Update on Vaccines
Update soon!

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: “A little knowledge may lead you down a wrong path,  a lot of knowledge without wisdom is totally wasted.” Author Unknown

DR. ROBERTA LEE, D. D., Ph. D., N.D. 
If you love dogs and enjoy their company; if you want to have the freedom to own or breed them, you need to know how they can be used to drive a wedge in societal beliefs.  

If you eat butter or drink milk; if you wear silk shirts or leather shoes; if you love fried chicken - then you need to understand the ways in which "Animal Rights" or "AR Extremists" use animals as the vehicle to drive away with your God-given rights.  

Do not be fooled by the appeal to your humanity.  These groups are not about animal welfare.  If they were, they would rescue all the frightened pets waiting to be killed in the "humane" societies and animal shelters.  They have the funds to do so.  They got the money from you!

This may be a difficult subject but to know your enemy and his true agenda is to have some hope of defeating him.

Some of the greatest minds in the sport have spoken out about the true agenda of PETA, ALF, and other such organizations.  Patty Haines, Sally Bishop, Trish Kanzler, the list is long and distinguished.  We should take heed.

So, because this is really about PEOPLE and not at all about protecting the  animals, we have included   background information that will help you weigh the honesty and intent of such organizations.

As gene manipulation, cloning, and the newly approved genetic vaccines enter the marketplace, we have a new duty to our pets, and to our  children's children.  The future of the human race is yet to be told.

Nanotechnology may indeed lead to healthier lives but one has to wonder where else it will lead in the meantime?

1992 Canine Chronicle column on animal rights extremists was predictive of today and scarier then ever when you look to the future!  It was never just about animals.  Every political agenda needs a vehicle...

ASPCA can't keep figures straight..... On Friday June 3rd airlines spokesman said that ASPCA figures show 20,000 animals die every year out of the (did he actually say 20 million?) animals shipped yearly.  Live animal rates have risen faster than gas prices, presumably in order to discourage live animal shipping.  It seems airlines don't want the business since they began subbing out cargo handling and animal deaths became a serious problem due to simple incompetence.  Most would agree that the average baggage handler couldn't care less about dogs, much less luggage.  Perhaps they are just distracted by the opportunity to steal from passengers while plundering through their personal belongings as been televised.

Granted, the airlines are in trouble and in spite of charging more to ship a dog than a person, the liability risk is far less for moving people from city to city than it is for stolen items and animals neglected by baggage handlers.  Remember when Chuckie was lost while in flight with Bobby?  There have been others and everyone in the sport knew when, who, where, etc.  We knew about it.  I remember some thirty years ago when 179 greyhounds en route from Australia to U.S. tracks died in one shipment.  But the losses were either infrequent enough to be "big news" in the sport and on TV, or we no longer care about such bad news and the media doesn't report it.  The point is, we don't hear about losses of 5,000 or even 20,000 depending on which talking head is talking.  Is it because these huge numbers are fabricated in order to achieve an agenda?????

By Saturday Lisa Weisberg was all over television, making a rational argument for the requirement that will virtually put breeders out of business.  Weisberg said the ASPCA has worked hard at getting this law passed because "pets are treated like luggage."  She said they lobbied for legislation to control temps but "the airlines refused."  Contradicting the airline spokesman, she said 500,000 were flown in 1999, of which "one percent, 5,000, were injured, killed, or lost."

PETA?  Chalk up one more battle in the successful war against animal ownership and "exploitation."  If breeders, commercial or hobby, can't ship, how will puppies and kittens get to new owners?

The answer is obvious - Hunte Brothers will simply truck more puppies to more pet shop outlets.  It will be great for them and for the airline industry.  Hobby Breeders will be out of the way, the airlines would no longer have the threat of litigation on animal losses, and PETA can then concentrate on the puppy mill industry.  If that is their intent.  Who knows?

One has to wonder - why aren't the AR people releasing dogs from the puppy mills instead of dog shows and labs?

Public Citizen press release provided by Angela Bradbery

Arthritis Drug Should Be Removed From Market

Arava Linked to Liver Complications and Deaths, Public Citizen Tells FDA 

 WASHINGTON, D.C. - A prescription arthritis drug has been linked to an alarmingly high number of severe liver problems, including deaths, since it came to the market in 1998 and should be taken off the market immediately, the consumer group Public Citizen said today in a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 Arava, also known as leflunomide and produced by Aventis, was first marketed in the United States in September 1998 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Over the next three years, it was associated with at least 130 cases of severe liver toxicity, including 56 hospitalizations and 12 deaths, according to FDA data. Two of those who died were in their 20s.

 "To have this many deaths and severe reactions over such a short time is truly disturbing." said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, which submitted the petition. "When there are other treatments that are more effective and don't endanger patients as much as this drug, there is absolutely no reason for the FDA to keep Arava on the market."

