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Eye-testing database planned for German Spitz


The German Spitz breed club have taken a step towards improving breed health and breeding options for breeders by setting up a new database, which collates all eye testing results for the breed.

Most breeders have been eye testing for years, but as the breed does not feature on the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club schedule as a breed affected by eye problems, the results are not printed in the Breed Record Supplements. The only way a breeder could find an eye test result was to wait until the breed club’s newsletter was published but not all breeders sent in their results for publication.

Thinking that this was all fragmented, and not of any real use to breeders, Nicky Garbutt with the support of the club has designed a data base which allows free access and full information for all breeders to consider when making breeding decisions.

Nicky told Our Dogs: “For those of us that take health seriously, we need access to those results as a whole so we can make informed choices when breeding, otherwise we're just fumbling about in the dark. Unfortunately, because the BVA/KC in their wisdom won't publish our results because we're not on any of their schedules for inherited eye disease (despite paying the same fees as everyone else), we're were still having to rely on the owners of those dogs tested to submit their own certificates to the club for publication, and there have been ongoing reports for years that some dogs have failed, yet all the club had ever received were clear certificates. Without those failures included in the list, we're still missing a rather large part of the big picture so could unknowingly be using siblings/parents/offspring of those affected dogs”.

To combat the problem of breeders only submitting pass results for breed health testing the German Spitz club of Great Britain has put into the their club rules that all members must notify the club of their dogs’ health results. The rules put in place by the club are that adults must be tested at least every three years and it recommends puppies are litter screened between five and eight weeks of age.

It is planned to put litter eye screening test results on the data base, as soon as possible. Like many breeders the Spitz breeders are welcoming any help the KC and BVA can offer, but many are hoping the KC will eventually get a database set up for every breed which has free access to it, and which records the health failures as well as the passes.

As Nicky pointed out, “Until then its down to those of us that care about the health of our breeds to do what we can to create our own. Our breed is currently being researched for a DNA marker for RD at Cambridge vet school - now what a huge step forward that would be in the tools available to GS breeders!”

The link to the database is www.germanspitzclubofgreatbritain.com and it can be found under the Health heading.