San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95007
We are not a member of the MCOA or REMC by PERSONAL/POLITICAL choice
We are a member of The Mastiff Club of Victoria - by choice
What Are Genetic Diseases In Dogs And What Affects The
Mastiff That Might Not Affect Another Breed And What Affects
Another Breed That Might Not Affect The Mastiff?
I decided to write this page based upon personal experience and also knowledge gained during my
seven years in mastiffs. I hope you will find the information on this page helpful. These are my
opinions gained from either personal experience and/or information I have read.
What is Wobblers Disease in Dogs and what breeds does it or does it not affect and at what point in
their lives? Is Wobblers a disease that affects Mastiffs? The answer is YES. I did not know much
about Wobblers disease as it did not run in the line that I have nor any lines I bred to until last year. I
would find out after a breeding took place from the breeder/co-owner of the female who was placed to
live with me by her breeder at 2 years old, and who also picked the stud dog at the last minute, that
the stud dog had Wobblers in his line, i.e., he had at least one if not two litter-mates in his litter affected
by Wobblers. The breeder of the Stud Dog (whom he does not live with) openly acknowledges that this
certain Stud Dog, had at least one for sure if not two litter-mates diagnosed with Wobblers disease. I
would find this out from a, somewhat non-participatory co-owner of the bitch. I was told about the
Wobblers in the stud dog's littermates after the breeding was confirmed, by the non-involved co-owner
of the bitch as a buffer in case I heard "rumors." If you would like to know more about the Stud Dog
used and the Breeder who chose the stud dog, please call me and I will be happy to share my
experience with you. I still am not sure how Wobblers is passed down genetically. I know a dog
affected with Wobblers should never be bred, but what about breeding a dog who is not affected but
has a full littermate that is affected? Could the genetics be passed down to nieces and nephews?
Please read the below articles.... the second of which being very telling~ Ask your breeder: IS
THERE WOBBLERS IN THE LINE? If so, that breeder should be knowledgeable about Wobblers.
Please read the links below to become informed.
Here are a few links that I feel are worthy of reading
The below link is so very telling - Please read it and if you need more information non the stud that
was used with the littermate with Wobblers, please contact me. The link below specifically states that
an affected dog should not be used NOR SHOULD THE PARENTS OR SIBLINGS.
There is a DNA marker for PRA/CMR. Yes PRA/CMR run in the Mastiff line. As a matter of fact, there
should be no reason for dogs to even remotely be affected with either of these ailments, ESPECALLY
PRA - as there were two devoted breeders who took the time to raise a trial litter to find the DNA
marker for PRA. If we test our dogs there is no way this disease will come back into the line.
Reputable breeders DO NOT HAVE PRA in their lines. CMR is a new DNA test and there are
breeders breeding the CMR affected and/or carrier dogs to non- affected/carrier dogs. Please ask
about the testing. These are diseases that affect the eyesight and can (especially PRA) cause a dog
to go blind very early in age. I do no have any dogs that are affected or carriers of either of these
diseases because I health test my dogs. However, I have first hand experience with a young and
careless breeder who actually bred a litter without testing and I recently ran into a mastiff on the beach
in Santa Cruz, CA who was bred by this person and he was going blind at 3 years of age. I have first
hand experience with this person. If you would like to know the details more fully, please contact me.
Please ask your breeder to see a PRA/CMR clear certificate and if their dog is clear, it will be posted
on the OFA website because they will be proud of it.
DM - Degenerative Myopathy
A very new DNA test for the Mastiff. A very new study. Mostly a disease that comes on late in age,
frankly in dogs that live much past the age of a mastiff. Also, the mastiff is not on the "should be
tested list for this disease." However, there is a DNA test for it. My personal opinion is that two carriers
should not be bred and certainly two affected dogs should not be bred. If you have a dog that has one
normal and one carrier gene and it is bred to a normal/normal - and that is continued the possibility of
the gene mutating in mastiffs such as it has in other breeds is there. So the utmost of caution should
be taken if one decides to breed on DM carrier/normal to normal/normal then keep and offspring and
that offspring should be bred to normal/normal. A breeder should not endeavor to continue to breed
on carrier/normal or the more extreme since this DNA marker is so new and there truly is no research
to base breeding protocol on. This is just my personal opinion due to my study. In some breeds this
disease mutates in ways that even if you have a carrier/normal the dog should never be bred because
of the way the gene mutates and transfers.