 In a comparison between Arava and methotrexate, which is an equally or more effective drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Public Citizen found that over the three-year period it has been on the market, Arava was linked to six times more cases of fatal liver toxicity and 13 times more reports of hypertension than methotrexate, although there were 6.8 million (5.5 times) more prescriptions filled for methotrexate than Arava during that time. Additionally, Arava has been associated with 12 cases of the life-threatening autoimmune disease Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and methotrexate with none.

 Another danger of the drug is that it remains in body tissues for an extremely long time. Warnings already on its packaging suggest that byproducts could remain in the body for months, so that even if patients stopped the drug after an adverse reaction started, the damage could continue to affect patients for months.

 Public Citizen's petition is supported by Dr. David E. Yocum, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center at Arizona Health Sciences Center, who recently ended a tenure as chair of the FDA's Arthritis Drugs Advisory Committee. Yocum said he agrees that the drug should be withdrawn from the market.

 "I do not believe that the general rheumatologist understands or has any knowledge about these serious and potentially life-threatening complications," Yocum said in a letter to Wolfe. "I also agree that providing a black box warning concerning these issues may not be effective since no one can predict who will suffer from these complications."

 Yocum has recently reported to the FDA the death of one of his patients from acute liver failure after using Arava.

 After similar serious reactions to leflunomide in Europe, the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products issued an urgent warning last year to patients and doctors about the drug's toxicity.

 "Before it was approved by the FDA, there was evidence that leflunomide led to liver complications, and now the dangers are even clearer," Wolfe said. "No more patients should be subjected to these risks."

 A copy of the petition can be viewed on the Web at http://www.citizen.org/documents/1614.pdf.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Fore more information, visit www.citizen.org.

 just substitute the word "Carprofen"  for the word "leflunomide" - of course with "carprofen" the death rate is MUCH higher!


Year 1997       Carprofen - Oral Dog
1244  Reports         1370 Treated        1327  Reacted        195 Died

Year 1998       Carprofen - Oral Dog
3352 Reports        3431 Treated       3401  Reacted          456 Died

Year 1999       Carprofen - Oral Dog
2440 Reports       2513  Treated       2452  Reacted          371 Died
Year 2000       Carprofen - Oral Dog
2419 Reviews       2566  Treated       2460 Reacted          470 Died
statistical data provided by Jean
(Always for George - Always for the Rimadyl Dogs

Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) 

Dobermanns may suffer from the mildest type of vWD - Type 1.

The blood-clotting disorder Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) was first identified in humans in the 1920s by Finnish doctor Dr. E. A. von Willebrand. It is a haemophilia-like disease, typified by the reduced quantity or absence of a certain clotting factor – the von Willebrand factor (vWf) - in the plasma. The factor is a glycoprotein and is necessary for the normal platelet function of blood clotting. Platelets are components of blood that assist with clotting; vWD does not lower the amount of platelets, but does change their constitution. Research has shown that 12 blood clotting ‘factors’ exist - vWD affects levels of Factor VIII. 

vWD is unlikely to cause death, with most forms of the disease mild or in many cases difficult to detect. However, in some cases and particular breeds (eg. Scottish Terriers) Type III vWD cases can be life threatening or severe. 

There are two forms of vWD – Inherited and Acquired. Inherited vWD (autosomal recessive) is the most common form of vWD in dogs and is divided into three types: 

Type I:
  Probably the most common as it is found in most breeds of dogs and inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Bleeding disorders are due to reduced levels of vWf and is less severe than the other two types. 
Type II:
  Low concentration of abnormal vWf. Also inherited as a dominant trait and is the rarest of the three. 
Type III:
  The complete absence of vWf in affected dogs, thus the most severe of the three. Inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Any episodes of bleeding usually require transfusions of blood or supply of the missing vWf. 

A Direct Marker (gene) Test allows an accurate assessment of the disease and is 100% accurate. Unlike the Indirect Marker Test, the direct test does not require pedigree information as it can be used to diagnose an individual dog. Research has shown that carrier or affected dogs can show variable levels of vWf expression, therefore some affected dogs may bleed severely while other affected dogs may show very little or no bleeding. 

It should be noted that vWD is not a death sentence for dogs, in fact many dogs with the disease can live quite normal lives and show no complications e.g. carriers of the recessive form who do not have the disease - Affected who do not have bleeding episodes.  With careful mating strategies and genetic screening, the breeder can begin to bring the percentage of carriers or affected in their pedigree down and make an impact on the levels seen in breeds. 

The three readings for vWD are:

 – no presence of the disease gene and cannot pass on any disease gene.  
 – one copy of the disease gene is present, however the animal does not exhibit any symptoms of the disease. Therefore no medical problems arise. Carriers will pass on the disease gene to 50% of their offspring.  
 – two copies of the disease gene are present. The animal will always pass on the disease gene (mutation) to its offspring. 

