health considerations

We aim to breed the Complete Dobermann, concentrating on health, temperament and conformation. Currently we have, as a guide, an FCI Breed Standard, temperament tests such as the ZTP (German Breed Suitability Test) and APT (Swedish temperament test) which cover the temperament and conformation aspects, however, in South Africa the only health assessment required for breeding by our canine umbrella body, the KUSA is an HD Assessment (click here to see the FCI grading scheme). There is a worldwide the trend that more health aspects need to be concentrated on and we hope that there will be more mandatory health requirments in the future. We suggest that Breeders seriously consider the following aspects:

Please note: the explanations below are the guidelines which we breed to - as taken from information available on the web and other sources

Hip Dysplasia (HD) and Elbow Dysplasia (ED) assessments are required to be done once in an animals life, after the age of 12 months, the results are applicable to the life of the animal. Guidelines for breeding as per KUSA guidelines specific to HD as shown by 'Ideal'or 'Recommended' combinations only. KUSA adopted the FCI grading system on 1st January, 2007 (click here to see the FCI grading scheme) and under the new regulation any combination of acceptable gradings (old system 0 and 1 / new system A and B) are allowed to be bred with:

New FCI Grading system

Breeding Pair Combinations

MALE - Grade A

MALE - Grade A/B

MALE - Grade B

MALE - Grade C +

FEMALE - Grade A

Ideal

Recommended

Recommended

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade A/B

Recommended

Recommended

Recommended

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade B

Recommended

Recommended

Recommended

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade C+

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

Not to be bred


Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is tested at 2 yearly intervals, with the recommended starting age of animals being over 24 months. Dogs diagnosed positively with this condition should be eliminated from the breeding programme from the date of positive assessment. Dr. Kate Meurs of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has identified a genetic mutation responsiblefor causing cardiomyopathy in Dobermans. A reasonably priced test is available through the Veterinary Cardiac Genetics Laboratory at WSU. ( http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/deptsVCGL/) The only permissible combinations: 'Ideal' combination:

Breeding Pair Combinations

MALE - Normal/Negative

MALE - Positive

FEMALE - Normal/Negative

Ideal

High Risk

FEMALE - Positive

High Risk

Not Recommended

von Willebrand's Disease (vWD): The vWD test is a DNA test, the result of which is applicable to the life of the animal. It is recommended that wherever possible only Clear animals be used in the breeding programme but where not possible the following guidelines become applicable:

Carrier or Affected animals may ONLY be mated to Clear animals.

The following table clearly shows the danger in mating Carrier-to-Carrier and Carrier-to-Affected and Affected-to-Affected:

Breeding Pair Combinations

MALE - Clear

MALE - Carrier

MALE - Affected

FEMALE - Clear

100% Clear

50/50 Carrier/Clear

100% Carrier

FEMALE - Carrier

50/50 Carrier/Clear

25/50/25 Clr./Carr./Affctd.

50/50 Carrier/Affected

FEMALE - Affected

100% Carrier

50/50 Carrier/Affected

100% Affected

Ideal Breeding Pair. Puppies will not have the disease gene (neither as Carrier nor as Affected).

Breeding Is Safe. No Affected puppies will be produced. However, some or all puppies will be Carriers. Accordingly, it is recommended that Carrier dogs which are desirable for breeding be bred with Clear dogs in the future, which will produce 50% carrier and 50% clear animals, to further reduce the disease gene frequency. These offspring should be tested for the defective gene, and if possible, only the clear animals in this generation should be used.

High RiskBreeding. Some puppies are likely to be Carriers and some puppies are likely to be Affected. Even though it is possible that there will be some clear puppies when breeding 'Carrier to Carrier', in general, neither this type of breeding pair nor 'Carrier to Affected' are recommended for breeding.

Breeding Not Recommended. All puppies will be genetically Affected.

Progeny from parents tested Clear, by an internationally recognised facility, will not need to be tested, however, if progeny that are tested do not come back clear, both these parents will be placed on a caution list until retested. To prevent the latter from possibly occurring, it is advised that the test be done in the presence of a veterinarian who will positively identify the animal. Parents tested in this manner will not be placed on the caution list.

Eye Tests: There are various eye problems and diseases that are currently tested for in SA, however, PHTVL/PHPV is the problem that we concentrate on. PHTVL/PHPV only needs to be tested for once during the dogs lifetime as it is genetically inherited, the result at the time of testing is applicable for the life of the dog. This test is done on breeding stock and the veterinary specialists in this field have been asked to consider introducing the grading system. Should this grading system be possible the guidelines would be 'Ideal' or 'Recommended' combinations only:

Breeding Pair Combinations

MALE - Clear

MALE - Unilateral* Grade 1

MALE - Grade 1

MALE - Grade 2

MALE - Grade 3+

FEMALE - Clear

Ideal

Recommended

Recommended

High Risk

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Unilateral* Grade 1

Recommended

Recommended

High Risk

High Risk

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade 1

Recommended

High Risk

High Risk

High Risk

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade 2

High Risk

High Risk

High Risk

High Risk

Not to be bred

FEMALE - Grade 3+

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

Not to be bred

* = spots in one eye only

Other eye diseases and problems should be tested for on an annual basis as these can develop later in the dogs life and some of them are degenerative.