I have never had experience with this, but the question should alway be asked of the breeder. There is
no test or DNA marker to determine whether a dog has this other than the shear fact that the dog has
seizures. If a dog has seizures, there are nuerological tests that can be performed to find how "why"
the seizures are occurring and then a proper diagnosis can be made. I would be leery of getting a pup
from a sibling or parent of the dog that has seizures. It has been proven to be genetic.
Cancer can be found more in some lines rather than others. There is no DNA marker or test.. you
must rely on the breeder to be honest with you. Ask how long the majority of their dogs live. If it is only
until 5 or 6 - be concerned. Also, make sure you ask about cancer in the line and if there has been
cancer - how many dogs have it, how many generations back, etc. Cancer does affect at random, as
in humans, it should not be held against the line unless there is a history.
Some say it is genetic... I've seen it affect two dogs - a father and a son, both around the same age -
some say it is not. Again, no test for this and precautions can be taken. Another one you have to ask
the breeder about and rely on them to tell you the truth.
HIP AND ELBOW DISPLASIA
Hips, elbows, patellars and shoulders can all be ex-rayed. A breeder who tests their dogs places their
testing results on the OFA website for all of the above - the issue is, some only place passing results
and not full results. If you do not see test results for a breeding pair, as the breeder why they are not
posted on the OFA site. If you only see a result for say elbows but not hips, that can sometimes mean
the dog did not pass hips. Talk to your breeder about this. Some breeders will choose to breed on
one bad elbow or mild - some even moderate - hips of only one of the breeding pair. This
determination is usually made by evaluating whether their is a pattern of failure on a certain test in the
line or whether it is just a "fluke" in breeding. It is not always a terrible thing if the breeder is breeding
responsibly to occasionally see a breeding on a less than desirable hip or elbow. Make sure you talk
at length with your breeder about this. Most importantly is if the breeding pair have been tested and if
a pair is being bred on less than passing - ask the breeder to explain.
All breeders should have a passing cardiac on their breeding pairs. If there is not a passing cardiac,
as why. In my personal opinion there is no reason not to test your breeding pair's hearts. Heart
defects can be genetic or congenital. A defect is a defect and will not pass an OFA test. Ask your
breeder to explain if one in the pair has not passed an OFA cardiac test what the defect is and what
their rational for breeding on it is. Then talk with your vet and a cardiologist.
We will not be endeavoring to breed much in the future at all - only when we would like to have a new
mastiff for ourselves when some of our older dogs are, well, getting really old. We also are not
endeavoring to show anymore. We are enjoying our Mastiffs fully as pets - with that said, we always
want our website to be a place where folks can come to learn and feel free to call and ask questions
about the breed.
Cystinuria is a disease that if the dog is affected can cause very painful stones in the urinary tract.
Females can carry and deliver this disease to their offspring but they do not get physically affected
like a male dog. In years past, responsible breeders test urine, to the best of their ability. Urine is sent
to UPENN and is tested there. If a dog is labeled as positive, a breeder should retest. A positive or
carrier male should not be introduced to a breeding program. There has been much controversy
within the mastiff community regarding using females that may have a link to Cystinuria in their line
due to the fact that you cannot urine test a female, yet she can pass the gene onto her offspring.
LUCKILY, after years of research and mastiff breeder participation a DNA marker for Cystinuria in
Mastiffs has been found. As of June 2012, we will be able to submit blood to UPENN and have it
tested for both males and females. This way we will be able to hopefully eradicate this disease from
Mastiffs by knowing if our females are clear or not. The problem in years past is the lack of testing of
males and also the inability to test females who can very well pass the gene on. Now that there is a
DNA marker all breeders should be sending in blood samples to have their males and females
tested. Make sure to ask your breeder if they are participating in clearing both males and females of
Cystinuria by way of DNA testing. A "Clear Certificate" from UPENN University should be show to you
if in fact a male or female has been tested. Certificates are send whether negative or positive~
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