Mating results  - Blue indicates Male - Red indicates Female

Clear  Carrier Affected 
Clear All Clear     
Carrier 50%Clear, 50%Carrier 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% Affected   
Affected All Carrier 50% Carrier, 50% Affected All Affected 

I personally mated an Affected to a Carrier, 5 puppies were born and 4 (80%) were Carriers and 1 (20%) were Affected.  I know of breeders who did Carrier to Carrier and did not get any Affected puppies.  In fact the majority of the litter were Clears.

What's New in Doberman Health
Here you will find the latest information,news and links about important health issues concerning the Doberman.  

Demodectic Mange
(Sometimes called Red Mange) Demodectic mite 
 The Culprit - Demodex Canis 
Demodectic mange is caused by a microscopic mite called Demodex canis. All dogs raised normally by their mothers possess this mite as mites are transferred from mother to pup via cuddling during the first few days of life. (After the pup is older it is unable to pick up demodex mites. Puppies raised by hand do not ever get demodex mites.) For some reason, conditions change in certain dogs to allow demodex mites to gain the upper hand; the mites proliferate and can cause serious skin disease. 

Mites are not transmitted to people or other dogs except from mother dog to pup as described. Demodectic mange (unlike sarcoptic mange) is not contagious.

Mites live inside hair follicles -- a difficult place for miticides (chemicals that kill mites) to reach.
Mites are a normal residents of dog skin; it is only in some individual dogs that mites cause problems. 
Demodicosis -- The Disease Itself 

Demodectic mange, also called demodicosis, has three forms: 

Form #1: Localized
 Usually a red, scaly, well-circumscribed lesion on the face or forelegs is present. It generally goes away on its own. Goodwinol ointment, an insecticide, may be used daily to control localized demodicosis. Hair regrowth should be evident after about a month of treatment; however, some localized cases appear "destined" to become generalized and no treatment will prevent this from occurring. 

When ointment is used, rubbing the medication on the area may break off the weaker hairs at the margin of the lesion. The lesion may thus appear to get larger at first. Antibacterial gels are also used against localized demodicosis and associated skin infections. Often it is best not to treat this condition and to simply allow it to resolve on its own. 

Enlarged lymph nodes are a bad sign -- often foretelling generalized mange. 

Can the Pup Be Bred Later?

Sometimes the puppy with localized demodicosis was obtained for breeding purposes. The current recommendation is not to treat these puppies so that we can determine if the condition will stay localized and resolve or if it will generalize. If it stays localized and eventually resolves without treatment, the animal is still a candidate for breeding. If the condition generalizes to cover the entire body, the animal should be sterilized. If the condition receives treatment and resolves, we will never know how the disease would have gone in its natural state and will not know whether the pup is carrying the genetic predisposition for demodectic mange. In this case, it is best to be conservative and not take the chance of passing on genetic predisposition for this disease. 

Localized demodicosis is almost exclusively a "puppyhood" disease. When a puppy develops localized demodicosis the chance of the condition resolving are 90% unless there is a family history of demodicosis in related dogs. In this case, chance of spontaneous resolution drops to 50%. 

Occasionally an adult dog develops localized demodicosis. We currently do not have good understanding of the prognosis or significance of this condition in an adult dog. 

Form #2: Generalized 
The entire dog is affected with patchy fur, skin infections, bald, scaly skin. 

Most generalized demodicosis starts as localized demodicosis. 
Adult Onset-- Most demodicosis occurs in young dogs. An older dog should not get demodicosis unless it has an underlying problem with its immune system, possibly even cancer. A veterinarian should be consulted regarding possible primary diseases. 

Juvenile Onset -- 30% to 50% of dogs under age 1 year recover spontaneously from generalized demodicosis without any form of treatment. Usually treatment is recommended, though, to facilitate recovery. 

It is very important that dogs with a history of generalized demodectic mange not be bred as there is a hereditary component to the development of the disease. 

Form #3: Demodectic Pododermatitis 
This condition represents demodectic mange confined to the paws. Bacterial infectious usually accompany this condition. Often as generalized demodicosis is treated, the foot is the last stronghold of the mite. Old English Sheepdogs and Shar-peis tend to get severe forms of this condition. The infection can be so deep that biopsy is needed to find the mites and make the diagnosis. 

Stress and Generalized Demodectic Mange

Physiological stress is an important factor determining the degree of severity of demodectic mange. 

Females should be spayed as soon as the disease is controlled. Coming into heat, hormone fluxes, and pregnancy are very stressful. Also, predisposition to demodicosis is hereditary and should not be passed on.
The dog should be fed a reputable brand of dog food so as to avoid any nutritionally related problems.
Keep the pet parasite-free. Worms are irritants that the pet need not deal with and fleas may exacerbate the itchiness and skin infection.
Keep up the pet's vaccinations.
The mites themselves cause suppression of the immune system so the pet needs every advantage to stay healthy.
Skin infections are usually present in these cases and antibiotics will likely be necessary. It is very important that cortisone type medications such as prednisone NOT be used in these cases as they will tip the immune balance in favor of the mite. 