Thyroid: TSH and T4 tests can be done but results are only valid at the time of testing. Testing is available from your usual vet if you feel your dog has symptoms indicating a problem. These are only screening tests and the three possible grading areas are 'Normal', 'Grey-area' and 'Hypothyroidism'. Inheritability of thyroid dysfunction in dogs is low.

Canine Herpes Virus (CHV-1): The Canine Herpes Virus (CHV-1) is highly infectious and seems to have been underplayed by Veterinarians and Breeders alike for many years. CHV-1 belongs to the family Herpesviridae and is a typical alpha-herpes virus. Although it infects dogs of all ages, it is only a serious problem when it attacks newborn puppies. The virus is sensitive to lipid solvents, temperatures greater than 40°C, pH <~5 and >~8, and rapidly inactivated by common disinfectants. The virus grows only in canine cells and growth is best in kidney or testicular cells, optimally at 34 - 35°C. These viruses produce intranuclear inclusions in infected cells.

Transmission and Clinical Signs: Infection of puppies is considered to take place transplacentally (during pregnancy) or by contact during (passage through an infected dam's birth canal) or shortly after parturition (contact with oronasal secretions of the dam or other dogs) when licked. Infected littermates, or dogs in close proximity that are shedding the virus, also serve as sources of infection. Disease caused by CHV-1 is generally fatal in neonatal puppies that lack immunity derived from their dams. Asymptomatically infected dogs remain latently infected and virus may be excreted for about a week in nasal secretions or in genital secretions, and thereafter, at unpredictable intervals over periods of several months, or years. When infection occurs while the puppies are still in the uterus, they may be stillborn, absorbed or abort before they reach term. When puppies are infected after birth, fatal infections occur between one and four weeks of age. The disease is usually fatal because these pups lack immunity. Mortality is close to 100%. Pregnant dogs infected in midterm or later pregnancy, often abort weak or stillborn pups. These mothers remain asymptomatic. Some fetal pups infected during late gestation can appear normal at birth, only to die a few days later.

Diagnosis: Dogs that are negative at the time of testing may in fact be infected, and will remain carriers of the virus for life, with the intermittent shedding of the virus occurring during periods of stress.

Treatment: There is no cure for infection with CHV-1. Therapy with general antiviral medicine does not appear to be effective.

Prevention: Vaccination is currently the only way to offer protection from CHV-1 to both newborn puppies and adult dogs. A vaccine (Eurican Herpes 205) induces immunity against Canine Herpes virus in pregnant bitches, whether or not they are currently infected with the virus. The vaccine is specifically indicated for bitches during pregnancy and has been shown to provide good immunity to newborn puppies after 2 injections have been administered to their dams. The first vaccination is given between the 1st day of the heat period and the 10th day after mating. The second vaccination is given 1-2 weeks before whelping. Puppies are subsequently passively immunised via the vaccinated dam's colostrum.

Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI, Wobblers): This disease is caused by compression of the cervical spinal cord as a result of cervical vertebral malformation-malarticulation or instability. Spinal cord compression injures the portion of the spinal cord necessary for an animal to stand and move normally. In Dobermanns, the skeletal abnormality occurs predominantly in the last three cervical vertebrae (the fifth, sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae). The cause of the skeletal malformation or malarticulation is unknown. Clinical studies suggest both genetics and nutrition may play a role in the development of the defects. Research has shown that, in some young dogs, excessive intake of a diet high in protein, energy, calcium, and phosphorus accelerates growth, which may induce skeletal changes such as those seen in some "wobbler" dogs.

Demodectic Mange, also called "demodicosis," is caused by a microscopic mite of the Demodex genus. All dogs raised normally by their mothers possess this mite as mites are transferred from mother to pup via cuddling during the first few days of life. Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequence. If, however, conditions change to upset the natural equilibrium (such as some kind of suppression of the dog's immune system), the Demodex mites may "gain the upper hand." The mites proliferate and can cause serious skin disease.

Demodectic mange (unlike Sarcoptic mange) is not considered contagious and mites cannot be transmitted to humans or to cats. The tendency to be susceptible to demodectic mange is hereditary.  Dogs with demodectic mange usually have an immune system deficiency; it is this deficiency that appears to be inherited, making the pup unable to keep the demodex mites under control.

