Health is an important part of what we do, which is why we require all our pups to be fed a raw diet, so that the best platform for health is provided moving forward.  Processed foods are inferior to an appropriate carnivore’s diet.

There are a range of diseases all dogs can get, regardless of breed.  There is a small number of genetic tests that are available, but within our lifetime, there is no chance that there will be a genetic test for all of them.

When we first got involved with the Portuguese Water Dog, there was very little health testing available.  In total, there are only 3 genetic diseases we can genetically screen for at this point.  We are clear for PRA, Storage Disease, Juvenile Cardiomyopathy, and Improper Coat.  In addition, our lines appear clear of Puppy Eye Syndrome, a relatively rare disease not seen as far as I know in Victoria.

Even things like hip dysplasia are very difficult to deal with.  And whilst xrays may tell you a small part of the story, diet plays an incredible part.  Check out this page here where it is very clear that keeping the weight off your growing pup has a direct relationship to HD.

In short, the information so far is telling us that there is a reduction in the cases of HD where the pups are:

  • kept with the breeder until 12 weeks of age
  • raised on rural properties
  • have the opportunity for appropriate outdoor exercise when growing
  • fed a raw diet for life (this means no carbohydrates)
  • kept lean

So not only do you need to feed an appropriate raw diet, you also need to make sure you puppy does not get fat.  We have always said – there is no first place for the fattest dog.    Eventually a gene test will be available for some breeds (not all), and this will help, but we already know there are substantial environmental factors, including injury which make this such a complex problem. The latest information we are reading is saying that HD is up to 85% environmental, and with the genetic part, the scientists don’t know which part is hereditary.

So are you going to let your pup leap off tables, tear around on slippery floors, be overexercised, be inappropriately exercised? What things can the puppy buyers do to reduce the chances of them creating ongoing situations which result in them causing HD ? We don’t really know the answers, that’s the first thing.

I’m more than happy to talk health with you for hours if not days, and looking forward you my puppy owners being able to satisfy me that they will take adequate care of the health of their dog. This is a two way street after all.

Unfortunately as it appears there are probably over 10,000 diseases and conditions that dogs can get (of any breed or cross breed), there is absolutely no such thing as a pup “that will never have a health issue.”  Sorry to burst the bubble on that one.

All the time we see breeders advertise “full health guarantee” across many different breeds. Unfortunately the reality is no such thing exists. If you are a breeder and are offering such, expect your puppy owners to come to you with the first and subsequent ear infections, not to mention something serious, and expect you to cover all the expenses – after all, you did just put in writing that you have a “full health guarantee” with your puppies.

Of course, it would be smart for you to check with that breeder first if they truly are going to cover you for every health issue, and if your dog will indeed live to be a ripe age of 189.

If you truly want a dog with no risk of health issues, then don’t get a dog. There is no such thing that exists. Or it’s in that paddock with the unicorn that I ride every morning once I finished my sessions with the crystal ball and magic wand. Some suggest with that attitude it’s best not to have any children either. I guess that’s true. Kids cost a fortune to raise.

We do offer a 2 year health guarantee against fatal genetic conditions and for those that a genetic test is available, but quite sensibly, the best tactic any pet owner can take is to ensure they have good health insurance, and we insist our puppy owners get health insurance on their dogs.

One of my owners who shall remain nameless but might live in South Australia, has an adventurous dog that has managed to rack up over $2000 in his first year in medical bills by doing things such as eating snail bait, and damaging his back when colliding with another dog in the dog park.  Another saw her dog bitten by a snake.  These are just 2 examples, and every year I get 2-3 calls from people who sheepishly admit to having to use their health insurance and thank me for insisting that they took it out.    We sign all our puppies owners up to a scheme when they get their pup.  This allows all owners to then check the PDS to ensure they have the best fit for their needs.

You must get health insurance on your puppy. If you can’t afford health insurance, then you certainly will not be able to afford to feed a dog.

Latest health results:

Our new stud dog from Europe has arrived has now completed his health testing with his hips & elbows being great, and having passed his other required genetic testing.  Both of our other stud dogs have similar excellent results in both hip/elbows and available genetic tests. All dogs have been in the show ring, with some attaining multiple championships, whilst others continue in their quest to achieve theirs.   All our girls have been shown in the show ring and we are very choosy about who stays in our breeding program.

We can also provide puppy owners with genetic test results for their puppy.  The cost of this is $2-300 and if the tests are conducted at age 6 weeks of age, we can have those results for you when the pup goes at 12 weeks.  These genetic tests are for “simple recessive” health issues – 3 of them, plus one for improper coats.  As we have selectively bred for many years and eliminated those issues or not that had them at all, all test results would come back as a negative – which is what you would want.  But we are absolutely more than happy to get this done on your pup if that’s what you want.  Just let us know!

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