The younger the dog, the better the chance of cure. In many cases of adult-onset demodicosis, the disease is controlled by dips and baths but cure is not always possible. Some cases can never be controlled. 

Current Treatment of Choice -- Ivermectin 

Ivermectinis a broad spectrum anti-parasite medication generally used for food animals and horses.  In dogs and cats it is licensed for use as a heartworm preventive aand as a topical ear mite therapy; the use of this medication to treat demodicosis is not approved by the FDA. When ivermectin was a new drug, it was hoped that it could be used against demodectic mange mites as at that time only labor intensive dipping was available for treatment. Once it was discovered  that daily doses are needed (most other parasites can be controlled with wormings spaced several weeks apart)  ivermectin was found to be highly effective, quickly becoming the treatment of choice. Ivermectin is inexpensive relative to Milbemycin (see below) and involves no labor intensive bathing. It DOES, however, taste terrible if given orally (it may be necessary for the owner to learn how to give ivermectin as an injectable treatment.) 


There is an unfortunate tendency for people hoping to save money to get their hands on large animal formulations of ivermectin and attempt to home treat this condition.  The chief reason why this is a bad idea is "ivermectin sensitivity," a phenomenon famous in the collie breeds.  It is important to realize that sensitivity to ivermectin may not be predictably limited to “collie breeds” and thus it is often prudent to use a lower test dose before initiating the relatively high doses of ivermectin needed to treat demodicosis. Recently a DNA test has been developed by Washington State University which can determine whether or not an individual has ivermectin sensitivity.  (The test uses a cheek swab - for details visit www.vetmed.wsu.edu/vcpl).  Not all individuals of collie heritage are sensitive to ivermectin. 

Another important reason not to attempt home treatment of this condition with ivermectin is that there is a range of ivermectin doses used in the treatment of demodicosis and it seems that higher doses do clear infection faster than lower doses. This means that if a lower dose has been ineffective, a higher dose may still work. This does not mean that a pet owner should experiment with ivermectin doses on their own as there is some potential for lethal toxicity if this drug is not used appropriately. It does mean, though, that the affected dog needs to be appropriately rechecked at the proper intervals so that the mite numbers can be checked and it can be determined if the dose should be increased. 

A related medication called doramectin can be used to treat demodicosis. It is given as a weekly injection as opposed to daily treatment with ivermectin. The same collie sensitivity exists with doramectin  and there is no price advantage so the only benefit over ivermectin, if there is one, relates to the weekly administration schedule. 

Traditional Treatment -- Amitraz (Mitaban) Dips 

Unless the animal is largely bald or has a short coat, complete clipping will be required for maximal contact with the dip. 

Dip should be preceded by a benzoyl peroxide bath (oxydex or pyoben shampoo). This helps clear up skin infections and also helps open the hair follicles so the dip can penetrate to the mites. Shampoo must sit on the pet at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Caution: This type of shampoo can stain jewelry and clothing. 

Dip is applied by sponge. Gloves should be worn while applying dip. The dip dries on the dog's fur and should not be rinsed off. The dog should not get wet between dips. 

Dipping occasionally yields mild sedation as a side effect. Very small dogs may become highly sedated and require an antidote but this is unusual. For your convenience, dipping and bathing may be performed at the hospital thus allowing for veterinary supervision in the event of side effects. 

Dipping/bathing is recommended every 2 weeks on the bottle of dip. Most universities are finding that the cure rate jumps from 25% to 80% when dip is used at double strength and applied weekly. No toxic effects have been seen using the dip in this way and this is our current recommendation except in very small dogs and puppies. 

The pet's skin is scraped every 2 weeks until 2 consecutive scrapings are negative. Dipping/bathing is discontinued and the pet is rechecked in one month. Dipping/bathing are reinstituted if mites are again found. 

Amitraz dipping should not be used in toy breeds or in very young puppies. 

NOTE: Amitraz is a drug of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor class. People who are taking selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as Prozac®) could have a bad reaction to the use of amitraz if they administer dips to pets.

NOTE: Recently Upjohn Pharmacia merged with Pfizer Animal Health. Prior to this, Mitaban dip was on an "indefinite" backorder.  Pfizer Animal Health plans to reintroduce Mitaban dip as soon as possible and does not consider this product to have been discontinued.  Large animal formulations of Amitraz are available but their use in small animals is considered to be off-label.  If you are interested in Amitraz therapy for demodicosis, consult your veterinarian.

