Cancer Clusters


There are a ton of health conditions, diseases, etc that your dog can get.  Only a tiny percentage have genetic health testing available, and in our life time there is zero chance that we will be able to certify that any dog, regardless of how intent the breeder may be, will be able to eliminate health problems.  That’s a fact.

We can learn more about dog health scenarios by looking at human health reports, because there will always be millions and billions more put into human health than there will be into dog health.  That’s a fact too.

I was very interested today to read a report about “Lynch Syndrome” – a very unfortunate and distressing problem where families have clusters of cancers in each generation.    Check out the article by clicking here.  Yes, there are genes at play here.

When we look at this, we need to consider – can we apply this to our breed?  I think the answer is a wholehearted:  “yes”.     We do need to honestly look at whether or not there are clusters of cancers in our breed.

We already know that in some breeds you can almost guarantee that the dogs will die young, ie:  around 6 from cancer.  This is seen in some of the larger mastiff and associated type breeds.  I am sure there are cases in many other breeds.

Many cancers do not seem to have a genetic link, they are merely bad bloody luck, but as breeders we need to evaluate our stock and see what is being produced.  For me, this is one strong argument to breed from older males who are still healthy and strong, and who don’t seem to have produced a lot of health issues.  And also, it’s important to keep in touch with people we get our stud dogs from to see how the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are doing.

For me, I revel in hearing the stories of my older girls who are still kicking goals at age 14 & 15.

Some health tips from me:

  • Keep your dogs (cats, and ferrets!) on a raw, unprocessed diet
  • Buy dogs from breeders who will be very open and honest about the health issues in their dogs.  (if a breeder says they have never had a health issue, either they are new to this, or are not aware of their dogs, or is perhaps telling a fib.)
  • Have a good vet – they are very hard to find, so seek recommendations from friends
  • Have pet health insurance.
  • And keep your breeder up to date with health issues.  They can’t improve if they don’t know.

hoping you are having a great day,


Jane Anderson

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