The term “health testing” is pretty generic in dogs. Each breed has a “parent organization” that recommends certain health testing be completed for breeding stock.
For Beagles, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America), in working with the National Beagle Club, recommends the following testing be done. Hip Dysplasia, Eyes, MLS, Cardiac, Thyroid, Patellar Luxation, LaFlora, Factor VII, and Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration.
Currently, we send saliva to Embark labs, and they send a report back that covers color genetics, the breeding coefficients, and the diseases most commonly known to Beagles. www.embarkvet.com
Chance 2 Ranch Beagles are relatively young, so some of the above tests cannot be performed until certain ages, and as our program grows and our dogs develop, we will be adding more health testing. Chance 2 Ranch tests its breeding stock, both hunting and show, through Embark to determine if our dogs carry any genes for the diseases below. For a puppy to actually show signs of disease, it must inherit a gene from its mother, and a gene from its father. We pair our matings so that no C2R puppy will present with the following diseases. Our health guarantee covers the diseases below:
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – a back/spine issue that refers to a health condition affecting the discs that act as cushions between vertebrae. All Beagles carry one or two copies of this gene and very few ever show signs. Something to be aware of.
Factor VII Deficiency – a type of coagulopathy, a disorder of blood clotting. Again, many Beagles carry one or two copies of this gene, but few are affected. It’s a good test to have and make your vet aware if your Beagle carries both copies.
Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency – This is a disease of red blood cells characterized by low energy level, jaundiced skin, and pale and cool extremities.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy – a retinal disease that causes progressive, non-painful vision loss over a 1-2 year period. This is a relatively new found gene in Beagles, and rarely ever an issue.
Glaucoma – the result of high intraocular pressure, and if left untreated, can lead to pain and vision loss.
Neonatal Cerebellar Cortical Degeneration – Known as the “oldest” (even reptiles and more ancient species have them!) part of the brain, the cerebellum fine-tunes motor signals from the brain to the muscles, allowing for balance and coordination. When the cerebellum does not function properly, dogs become uncoordinated and do not have the ability to perform fine motor skills.
Hypocatalasia, Acatalasemia -Catalase is important in fighting reactive oxygen species, which can cause cellular damage. Fortunately, many enzymes can break down reactive oxygen species; as such acatalasemia is usually a benign disease: however, some acatalasemic dogs suffer from what is known as Takahara’s disease, where patients have progressive mouth ulcers.
Cobalamin Malabsorption – a gastrointestinal disease where dogs cannot absorb cobalamin, often causing them to be small with poor energy levels.
Musladin-Lueke Syndrome – causes abnormally strong connections between the structural proteins that provide strength and integrity to tissues like the skin and skeletal muscle, as well as the protective tissue sheaths of the bones and central nervous system.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta – Dogs affected with OI have lost the flexible part of the bone, which is primarily made of Type I collagen. This leads to extremely brittle bones and teeth.
A health problem that is well documented in Beagles that there is NO test for, is Epilepsy. This is a terrible disease and causes seizures, and doesn’t normally present until the dog is over four years old. C2R has not seen any epilepsy in our dogs, however, Epilepsy is documented in every Beagle bloodline, therefore Epilepsy can present in any Beagle. However, there are recent health studies that show a connection between gut health and epilepsy in both humans and dogs, and you can research that to get the best nutrition for your dog, including using probiotics.
Other issues that we have NOT seen in our bloodlines but can pop up sometimes is Cherry Eye, where the inside lid pops out and needs surgical repair. Also allergies, and cancers cannot be tested for and may pop up. We do not have any dogs that show any of these problems, and if we discovered any, we would not breed them.
To combat the health issues, we go our of our way to properly start our puppies – beginning with weaning. When the pups are about 3 1/2-4 1/2 weeks old or older, we transition the pups from sucking on mom’s milk to licking up raw goats milk. Over a period of about a week, we begin to add probiotics, local honey (helps to ward off allergies), Tahini, Spirulina, Ginger, and finally, ground up raw Tripe (cow stomach). This natural process develops the muscles and the flora in the digestive track. There are health studies that show pups started this way are much healthier adults. Before the puppies go to their new homes, we begin adding dry dog food kibble, ground up and mixed into the raw goats milk mixture. Over a week they transition to kibble that has been moistened with water and can continue that with the new owners.