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German Shepherd Dog Information Group

The group is really overwhelmed by the support which has been shown, by Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Universities. (more so in the past year), for problems which are present in the breed today. For the first time for many years we have been backed in the belief that the breeds genetic make-up is slightly different from the many other breeds. We therefore were extremely pleased to see that certain parties had noted this, and decided to support and help us to finding an explanation for these and thus making the breed much healthier.

GSD Information GroupWe are pleased and proud to announce that the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has been one of those to do so. We have been awarded a grant for research to continue on the problem of Anal Furunculous. This was presented on September 20th  to our researchers at the RVC. The group and the Breed wish to thank  the K.C for its generosity, this will help to forward the research. We have been able to present a cheque for the total of £4000. This has become possible because of the generous support shown, by certain persons and clubs. BUT it does not end here financial support is still needed, so please will you donate generously  towards this and other research which is being carried out for the breed?

The South Western GSD Club already has set the ball rolling and we are grateful for its support. Duston Club and Obedience club also gave generously after holding a sponsored walk (and enjoying each other’s company) which raised £1000 to  DM/ DNA research. Please will YOU do the same, send your donations and cheques to the GSD Info Group and post to me, I will see that our researcher gets the money to continue.

Some extremely conscientious owners have taken the time and  responded to our request for help. They have sent to us pedigree's of affected animals with various problems, some being alive others dead, but of popular breeding which have or are being treated, this help enormously. But it is extremely important that today's problems are also recorded, so please continue to send information.

One person on finding the problem of Anal Furunculosis  present in her line, this involved her foundation bitch, and had occurred in three consecutive generations has cut her losses, having the stock from this line which she has kept eliminated from her breeding programme. A very brave and responsible move. It is hoped that an answer may be found by pre-testing before breeding. Three candidate genes have already been found, so we hope for some more news in the near future. PLEASE do not place your head in the sand, it will not go away. Be generous and  please support this.

I would also like to bring to your attention the following research does not just happen it takes years in some cases. three steps forward and four back is not uncommon. So after receiving an e-mail stating that Chris and I do not take this research seriously, because I could not  give the owner of a dog direct contact with  the  researchers, we were a bit to say the least offended. Like all groups certain guidelines have to be followed, we are the go betweens so more time can be spent on getting positive results. We are requested to ask certain facts and in some cases request the pedigree of the effected animal. We also have to ask for the Vets contact address and telephone number,this is a professional and proper approach to the problem. Most  Researchers are really doing such research to help our breed in their own time so time is precious. So more time spent  on the phone or net is some of that precious time. Yes Chris and I do take it seriously and that is why we spend so much spare time helping others. Please bare this in mind.

You may remember I asked for support into the more active problem of Epilepsy. Thank-you to those who tried to help and promote the research. But as usual very few have come forward except the PET owner or the person who might have just one or two dogs, and the working owner are very concerned, especially when a well loved animal suddenly and with out reason  develops this problem. These are the people who  co-operate sending pedigrees,both for checking and to be recorded as having the problem. These pedigrees that have been sent are to be honest few, but were forwarded to the researcher. Our thanks for the support and honesty. But unfortunately they are from lines which  are not known to have a problem by the breeder when  pups are sold. Unfortunately when one is not always knowing of the relatives on new pedigrees it comes as a shock, but nothing to be ashamed of, but it is important that  the problem is not repeated.   The news is there is the Kennel Club Veterinary Seminar to be held towards the latter half of the year will include the researchers in question will be lecturing on this subject. We are being taken seriously and for this again I thank the Kennel Club, for advise and support. A call yesterday from a working owner who announced she had that week had one of her animals start to fit, the pedigree seems to be a pattern of some others submitted. I would also like to bring to your attention that the research continues and although certain parties mostly pet or working have  assisted it is more affective if more breeders become responsible and assist.

The terrible problem of Bloat has reared its head again, and in some cases no one is doing anything to cause it. An excellent article written by Penny Watson of Cambridge University suggests the following.

There is a belief that deep chested dogs are at a higher risk , along with those who eat too rapidly,(suggested a large stone in the food to slow eating down). Feeding higher often  increases the tendency to  increase the problem It also is said to be caused by under weight/stress/or family related. Food type (not so much fat although the animal should have some) plus the advise of feeding smaller meals rather than one large one can help. Little and often. Soaked dry food can often help, but do not allow the dog to drink a lot of water after feeding, to avoid the animal over filling the stomach. Correct amount of Fibre and protein are important, electrolytes so dehydration does not take place. Penny also discusses food allergies, here she suggests that intolerance of milk can be seen by diarrhoea and this is sometimes caused by the lack of enzymes present in the gut, which have not been given time to adapt. An easily digestible diet is then suggested. Again this could be a dry food fed correctly and in small amounts, giving the stomach ample time to digest it. Some foods can cause vomiting, others will have itchy skins. One of the  commonest allergies is re-action to chicken. Proteins also plays a significant part. Gluten re-action is also common. This is why Rice is use. It also appears that if an animal develops this is has it for life.

It is an excellent article, which really makes one think. Hounds and kennel dogs years ago used have a day of starvation, and bloat was very rarely heard of. Maybe this is a point to remember.
One  particular  statement which is coming true which was drawn to my attention when Joyce Ixer first helped us start this Group was: The GSD is somewhat different in its Genetics to other breeds of dogs. The researchers helping  have also made this statement in recent months, they consider STRESS is also a major factor, in animals who suddenly develop a problem for which it has a weakness, or a problem not noted in the background which becomes activated by a change in the daily routine, diet etc. Something to bare in mind maybe?  

For help and support please contact; Dorothy Cullum at 01277-220933 or Chris at 01223-208216