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GSD Information Group Updates by Dorothy A Cullum
- Health Schemes Support

Well I have to take my hat off to the many enquiries we are receiving to check pedigrees for Epilepsy and other health issues. The Working side especially are very enthusiastically supporting this offer.

It is very important to get a referral from your Vet if this and any other problem are suspected. It must have been confirmed, and you have to be willing for the animal to have further tests.

One of the present projects on Anal Furunculosis has found three candidate genes that are looking promising. Hopefully the researcher will find out if they are on the right track in the next 6 months. They are collecting blood sample DNA for GSD’s with DM and hoping to do more genetic work with them when the numbers get big enough.

DNA and Genome Project

Two years ago at Crufts owners present on the Discover Dogs booth started the ball rolling by allowing blood samples to be taken for this project.

Recently I attended a KC Seminar where speakers were very enthusiastically reporting on how this was helping with research into various Canine problems, which is a really encouraging sign.

And bearing in mind if this is to work support is needed both financially as well as volunteering dogs suffering from such problems.

One very generous cheque has been received from Duston GSD Club, which is purchasing a piece of equipment for one of our researchers.

I understand that a Sponsored Walk was held and at the same time members and dogs enjoyed each other’s company whilst doing it.

If you feel you would be prepared to help in this way please contact Chris or myself for further information.

The encouragement of DNA profiling is one of the Kennels Clubs requests for the Accredited Scheme, to prove parentage and to see defects. Genetic testing is one way forward to improve the breed.

The more information gleaned can only help in the work that has been started, to eliminate disease as well as prevent it.

KC Seminar at Hatfield

This saw some 200 breeders attending to listen to lectures given by: Dr Keith Barnet on Eye and eye disease and treatment; Dr Jeff Sampson and Dr Paul Jones on Genetics DNA and what it means; Dr Brearley and Cancer in Dogs; Mr Paul Boland Fertility and recent Developments in Canine Reproduction.

All lectures were excellent and were given by some very enthusiastic people.

I was astounded by the success rate of Cancer treatment, and how very accurate (for those who were expert in knowing what they were looking at)

The lecturer Mr Paul Boland who gave the fertility and Reproduction talk was very well conversant on the problems involved with getting a bitch into whelp.

He said he had a 99% success rate, and since hearing this I have found how many people request his help for this problem.

I also have a lady colleague of his contact number; her practice is in Cambridge if anyone wishes to consult her.

It was explained a bitch could now be treated medically for a Pyometra, and not surgically.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of these Seminars please go. It is great value for money.

Seminar

We have asked our researchers if they are willing to talk at a Seminar being organised for a weekend before the show season gets into full swing. The talks will be on the above problems and research results so far. It will be held at the RVC at Potters Bar; if you are interested and there has been a lot of interest so far, please will you contact me so I can include you in this seminar. All enquiries to Dorothy 01277 220933 dorothy-cullum@cermar.co.uk; Chris 01223 208 216 sherak@tesco.net.

Video launched for new owners

Such items do not normally impress me but I have to admit this has been very carefully produced.
It is full of sensible information on what to look for and ask, and also expect when one is considering the purchasing a GSD pup.

We have a variety of sensible views from a Breeder /Judge (Karen Sygrove linked with the Tramella kennels); a Vet, who explains what one should look for when asking about HD etc.;

Groomer and Hydrotherapy experts who show how to correctly groom a GSD. A behaviourist, who promotes sensible, registered classes where the correct puppy training and socialising is practised, and does not encourage a free for all.

Guide Dogs for the Blind are also involved with this breed, and explain selection of the animal that is required for this purpose.

I was very impressed; the relevant site can be found at http://www.houndstarfilms.com where one can obtain the DVD at a reasonable price. I can say nothing was over emphasised but the advice that was given to assist in the purchasing of a pup for a normal family pet was sensible and sound.

Bloat and torsion

I have a chat group, which goes by the name of WorldwideGSDs,

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldwideGsds/ Any wishing to participate please visit and join). We have a variety of followers of the GSD breed who are members of this site. Breeders, Herbalists, Vet’s, Police, Trainers, Obedience, Working Trial, Schutzhund enthusiasts, behaviourists of course Pet owners.

We all, as the site says, sometimes " beg to differ but remain friends".

The query on bloat and torsions came into discussion, the query being "What would one expect to see if one of these was expected?

It was sad to then see that many had experienced this problem and had lost a very stalwart member of their kennel.

One lady, Pat Smith, came for with some information which all might find very helpful and worth considering.

Pat’s email is as follows:

‘Here in Australia where bloat is pretty common, Karen Hedberg MRCVS my Vet and as most of you probably know a GSD breeder, judge and surveyor has been working on the theory the vast number of bloat cases are related to the dog’s lack of electrolytes in the body.

‘Her theory comes from the fact that although Greyhounds are pretty deep chested, they are always fed an electrolyte supplement in their meals or water, and very seldom, if ever bloats.

‘Karen, who is the Sydney Police Dog Vet, recommended they give their electrolytes in meals and in 18months or so they have not seen a single case of bloat. Where as in Victoria Police Dog Squad x? amount has been recorded during this time.

‘With the excessive heat and high humidity over in Oz the drain on the dogs system makes them a candidate for heat stress. (STRESS again a big major problem with some GSDs)

‘Obviously this would drain them of fluid and no doubt depending on diet there is a further drain upon the animals’ body fluids and therefore essential body salts. (Electrolytes can be obtained at The Animal health Co. 01787 476400)’

Pat goes on to say she feeds her dogs twice a day so the body is not overloaded and the stomach too full at anytime. A policy, which I have always followed for life.

Pat also says she gives more meat and bones to her older dogs, than a dry food. She classifies the dry food as a roughage which she considers work on the stomach contents as would be expected after a kill.

She also says that to ring the changes she would add some vegetables, sometimes fruit matter. She always gives them electrolytes on hot humid days and also in winter when working them.
Maybe Karen Hedberg has a valid point on this very distressing subject, and perhaps thinking about and bearing in mind.

Excessive exercise can also be seen to cause dehydration, like horses one does not feed immediately before or after exercise.

Do not allow large amounts of water straight after or before the above, and after the feeding.
Observe the animals before bedding them down for the night.

Precautions taken could save the animal distress, pain and surgery, which may not be successful.

GSD Information Group

It is the 10th anniversary of the group this May, we have we hope been of help to many of you. It is with this announcement we announce that Mrs J. Ixer has decided to step down and take a back seat.

Joyce will always be interested in the health of the GSD but feels it is time to stand back and take a well-earned rest.

I wish to say a big thank-you to Joyce for her support and also to all the Veterinary Professors and experts we have been working with, who always seem to be ready to assist and advise us in our quest to improve on the GSD’s Health.