthy breed. We do not. When ethical, knowledgeable breeders use healthy dogs in their programs, the outcome is healthier puppies overall. Our breed Standard reflects necessary qualities needed to produce healthier puppies in our breed.

As many may know, there has been a recent Study in the genetic diversity done on the Bulldog Breed that is rather alarming. We, as Rare Color Breeders are honored to say that we have made large strides in hopefully improving on this study. In the last 10 years, because of the diversity in adding the Rare Colors to our breeding programs, most Rare Color Breeders have seen a significant difference in the overall health of puppies produced, some in less than 3 years.

The Healthy Bulldog, while calm, courageous, and friendly, is also stable, strong, vigorous, equable, resolute, and dignified. A dog that can move unrestrained, with wide shoulders and sturdy limbs, but known for their loose jointed, shuffling gait. They have a massive, short-faced head with heavy full or broken nose ropes that should not be so large so as to inhibit breathing through wide, open nostrils. Bulldogs are known for their lovable, kind, gentle dispositions, and adorable wrinkles. The healthy Bulldog will not have excessive wrinkles that are so overdone so as to create the possibility of entropion of the eye, which can cause blindness and severe pain.

Read the study: https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-016-0036-y 

What Science Alert had to say about the study. I bet if the study was done on our Rare Colors, the findings would be vastly different.

ttp://www.sciencealert.com/english-bulldogs-are-at-a-genetic-tipping-point-study-finds


 HEALTH IN GENETIC TESTING

Like all breeds there may be some health issues related to the Bulldog breed. Because they are a brachycephalic breed, bulldogs will often have breathing problems which are related to their elongated soft-palate blocking their airways. If this were to become a chronic problem, surgery may be an option. Other health issues reported in bulldogs are cherry eye & skin infections which can be easily treated by cleaning the skin-folds regularly. Some Bulldogs will be faced with health issues in their lives as are all dogs, but the majority of well-bred Bulldogs are healthy dogs. Work with a responsible breeder, gain the education you need about specific health concerns within the breed.

Good breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies, and follow these recommendations for Breeding Healthy Bulldogs.


CMR1, DM, HUU, JHC 

CMR1

Canine Multifocal Retinopathy (CMR), a recessive eye disorder, is known to affect several breeds including the English Bulldog. This causes raised lesions that form on the retina and alters the appearance of the eye but usually does not affect sight. These lesions, looking somewhat like blisters, vary in location and size. Typically they are present in both eyes of the affected dog. Lesions may disappear, or may result in minor retinal folding. Symptoms usually appear when a puppy is only a few months old, and generally do not worsen over time.

Since CMR is recessive, both parents would need to be carriers of the mutation to produce an affected puppy. Breeding two unaffected or one unaffected and one carrier will not produce affected offspring. However if one parent is a carrier, a percentage of the offspring will be carriers. It is necessary to test for the presence of the CMR mutation before breeding, so as not to breed two carriers together, and unwittingly produce a fully affected puppy. Dogs have two copies of the mutation are susceptible to develop retinal deformation, although fully affected dogs do not always develop into disease. In most cases, treatment is not required.

Ethical breeding practices with this disorder:

No restrictions on unaffected dogs.

No restrictions with an unaffected to a carrier. If your breeding dog is a carrier, it is a must to test the intended mate to be unaffected.

Restriction on breeding two carriers.

Restriction on breeding fully affected to a carrier. Intended mates to fully affected should be clear.

DM

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs, onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age.

It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. As the disease progresses, the dog's hind legs will weaken and eventually the dog will be unable to walk at all, and can experience loss of urinary and fecal continence with eventual weakness in the front limbs. Fortunately, there is no direct pain associated with Degenerative Myelopathy.

A small percentage of dogs that have inherited two copies of the mutation will not experience symptoms at all. Thus, this disease is not completely penetrant, meaning the disease does not affect every dog that has the genotype.

Ethical breeding practices with this disorder:

No restrictions on unaffected dogs.

No restrictions with an unaffected to a carrier. If your breeding dog is a carrier, it is a must to test the intended mate to be unaffected.

Restriction on breeding two carriers.

Restriction on breeding fully affected to a carrier. Intended mates to fully affected should be clear. 

HUU

The Hyperuricosuria mutation is autosomal recessive. Both parents will need to be carriers of the mutation to pass it on to their offspring. Only individuals that have two copies of the mutation, have a higher risk of developing clinical signs of the disease. Carriers of only one copy of the mutation will not develop the disease.

Dogs with this genetic mutation metabolize waste products as uric acid in their urine, this condition that predisposes dogs to bladder stones that can result in urinary obstruction. The uric acid forms into hard stones in the bladder, causing pain and inflammation as the stone moves through the urinary tract.

A dog that has difficulty urinating or appears to have an inflamed bladder may have HUU. Other signs can include blood in the urine and frequent urination. If the dog is unable to pass the urate stones without medical intervention, surgery is required to remove them. If the urinary tract is blocked, the condition can be life threatening. HUU is uncomfortable and painful for the dog.

Carriers will not show any symptoms of HUU. Affected dogs may not show any signs, so it is important to test dogs for HUU prior to breeding.

Ethical breeding practices with this disorder:

No restrictions on unaffected dogs.

No restrictions with an unaffected to a carrier. If your breeding dog is a carrier, it is a must to test the intended mate to be unaffected.

Restriction on breeding two carriers.

Restriction on breeding fully affected to a carrier. Intended mates to fully affected should be clear.

JHC

Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in dogs. Cataracts are defined as the clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens focuses light on the retina to enable vision. Cataracts impair vision and can lead to total blindness. Cataracts can develop in one eye or both as a result of the normal aging process, underlying diseases, injury, or be caused by a genetic defect. Primary hereditary cataracts, caused by a genetic defect, tend to be of the bilateral type. In dogs, mutations in the HSF4 gene are associated with two different forms of cataracts, Juvenile Hereditary Cataract, JHC and Hereditary Cataract, HC. Juvenile Hereditary Cataract, JHC found in several breeds including the French Bulldogs is a recessive disorder which means 2 copies of the mutation are necessary for cataracts to develop, this is why carriers are not affected. JHC affects both eyes symmetrically and has early onset, with cataract formation starting before 1 year of age and progressing to maturity and blindness by 2-3 years of age. JHC is distinct from the late-onset hereditary cataract, the cause of which has not yet been identified.

Ethical breeding practices with this disorder:

No restrictions on unaffected dogs.

No restrictions with an unaffected to a carrier. If your breeding dog is a carrier, it is a must to test the intended mate to be unaffected.

Restriction on breeding two carriers.

Restriction on breeding fully affected to a carrier. Intended mates to fully affected should be clear.