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German Shepherd Dog Owners’ Information Group

"Unfortunately " said the voice in the crowd, "Many breeders appear to be disinterested, and those who are concerned, often find it very difficult to assist by obtaining information that would help us". A statement which appears to have held much truth, with reference to up to date information on health and veterinary matters available to owners in all domains of the world of dogs.

As then a member of the GSD League committee and news Editor of Dog Training Weekly, I was somewhat concerned when thus receiving queries on the health problems many had with their GSDs.

Where did one go?

Hearing it, then obtaining the correct advice to help was somewhat difficult, because of the professional barrier, which existed between the owner and the person with knowledge in this field.

Discussion on this subject with various breeders and the then Secretary of the League Mrs Ixer, introduction to Mrs Lin Delamar a retired chemist who had Veterinary experience and vast knowledge of the breed plus was the first person to have a hydrotherapy pool.

I myself was a Laboratory Technician with the AHT we had a great deal in common, plus a few willing contacts.

Introduction to Sherry Scott, Veterinary Surgeons Stewart Hasty and his wife Jane Nixon. Dr Sue Guthrie Vet and writer who worked for the Guide Dogs for the Blind, found a combination of people with one thing in common "healthy animals."

Lin Delamar, who unfortunately is no longer with us, arranged a meeting of the group. And through her dedication and concern for the German Shepherd Dog, the Information Group that was formed in her memory has been continued.

The Beginning

Our first meeting took place in Bucks, at the Scotts’ lovely country home on Friday 10th May 1996 at which all persons referred to were present.

Much came under discussion but the real cause for anxiety came from the subject CDRM now referred to as DM.

Sue Guthrie was a resident researcher at Cambridge and had been working on the problem with German Shepherds.

Her expertise and advise was always given freely and we will always be grateful to her input Sue was keen to put her knowledge into books and thus she chose to leave the group.

Some time after this in 1998 a solicitor who had a client who had lost two GSD’s from this problem contacted me.

I was put in contact with a veterinary surgeon at Glasgow University called Pamela Johnson, who agreed to do more research into the subject, and was given the gift of £1000 towards it. Unfortunately no further useful feedback came from this.

By this time more interest had been shown in the group, knowledge collected and queries and questions came from interested parties on other health problems. Our information and contacts had thus accumulated.

Joined by Mrs Ixer we attended Veterinary Seminars and Conferences. I, in my capacity of News Editor for Dog Training Weekly, and Secretary of the newly accepted GSD Owners Info Group.

We had developed quite a few contacts by this time, to which we could turn to obtain up to date information and advise for procedure and problems.

Queries and complaints about certain subjects gave me the opportunity on 15th November 1999 to a meeting with Dr Jeff Sampson.

Who has always helped and advised the group, with great enthusiasm. For which we give our thanks.

This was extremely fruitful and the help and advice he and Mrs Ruth Dennis an orthopaedic Veterinary Surgeon gave us proved to be extremely useful, discussion covered the subjects DM and HD., DNA etc.

Fresh Fields

On the 20th January 2000 I received a phone call from Dr Brian Catchpole, who left a message saying, "He had been advised to contact me by Dr Sampson, would I please contact at my convenience "

Returning the call I was asked if the Group would assist him in his research by obtaining urine samples from animals, which had been correctly diagnosed as having DM. He would also need samples from healthy and arthritic animals.

This we agreed to do.

Unfortunately the samples do not just appear so after discussion with Joyce it was agreed to ask for help through various media contacts and to increase our group in number.

More Help

We had tragically lost Lin in the spring; this left a large gap in our number for we had lost a dear friend. I am sure that Lin would be extremely pleased at the success of the group if she were still with us.

Chris Harvey, Valerie Egger, agreed to come to the group, and later for the purposes of collected and collating information Barbara Harvard joined us.

It was agreed we make contact with the Kennel Club giving them examples of our pamphlets our work and information made available by us.

A meeting was set for 13th JULY 2000 at 11am with Mrs Vanessa McAlpine.

Joyce and I attended this and found the idea was acceptable and as a result it was suggested that perhaps we would like to have the pamphlets at hand for distribution at Discover Dogs in the November. We were complimented on the range, without scare mongering. Many people have and are assisted in filling in questionnaires, collecting samples for researchers which is continuing as and when required

Our aims are:

To help everybody where possible, on the subjects of GSD health and veterinary queries.
To point them in the right direction to gain advise and assistance.
To help raise and obtain funds to assist in research where needed.
The well being of the breed was in our minds when this group was formed.
It is neither for personal gain nor a witch-hunt
We wish to see the breed continue to become a healthy and happy breed to own

The Future

The group was formed by and has been continued in loving memory of Lin Delamar whose wish it was to assist owners with problems.

Her dedication and love of the breed, made people listen and take us all very seriously in our quest to succeed in her quest.

Since those early days we have managed to assist in encouraging research on Stomach Problems (SIBO/EPI) Auto Immune problems,(Skin and A/F etc). Some have participated in the Genome project giving DNA samples. We have more research being launched on D/M involving a very prominent Neurologist. There is help available for Anal Furunculous
We are a forward thinking group wishing to assist the breed - B/C and owners to have a "healthy, long living" specimen. It’s problems few, encouraging it to become a popular breed to own once again.

May I take this opportunity to thank those OWNERS and KENNELS who volunteered, and supplied the HEALTHY samples to find the marker sort to help with research on stomach problems Those also who also supplied samples from those affected. What would we have done without your help?

Thanks to those Experts who have listened and helped us to get this show on the road.
Information on results will follow in the near future. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We hope to have a Seminar early in 2003. This revolves round the experts being available at the same time. But watch the publications and my web site for further announcements.

ALL PRESENT PRINTING of Discover the German Shepherd Dog by Joyce Ixer NOW SOLD.
OUR THANKS to all who have so readily supported us, and the publications who have assisted in printing my Updates.

Those who want help can contact:

Dorothy A Cullum

Joyce Ixer 01962-776239

Chris Harvey 01223-208216