What is Health Testing?
All dogs are at risk of inheriting diseases, regardless of whether they are purebred or crossbred dogs. A substantial amount of research has been carried out to analyse these diseases by investigating important factors, such as what causes them, which breeds may be affected and how the disease is inherited. Funding into this type of research has enabled the development of tests and screening schemes, and resources which allow breeders to help reduce the number of affected dogs and eventually eradicate these conditions.
There are 2 main types of health conditions: simple and complex.
Simple health conditions are usually associated with genetic mutations and for which a DNA test may be available. These tests tell you whether a dog is Clear of the mutation, a Carrier, or is Affected. Only Affected dogs will develop the disease. In Bloodhounds, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is an example of a simple condition, where DNA tests are available. These tests can be used to avoid diseases in future generations. Responsible breeders will use these tests to ensure they do not produce affected puppies.
Complex health conditions usually cannot be screened for with a DNA test. They are the result of a mixture of genetics, conformation, and lifestyle factors (such as diet and exercise). Screening programmes for complex diseases may tell you to what extent a dog is Affected (e.g. by a grade) or is at risk of the disease. Screening for hips and elbows fall into this category. Breeders should aim to breed from dogs with the best grades in order to reduce the risk of producing affected puppies. These screening programmes are about assessing risk and are used to reduce risk in future generations.
Clinical eye screening using the KC/BVA programme is also available and is used to identify conditions of the eyeball and adnexa (eyelids, eye-lashes). This is used to identify whether a dog is Affected or Clear of a particular condition.
Recommended Health Testing
Health Testing, isn't just a question of taking your hound to a vet and being told, he's fine and healthy.
The Kennel Club now recommend that all bloodhounds have the following screening tests BEFORE being bred from.
Links to the organisations that organise and undertake this screening can be followed for further information.
Hip Scoring/Elbow Scoring
This is done in conjunction with the BVA and KC.
In the past, breeders have used excuses such as "I dont want to give my hound a General Anaesthetic unnecessarily". and "I have no HD/ED in my line"
Neither of these excuses are valid. Firstly Hip and Elbow scoring Xrays can be taken with light to heavy sedation and no GA is required. Secondly unless you TEST you wont truly know what you have in your line.
For more information on procedures and costs for HIPS visit the BVA HERE
For more information on procedures and costs for ELBOWS visit the BVA HERE
Although there is no formal scheme for bloodhounds with the BVA, we have made great progress over the years with
our own eye testing regime, that was put together by the Bloodhounbd Club and Professor Bedford of the Royal Veterinary College. In more recent years as eyes have greatly improved, breeders can use the BVA Eye Scheme, which involves visiting one of their eye panellist vets, either at a surgery, a specialist eye clinic, or at one of the breed clinics put on by The Bloodhound Club.
For more information on Eye testing please visit the BVA HERE
Lets get HEALTHIER!
The testing recommended by the KC should be considered the minimum.
Other tests that are available and should potentially be used as useful tools in breeding fitter, healthier, longer lived, happier hounds include
Once again a simple test, non invasive and not expensive. It has to be undertaken by a veterinary cardiologist and you will be issued with a certificate by the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society, and they have vets qualified to undertake this test all over the UK.
For more information on heart testing please visit the VCS HERE