biewer terrier puppies 2 weeks old

Vital Health Testing for Biewer Terriers
Ensuring a Brighter Future

As a hobby breeder deeply devoted to Biewer Terriers, my heart and soul are invested in the well-being of these adorable little dogs. For me, it’s not just about breeding; it’s about ensuring each puppy leads a happy, healthy life. This is why health testing is a cornerstone of my approach to breeding. DNA testing services are more than just gadgets in my toolkit-they are essential partners in my mission to breed the healthiest Biewer Terriers possible.

Why Health Testing Matters

What’s the gist of health testing in dog breeding? It’s all about dodging genetic bullets and aiming for the stars in terms of health and vitality. Identifying potential health issues before puppies are even born means we can avoid passing on conditions that might affect their quality of life. Moreover, informed decisions about which dogs to pair up can dramatically lower the chances of inheritable diseases in the next generation. Plus, for my future dog parents, knowing their new family member comes from a line of health-tested parents is a huge relief. It’s an assurance of more wagging tails and fewer worries.

Biewer Terrier Eye Health

One of the cornerstone health checks for Biewer Terriers is the initial eye examination by a board-certified ACVO Ophthalmologist once the dog reaches one year of age. This isn’t a routine check-up; it’s a comprehensive assessment aimed at identifying early signs of inheritable eye diseases. These diseases can significantly impact a dog’s quality of life, and catching them early is crucial. The examination focuses on conditions like Primary Lens Luxation and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, including PRCD (PRA-prcd, Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration). These conditions, if undetected and passed on, can lead to serious visual impairment or even blindness, underscoring the importance of this initial screening.

Patellar Luxation

Tiny dogs can sometimes have kneecaps that slip out of place, known as patellar luxation. It sounds technical, but imagine your knee giving out randomly—not fun, right? That’s why checking for this condition is a must before any of my dogs become parents. Keeping this issue out of the gene pool is a top priority. Don’t fall for excuses about their environment. Yes, an older dog could have luxation due to jumping a lot, but not inactivity unless they are unable to move in a crate. 

Patellar luxation in dogs arises from a variety of factors listed below. First and foremost, it is a congenital factor that is inherited.

  1. Congenital Factors: Certain breeds are genetically prone to patellar luxation, often making it a hereditary issue. Toy breeds are the most commonly affected. Additionally, abnormalities in bone development, such as a shallow femoral groove where the patella sits or misaligned leg bones, can lead to luxation.

  2. Trauma: Physical injury or direct trauma to the leg can cause the patella to luxate.

  3. Degenerative Changes: Aging dogs may develop joint degeneration, like arthritis, which increases the likelihood of patellar luxation, particularly in older dogs.

  4. Muscle Atrophy or Weakness: The weakening or deterioration of the muscles around the knee can lead to patellar instability.

  5. Inflammation: Persistent inflammation in the knee joint, often due to conditions like arthritis, can alter the joint structure and predispose it to luxation.

  6. Rapid Growth: Rapid growth phases in puppies might lead to developmental imbalances in the bones, contributing to patellar luxation.

  7. Obesity: Carrying extra weight puts additional strain on a dog’s joints, including the knees, heightening the risk of patellar luxation, especially in predisposed breeds.

  8. Tendon or Ligament Issues: Abnormalities or injuries to the tendons or ligaments surrounding the knee can cause instability and increase the likelihood of luxation.

A Deeper Dive into Genetic Diseases

Biewer Terriers, like all breeds, have their susceptibilities to certain genetic conditions. In addition to the eye conditions mentioned, they can be prone to Degenerative Myelopathy and conditions related to the CDDY gene, including Intervertebral Disc Disease. Understanding these risks is paramount for any breeder.

  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): This condition affects the fibers that hold the lens of the eye in place. If these fibers fail, the lens can dislocate, causing pain and potentially leading to blindness. An initial eye exam can help identify risks, but ongoing vigilance is necessary.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy, PRCD (PRA-prcd, PRCD): This genetic condition leads to the degeneration of the retina and can result in night blindness progressing to complete blindness. A DNA test for PRCD helps identify carriers or dogs affected by the condition, allowing breeders to make responsible mating choices.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): A disease that affects the spinal cord, leading to progressive weakness and paralysis. It’s a late-onset disease, so while puppies may not show signs, DNA testing for carriers is crucial to prevent the propagation of this condition.
  • Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) and Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Linked to the CDDY gene, these conditions affect the dog’s spinal vertebrae, leading to disc disease that can cause pain, nerve damage, and paralysis. DNA tests can identify dogs at risk, informing breeding decisions to reduce the prevalence of these conditions in the breed.

EmbarkVet and Wisdom Panel provide DNA testing services that cover these conditions and more, offering a window into each dog’s genetic health. By identifying carriers or dogs affected by these conditions, I can make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being of the puppies and the health of the Biewer Terrier breed as a whole.

Biewer Terrier CHIC Certification

And here’s the cherry on top of our health testing sundae: achieving the CHIC Certification for our Biewer Terriers. This isn’t just a fancy badge or a title; it’s like the gold standard in the world of dog health. After going through all the patellar and eye tests, and ticking off all the health boxes, getting this certification is like a high-five saying we’re doing everything right for our Biewers. It’s a badge of honor that tells everyone—fellow breeders, future pet parents, and even our dogs (if they could read)—that we’re committed to the highest standards of health and care. This certification isn’t just for show; it’s a testament to the hard work and love we pour into making sure our Biewer Terriers are as healthy as can be, paving the way for a future where every tail wag and playful jump is done with ease and joy

A Non-Negotiable for Preservationist/Hobby Breeders of Biewer Terriers

Let’s just say that health testing is non-negotiable in my book. My love for Biewer Terriers goes beyond their cute faces and playful antics; it’s about ensuring each and every one of them leads the healthiest life possible. Thanks to the insights from EmbarkVet and Wisdom Panel, I’m armed with the knowledge to make the best breeding decisions. It’s a journey towards a future where every Biewer Terrier can enjoy a life filled with love, health, and happiness. And isn’t that what we all want for our furry friends?

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