Something Else Your Veterinarian Might Try -- Interceptor®

Interceptor (active ingredient: Milbemycin oxime) is normally marketed as a monthly heartworm preventive; when it is used on a daily basis, it is effective against generalized demodicosis. This discovery was welcomed by the veterinary profession as finally demodicosis could be treated without labor-intensive dipping. The downside to this treatment is expense, plus an owner can expect to be using this medication daily for up to 3 months to achieve cure. 

Interceptor may be used in any patient safely; the only downside is expense. 


Relapse is always a possibility with generalized demodicosis but most dogs that relapse do so within a 6 to 12 month period from the time they appear to have achieved cure. When relapse occurs it is often because the dog appeared to be normal and the owner did not return for the appropriate rescrapings. The final scrape is performed one month after treatment has stopped. 

Sarcoptic mange is a completely different disease.

We Wish it Wasn't Necessary to Add This 
No Motor Oil 
Some 30 years ago, dipping dogs with demodectic mange in motor oil was a popular home remedy. Skin exposure to motor oil can cause rashes and skin destruction in severe cases. The hydrocarbons can be absorbed through the skin and cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. If motor oil is licked off the coat, resultant vomiting can lead to aspiration of motor oil into the lungs and pneumonia. Kidney and liver damage can result from motor oil dipping.

Please: Do not dip your dog in motor oil!

Another useful and informative Demodectic Mange site is here

“No Matter What You Are Told, No Line is Free of Health Problems”

If you are told this, do not believe it: it is idyllic and not at all true!  Any person who tells you this is either not thorough enough in his/her research, has not been breeding long enough to learn about the pedigrees, or is just lying, so be overly cautious. (From statements by Peggy (Bob) Adamson)

There is yet another complexity to making a breeding decision – longevity.  This is a CRITICAL factor to consider since some dogs may test clear for all diseases and yet come from a pedigree where the average life span is 7 years of age.  Conversely, a dog may test positive for hypothyroidism yet come from a line of 13 and 14 year old relatives.  When talking about cardio, cancer or CVI (“The Big Three” in Dobermans), a dog who tests positive and/or dies of one of these genetic diseases has often contributed to the gene pool prior to the diagnosis or death.  By the time the diagnosis is made, 3 or more generations of progeny can be alive and well.  At this stage, it is unrealistic for a breeder to toss out all of the dogs in his/her breeding program and start again with new dogs who may have the same health problems or even more!  It is for these reasons that the entire dog and pedigree must be considered prior to making a breeding decision.

Given all of the information presented above, it is important to consider both the health results of a given dog as well as the overall longevity represented in the pedigree.  For certain tests there are definitive results: vwd and hip dysplasia.  For most, however, there is no surefire way of knowing if a dog will ever develop the disease.  Cardio, cancer, CVI, eye disease and hypothyroidism all qualify here.  The best we can do is to ensure that these tests have been passed at the time of breeding and that there are minimal occurrences of these diseases in the bloodline and pedigree. 

One of the most critical things to consider when breeding a litter is health and longevity.  These two things are not synonymous, nor are they mutually exclusive, so it is extremely important to consider both factors when making a breeding decision.

With the average life expectancy of Dobermans being under 10 years of age and Weimaraners approximately 12, it is becoming increasingly important for breeders to pay more attention to hereditary diseases.  Some of the most common diseases affecting Dobermans are cardiomyopathy, cancer, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s Disease, eye diseases and Cervical Vestibular Instability (Wobbler’s).  Weimaraners are commonly affected by HOD, cancer, torsion and hip dysplasia.

Cardiomyopathy is the big killer in Dobermans, being the #1 cause of death in males and the #3 cause in females.  It is a disease which affects the heart, and once diagnosed a dog can expect to live only a short time (even with the best medications, 2 years is a long addition).  There are some screens in place to diagnose this disease, but due to its complexity there is no definitive (i.e. DNA) test.  The most reliable  test we have right now is the Holter Monitor.  This device is strapped onto the dog., and it monitors and records the beating of the heart over a 24 hour period.  See http://frontpage.execulink.com/dobes/holter.htm for more information.  The disease rarely occurs in Weimaraners, though it has been seen in recent years.

Cancer is the #1 cause of death in female dogs of many breeds, with the most common being mammary.  A simple spay procedure done prior to the bitch’s first heat cycle can reduce the probability of cancer by up to 90%.  Therefore, it is recommended that all non-breeding stock be spayed at an early age to reduce the likelihood of cancer.  As in humans, there is no genetic test to determine if a dog will develop cancer, so we must rely on pedigree research. Vets and other animal specialists are investigating the links between cancer and nutrition and over vaccinating. 