The current recommendation is not to treat puppies with demodex, so that it can be determined if the condition will stay localised and resolve or if it will generalise. If it stays localised and eventually resolves without treatment, the animal is still a candidate for breeding. If the condition generalises to cover the entire body, the animal should be sterilised. If the condition receives treatment and resolves, we will never know how far the disease would have gone in its natural state and will not know whether the pup is carrying the genetic predisposition for demodectic mange.

Localised demodicosis is almost exclusively a "puppyhood" disease. When a puppy develops localised demodicosis the chance of the condition resolving is 90% unless there is a family history of demodicosis in related dogs. In this case, chance of spontaneous resolution drops to 50%.

Occasionally an adult dog develops localized demodicosis. We currently do not have good understanding of the prognosis or significance of this condition in an adult dog.

Health Test

Test Authority

Country

Type of Test

HD / ED

Onderstepoort (OP)

SA

X-Rays

 

Any veterinary practice, where x-ray facilities are available, to be certified by Dr Kirberger (OP)

 

 

PHTVL / PHPV

Onderstepoort

SA

Examination by vet

 

Panorama Vet

 

 

  JHB Animal Eye Hospital    

DCM

Onderstepoort

SA

Echo cardiogram

 

Provinces

 

 

vWD

Laboklin

Germany

Saliva / Blood sample

 

VetGen

USA

 

Thyroid (TSH function + Total T4)

Onderstepoort

SA

Blood sample

Herpes

Onderstepoort

SA

Blood sample

CVI / Wobblers

Onderstepoort

SA

Myelogram, MRI

 

Qualified specialists

 

 

Demodectic Mange

Local vet

SA

Skin sample

Veterinarians accepted to do Scans for DCM:

Johannesburg:

Dr. Gary Eckersley
Tel.: (011) 702-1957

Cape Town:

Cape Animal Medical Centre
Dr. Malan van Zyl
Tel.: (021) 674-0034

Durban:

Westville Animal Hospital
Dr. Winberley
Tel.: (031) 267-8020

Port Elizabeth

Kagga Kama Veterinary Clinic
Dr. Dave Euzared
Tel.: (041) 379-2740

Dr. Euzared would be able to receommend a vet in East London should there be one in that area qualified to do Cardio Scans.

Veterinarians accepted to do Eye Tests:

Johannesburg:

Johannesburg Animal Eye Hospital
Drs. Venter & Goodhead
Tel.: (011) 465-1237

Pretoria:

Eye tests are performed at Onderstepoort on Monday and Tuesday mornings, but bookings need to be made through JHB Animal Eye Hospital.
Tel.:(011) 465-1237.

Cape Town:

Panorama Veterinary Clinic & Specialist Centre
Drs. Goodhead, Odayer and Venter,
Tel.: (021) 930-6632

Durban:

Drs. Venter and Goodhead consult at Westville Animal Hospital every 4 - 5 months, so please phone to make a booking and to ascertain when the above Drs. will be consulting at this practice.
Tel.: (031) 267-8020

Bloemfontein:

Drs. Venter and Goodhead consult at Bayswater Animal Hospital every 4 - 5 months, so please phone to make a booking and to ascertain when the above Drs. will be consulting at this practice.
Tel.: (051) 436-6604

Nelspruit:

Drs. Venter and Goodhead consult at West Acres Animal Hospital every 4 - 5 months, so please phone to make a booking and to ascertain when the above Drs. will be consulting at this practice.
Tel.: (013) 741-2026

There are at present no facilities in Port Elizabeth or East London for eye testing.

von Willebrand's Disease testing can be done through the following two laboratories overseas as testing is not available in South Africa:

Germany:

Laboklin - Laboratory for Clinical Diagnostics
Prinzregentenstrasse 3
97688 Bad Kissingen
Germany.
Tel.: 0949 971 72020
Fax: 0949 971 68546

United States of America:

Vetgen - Veterinary Genetic Services
3728 Plaza Drive, Suite 1, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, 48108 USA
Tel.: 091 734 669-8440
Fax: 091 734 669-8441

Thyroid and Herpes test can be done through your regular veterinarian as it is only a blood sample which needs to be sent to Onderstepoort for analysis.

CVI/Wobblers diagnosis can start with your vet, but it is probable that specialist help may be needed.

Demodectic Mange. Your own vet should be able to take skin samples for analysis.

FCI Grading Scheme

FCI Grade

Description

FCI Criteria

Old RSA Grade

A1

Excellent Hips

No signs of hip dysplasia

0

A2

Good Hips

0

B1

Fair Hips

Near normal hip joints

0

B2

Marginal Dysplasia

1

C1

Mild Dysplasia

Mild hip dysplasia

1

C2

Mild to Moderate Dysplasia 1

D1

Moderate Dysplasia Moderate hip dysplasia 2

D2

Moderate to Severe Dysplasia 2

E1

Severe Dysplasia Severe hip dysplasia 3

E2

Very Severe Dysplasia 4