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Important Note

Please note that, regarding all of the conditions described, these are only the cases that have been reported to us. We do feel there may be other dogs/lines affected and that these have either not yet been diagnosed or not yet reported to us.

As and when we receive any further information, the ’TUS Health Report’ will then be updated.

Introduction

Hello everyone,

Firstly I have to say a huge Thank you to all of you who have reported any cases of ill-health whether these are general ailments or more serious diseases and health problems. Without your co-operation and assistance in this matter I would not have been able to compile this report, to warn all our owners, Breeders and potential owners what conditions are affecting our current day Utonagan.

As you all know, it has only been in the last two years that it has come to light that the Utonagan is not free from health complaints, as we were all previously lead to believe, however please do not panic! The conditions and disorders mostly known to be affecting our Ute have generally only occurred in those lines where inbreeding (closely related dogs) and line-breeding (dogs from the same lines) has been rife.

This report is to advise you what to look out for and what lines the conditions appear to be mostly recurring in if any. With the introduction of our TUS Breeders Code of Ethics, whereby we’ve tightened up on the incidences of inbreeding, we will hopefully eradicate these conditions in the long term. Hopefully, after reading this report, you will better understand our decision to impose such tight breeding rules, especially relating to inbreeding and with certain lines also line breeding.

Until such time that the Utonagan can be DNA profiled (as with most KC breeds nowadays) the only method open to us to eradicate these health problems, is to insist on more careful and selective breeding.

The report will hopefully also be helpful to Breeders and potential Breeders, by assisting them in better selection of suitable stud dogs and matings as you should be able to study which lines would be most suitable to pair with your own dog if you're thinking of breeding from them.

It is only in the last two years that we, the Committee, have finally managed to unravel and discover the actual truth about our Society records, former Breeders and the current health of our breed and it’s been a long, slow and hard process with many doors left unopen to us.

Though we’re grateful for being able to gather this information, at times it has been a shocking and upsetting task for us.

Sadly it seems the old school of thought, with our earlier breeders, (no longer with us) was “Keep any health defects to yourself do not report them to anyone and empathically deny any claims that progeny bred by you has been reported to you as having health problems!!”.

Though we accept, as a breeder, it may be hard to admit that several pups you have produced have been reported to have health defects, it is imperative that we do so if the breed is to survive!!!!

It seems there was previously fear that if the breeder reported these findings, they would be ostracised and banished from the Society, which is most definitely not the case!! As long as all health problems are reported as soon as the breeder is made aware of them and as long as they then understand that they must ensure the particular mating or particular stud/brood bitch carrying whichever defective gene is not used again, (providing tests can be carried out to prove which parent carries or passes on the defect - if none are available then further test matings may be considered using different mates) and as long as they have taken remedial action to assist the owner of their particular pup in coping with this condition then they will be fully supported by the Society.

Please be assured, you will not be hung drawn and quartered or labelled a bad Breeder, you will be Thanked for divulging the information and advised on the best route forward to ensure no more of your progeny is affected.

It is only when health or other important information is withheld or when a Breeder uses stock known to be affected by one of the main health conditions, or when ill-advised inbreeding is carried out, i.e. brother/sister, father/daughter that this Breeder may find themselves removed from our Breeders register.

Thankfully since the launch of our Society website, quarterly Newsletters and detailed databases we have radically improved and increased the former, non-existent, communication between our Breeders, Members and owners, and all now report any health problems immediately that they themselves are notified. Thanks to their co-operation the Society as a whole can work towards improving the health of our beautiful breed.

When I first joined TUS, in 2000, the only contact I had for the first two years was the then Secretary, all the other Breeders and Committee Members details were kept hidden from all members. Sadly we believe this was to prevent communication and therefore the truth regarding health being revealed.
This is a damn shame as, had we, ’The Breeders’ known then what we know now, many of the pups born since that time may not have been affected by any of the conditions below.

The conditions reported to us so far are listed alphabetically below, with a brief description and also I’ve provided various links taking you to various veterinary websites whereby you can gather a better understanding in your own time. Please note that some of these websites may be American and the USA vet’s methods of testing and drugs for various conditions are sadly far more advanced than ours in the UK, therefore please note the tests/drugs mentioned may not yet be available in the UK, I’ve tried to highlight these for you all.

Please also note that a lot of the information on the various websites, in connection with each condition listed, is conflicting and often confusingly so, hence the length of time it’s taken to compile this report. But hopefully, though it’s sometimes conflicting, you will find the information useful as I have.

I have to reiterate here that, through my research, I have found that most of the dogs affected by the various conditions known to be affecting the Ute, have either come directly from inbred mating or are descendents of former inbred litters! This is very important data for us all to look seriously at, in order to eradicate this practice from our breed completely!!

Dawn Latham

Breed Advisor for The Utonagan Society