Cervical Vertebral Instability (CVI or Wobbler’s) is a disease affecting the spine and neck of a dog.  It is a disease primarily found in Dobermans and Great Danes as well as some breeds of horses.  Most often, Dobermans will be affected with this disease between the ages of 4 and 5.  Although it is the neck area or the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae that are affected, an affected dog will initially lose movement in its rear and will actually ‘wobble’ when trying to maintain its balance.  As the disease progresses, the dog will become more limited in its movement and is often in extensive pain.  The pain can be controlled with steroids, and the dog can maintain a moderate quality of life if precautions are taken.  Exercise should be limited, stairs should be avoided and no pressure should EVER be placed on the neck (so no collars should be used).  For this reason, not a lot of research has been conducted on CVI.  If you have a dog diagnosed with CVI, a terrific alternative to surgery and steroids is Gold Bead Implants by Dr. Terry Durkes. 

Hypothyroidism in dogs is much the same as in humans.  Affecting the thyroid gland, it can have devastating effects on an affected dog.  Symptoms include shedding, poor coat, and in extreme cases fainting.  The disease rarely results in death, but is something to consider when breeding, as daily supplementation can be required for an affected dog.  This can be both expensive and a nuisance over time.  An annual complete thyroid panel (checking the levels of TSH, T4, T3, Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroxin) should be conducted on dogs to ensure proper maintenance and control of the thyroid.  This disease is believed to be genetic, and some bloodlines are heavily affected with it while others remain relatively clear.  An interesting bit of information is that red Dobermans are more often affected than black Dobermans.

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization which certifies dogs who have tested clear for genetically transmitted eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma.  It is estimated that approximately 40% of purebred dogs suffer from eye disease.  Exams must be done annually and submitted to CERF for current registration.

Hip dysplasia affects many breeds of purebred dogs.  Hip x-rays can be taken at any age.  X-rays should be taken by a qualified vet/radiologist and then sent to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to receive a registration number and a rating.  If the dog is less than 24 months of age, a preliminary result will be issued, but for the result to be considered final, the dog must be more than 24 months of age when the x-rays are taken.  To get a rating, three qualified radiologists from the OFA read the x-ray (2 for a preliminary result).  Possible ratings are: excellent, good, fair, borderline and dysplastic (levels I, II, III).  Once a dog receives an OFA number, this result is considered the dog’s final evaluation. OFA houses the largest animal health database in the world.   They have a public registry for hip and elbow dysplasia, VWD, Thyroid, CERF and cardiomyopathy.  However, only dogs who have passed these tests are recorded in the database.  It is the responsibility of the owners to submit their dogs’ results to OFA and to authorize OFA to make this information public.  However, it is still an excellent source of information.

There is also a second (and preferred by us) method of testing for hip dysplasia. This is the Pennhip method. X-Rays can be taken and evaluated as early as 4 months by this method. The hips are measured for the amount of laxity they have in the joints, evaluated for degenerative joint disease and for fluid in the joints. Three different views of x-rays are taken, and veterinarians must be specially trained and certified to take these x-rays. Each dog is evaluated against other dogs *of the same breed* and then ranked in a percentile. We feel this is a better tool for evaluating hip dysplasia and also a better tool for enabling us to improve the hips of our dogs over generations. For more information see The Pennhip Website.

Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD) is a bleeding disorder affecting mainly Dobermans, Shelties, Scottish Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Corgis and Poodles.  Some of these breeds suffer from Type 3 VWD which is an extremely serious form of the condition where dogs can spontaneously bleed.  It can be a death sentence for a dog.  Luckily, Dobermans are not in this category.  Dobermans suffer from Type 1 VWD where they may be genetically affected with the disease but rarely exhibit signs of bleeding.  They will never bleed spontaneously because they still have Von Willebrand's Factor circulating through their systems, and most bleeding can be easily and safely controlled.

There is a DNA test for VWD, and two labs in the USA are offering this test.  The disease is a simple recessive disorder which has made a DNA test much easier to identify.  Every dog has two genes for VWD.  Each of these genes may be a clear gene or an affected gene.  Dogs who carry two copies of the clear gene are considered CLEAR, dogs with two copies of the affected gene are considered AFFECTED and dogs with one copy of each gene are considered CARRIERS.  Please note that affected dogs RARELY exhibit clinical signs of the disease.  Also note that carriers do not actually carry the disease, but rather carry one copy of the gene.  They will not exhibit ANY clinical signs of the disease. 

Breeding two clear dogs  is optimal, however this should not be the only criteria for selecting a breeding pair.  Temperament, longevity and conformation as well as pedigrees MUST be considered too.  Breeding two affected dogs will result in an entire litter of affected dogs.  Two carriers will result in 25% clear, 25% affected and 50% carriers.  A clear to an affected will result in 100% carriers.  An affected to a carrier will result in 75% affected and 25% carriers.  Clear to carrier will result in 75% clear and 25% carriers.

