As a breeder, we cannot express to you the importance of genetically testing your breeding dogs. In our eyes, it is the only way to preserve the breed and breed healthy puppies.
Here are some links that will help you understand each test and why they are done.
A cataract is an opacity of the lens, which sits just behind the pupil in the eye. Most hereditary cataracts in Aussies arise in the center of the back of the lens, referred to as posterior polar. Aussie hereditary cataracts almost never occur in young puppies; affected dogs most commonly present signs as mature adults, though cataracts may start in early adulthood or not until old age. Cataracts can occur for reasons other than heredity (other diseases, injury, or nutritional imbalance) but these other causes are not common and should not be assumed to be the reason unless confirmed by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), also known as choroidal hypoplasia (CH), is an inherited disease affecting several dog breeds including the Australian shepherd. The choroid is the layer of tissue in the eye responsible for supplying blood and nutrients to the Retina.
Cone Degeneration (CD) causes day blindness; affected dogs can’t see in bright light but have normal vision when the light level is low.
Hereditary Cataracts (HC) are a leading form of blindness in the dog. During 2006 our researchers identified a genetic mutation in a small number of Australian Shepherds affected with Hereditary Cataract (HC). The results show conclusively that the mutation is a risk factor for the development of cataract in the Australian Shepherd.
The OFA maintains a database for hip dysplasia and now also maintains databases on other genetic disorders. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has defined 7 categories to describe canine hip joints. They are: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, Severe.
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of eye diseases featuring the gradual degeneration of the retina. Each type has a different genetic cause. Aussies are known to have a form of PRA called progressive rod cone degeneration (prcd.)
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet.
MDR1 Multidrug Sensitivity gene, or multi-drug resistance gene, codes for a protein that is responsible for protecting the brain by transporting potentially harmful chemicals away from the brain. In certain breeds, including Australian Shepherds, a mutation occurs in the MDR1 gene that causes sensitivity to Ivermectin, Loperamide, and a variety of other drugs. The defective protein inhibits the dog's ability to remove certain drugs from the brain, leading to a buildup. As a result of the accumulation of these toxins, the dog can show neurological symptoms, such as seizure and even death.
Dog food nutrition content varies greatly. A dog’s nutritional needs vary, as well. Active breeds like the Australian Shepherd require more calories, but the calories should not be “empty” and that is why i stick to a premium dog food. Mind you I will recommend a dog food and use it myself. I raise my dogs and puppies on it. I feed Life Abundance dog food for many reasons. Go to my Life's Abundance page for details as to why I feed it.
Nutrient dense foods are the best choice for humans and their pets. It allows animals of all kinds to get the nutrients they need without getting excessive calories. I say american made because we have stricter laws of whats put in dog food, as I am sure you have seen the horror stories on the news about whats found in dog food like "purina, old roy etc.
Many owners ask, “How much should I feed my dog?” How much depends on the quality of the food, the weight, the breed, the age, the activity level and other factors. Most dogs average 2 cups a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
What I do recommend and is part of my contract are Life's Abundance All Life Stage dog food, Life's Abundance Wellness Supplment or Nuvet Plus Vitamins. Just like humans, we take our vitamins because we lack them on a daily basis. Our new family members deserve the same care and nutrition. You will find a link on my below that will connect you to them. Ordering it threw me gets you a good discount than if you just bought it out right.