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) causes lameness and extreme pain in young growing dogs, usually of a large breed. It appears to occur in Weimaraners as a vaccine reaction. In this case, it usually occurs a few days after distemper vaccination and may appear to be worse than the "average" case on radiographs.  HOD usually shows up as an acute lameness, often seeming to affect all four legs simultaneously. Affected dogs may stand in a "hunched up" stance or refuse to stand at all. They may have a fever but this is not consistently present. They usually have painful swellings around the lower joints on the legs. Some will die from this disease, some suffer permanent disability but many recover later. The disease is so painful that many owners elect to euthanize the puppy rather than watch it suffer, despite the reasonably good chance for recovery, long term. Affected dogs may be so ill that they refuse to eat.

X-rays confirm this diagnosis in most cases. There are very typical X-ray changes, although it can look a little like bone infection from a septic condition. There is some evidence at this point that viral or bacterial infections may underlie some cases of HOD as canine distemper virus has been found in the affected areas in some dogs. There can be high white blood cell counts and the alkaline phosphatase level in the blood stream is often elevated.

There is yet another complexity to making a breeding decision – longevity.  This is a CRITICAL factor to consider since some dogs may test clear for all diseases and yet come from a pedigree where the average life span is 7 years of age.  Conversely, a dog may test positive for hypothyroidism yet come from a line of 13 and 14 year old relatives.  When talking about cardio, cancer or CVI (“The Big Three” in Dobermans), a dog who tests positive and/or dies of one of these genetic diseases has often contributed to the gene pool prior to the diagnosis or death.  By the time the diagnosis is made, 3 or more generations of progeny can be alive and well.  At this stage, it is unrealistic for a breeder to toss out all of the dogs in his/her breeding program and start again with new dogs who may have the same health problems or even more!  It is for these reasons that the entire dog and pedigree must be considered prior to making a breeding decision.

Given all of the information presented above, it is important to consider both the health results of a given dog as well as the overall longevity represented in the pedigree.  For certain tests there are definitive results: vwd and hip dysplasia.  For most, however, there is no surefire way of knowing if a dog will ever develop the disease.  Cardio, cancer, CVI, eye disease and hypothyroidism all qualify here.  The best we can do is to ensure that these tests have been passed at the time of breeding and that there are minimal occurrences of these diseases in the bloodline and pedigree.

ALBINISM - "white coated" and "white factored" Dobermans should NOT be bred. These dogs are *TYROSINASE POSITIVE ALBINOS*. In 1996, the AKC established a tracking system (the letter "Z" will be part of the registration number) allowing breeders to identify the normal colored Dobermans which may carry the albinistic gene. All breeders should require an AKC certified pedigree with colors to check that "white coated" and "white factored" dogs are not present in the pedigree of the dog or bitch to be bred.
VIRGINIA – Under a new bill proposed in Virginia, all dogs and cats acquired from dealers, hobby breeders, pet shops and adoption agencies would be have to be sterilized and microchipped. Sponsored by Sen. W. Roscoe Reynolds, S55 defines a "dealer" as any person who sells or transfers companion animals (with the exception of rescue groups). The bill further defines "hobby breeder" as one who breeds and places one litter per year. Responsible dog breeders will most certainly be impacted by this legislation! To read more about how you can help oppose this measure, please read our Legislative Alert. 

- Rep. Orrock has introduced H339, which requires veterinarians to collect animal license fees when administering a rabies vaccine. The county will pay veterinarians $2 for each license. The bill also requires counties to charge a $10 license fee for unaltered animals and $5 fee for altered animals. The bill further allows counties to charge an additional $5 for any cat or dog that is impounded without a current license. 

- H340, also by Rep. Orrock, will require cities and counties to regulate dangerous and vicious dogs. H340 will also grant law enforcement officers the power to petition a court to find a dog dangerous. It further prohibits the sale, adoption, transfer or foster of dangerous dogs. 

- Rep. Hargrove has prefiled H265, a bill that will increase the amount that local governments are allowed to charge for animal license taxes from $10 to $35. 

- H278, has been introduced by Rep. BaCote, will allow the city of Newport News to impose a license fee of up to $35 on each dog or cat that has not been spayed or neutered. 

- Rep. Dance’s H386 will expand the definition of a dangerous dog to include one that has without provocation chased, confronted or approached a person in a threatening or aggressive manner such that a reasonable person would be fearful of an attack. The proposal would allow an animal control officer to determine whether the dog is dangerous after an investigation. 

- Rep. Welch is sponsoring H828 to prohibit live animals from being awarded as prizes at a carnival or midway. The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and AKC support this bill. 

- Sen. Houck’s S200 is one of several dangerous dog bills introduced in Virginia so far this year. The bill would provide for criminal penalties for owners whose dogs cause serious injury or death. It would further create a dangerous dog registry and require owners of dangerous dogs to obtain at least $300,000 in liability insurance coverage. S200 would allow any law enforcement officer or animal control officer to initiate a dangerous dog hearing and mandates that municipalities enact dangerous dog laws. Sen. Houck introduced this bill in honor of an elderly woman in his district – Fredericksburg – who was killed in a dog attack last year.

- Sen. Houck is also sponsoring SJR12 to designate the last week of September as Virginia Responsible Dog Ownership week. 

- Pasquotank County has adopted an ordinance which allows the sheriff to designate dogs as dangerous or potentially dangerous. The measure defines a “dangerous dog” as one that has killed or severely injured a person or domestic animal or one that has been trained as a fighting dog. The ordinance also establishes a leash law that requires residents to keep their dogs restrained in open area in residential subdivisions and mobile home parks. 

For more information on pending legislation in Virginia, please contact the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs.

Dog Law and Breed Legislation


Why Breed Bans Don’t Work

by Katharine Dokken

Hot in today’s news are story after story about various communities considering different types of breed specific legislation (BSL), better known as breed banning. In a nutshell, BSL bans ownership of certain breeds of dog.

The purpose behind this kind of legislation is to stop dog bites, dog fighting rings, and prevent ownership of vicious dogs. However, banning dogs based on nothing more than their breed, does not accomplish this. In many communities there are already laws on the books to deal with these issues.

Lets look at dog fighting first of all. It is illegal across the United States, a felony in 44 states. The criminals that run these rings know they are committing a crime so to expect them to care that ownership of the dogs is illegal is a huge stretch of the imagination.

When breeds are declared to be aggressive and are banned by a community, those who wish to own an aggressive dog will get a dog of another breed or a vicious mutt. Or as many of them already do, they will simply breed their own.

What about dog bites? Breed specific legislation has been shown to be ineffective and does not alter the overall incidence of dog bites. A study done in England found that making three breeds of dogs illegal (Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans) did NOT decrease the number or severity of dog bites that occurred (Injury 1996 Vol. 27:89-91).

Besides the fact that BSL doesn't work, the laws are almost completely unenforceable. In Cincinnati, Ohio, during a ten-year period, the police department spent over $160,000 per year trying to enforce their Pit Bull ban. Among the many seized dogs were Boxers and Golden Retrievers. Many Animal Control officials cannot accurately identify the 800+ dog breeds in the world, let alone the 157 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

With the Pit Bull ban in Prince George’s County, Maryland in place since 1997, dog bites by Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes have not gone down. German Shepherds and mixed breed dogs were both responsible for more dog bites than Pit Bulls.

Besides the enforcement side of this equation there is also the public health problem. Banning ownership of certain breeds would cause consequences to human safety. A breed ban would not eliminate these breeds. It would not stop individuals from desiring or acquiring the banned breeds. Rather, the owners of such breeds and the public would be placed at greater harm because the dogs would no longer be produced by reputable breeders who breed for good temperament and health but would instead be produced by underground breeders who deliberately breed aggressive dogs. Banned breeds would have no access to vaccinations and proper vet care - rabies vaccinations will not occur, making dog bites much more serious.

The biggest problem that BSL fails to address is that of personal responsibility. Any dog treated harshly, trained to attack, or not properly bred or socialized may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. The owner is most often responsible -- not the breed.

Lest you think breed bans do not affect you since they aren't currently in place in your community, think about this. What if you go on vacation? Do you know if there is a breed ban in the area where you are going on vacation? Take for example the situation in Charleston, West Virginia. In early 2002, the Mayor announced a directive to police officers to shoot any dog running at large that displays any sign of aggression, and he released a plan to ban Pit Bulls, Dobermans and Rottweilers. Numerous incidents have since happened with Police Officers shooting dogs on sight. What if you are on vacation in the area and your dog gets away from you? And just because you may not have a BSL law on the books now, does not mean that you won't have one tomorrow. All it takes is one well-publicized or hyped dog bite case in your area and your family pet could be banned.

While Pit Bulls are at the forefront of breed banning discussions, it is not limited to Pit Bulls alone. Once you get a law on the books to ban a certain breed, it’s very easy to simply keep adding more breeds to the "outlawed" list. For example, In Cincinnati, Ohio, they banned American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers or their mixes as "pit bulls". In the discussion that followed during the hearings, city council members toyed with including other breeds on the list including: German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Recently the Cincinnati law was overturned due to the huge expense of enforcement and several losses in court, one of which was when an owner of eight purebred American Bulldogs seized and declared to be "pitbull mixes" sued the city over his dogs seizure and won.

In order to cut down on vicious dogs in the community, authorities need to hold the owners responsible for their actions. Animal cruelty, vicious dog, running at large, and many other laws, already exist in most areas. Punish the deed, not the breed!

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VIRGINIA – Under a new bill proposed in Virginia

Why Breed Bans Don’t Work

No Line is Free of Health Problems

Vaccines (Under Construction)

ASPCA can't keep figures straight

Arthritis Drug Should Be Removed From Market

Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) 
Demodectic Mange
Up Date In Progress !