Health Problems and Genetic Testing in Bull Terriers
**Baker Street Bull Terriers fully supports genetic health testing and
The Canine Health Foundation**.
Many people who call us looking for a puppy are concerned with how long the dogs live. We tell them that there is no way to know ahead of time, but that by doing a comprehensive battery of tests for genetically linked health problems we can hedge our bets and hopefully help our dogs live longer and happier lives.
Here at Baker Street, we test for a number of items:
At seven weeks of age, we test our puppies for deafness
by BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test,
an electronic device with uses graphite needles placed in the
skin below the ear flaps to record the reaction of the the
animal's nerves. Each ear is tested separately.
Our dogs have a urine protein/creatinine ratio done every year. This shows whether or not their kidneys are functioning properly.
Our regular veterinarian checks all the
dog's patellas once a year when they
have their check-ups. However,
we have started using a Board Certified
Orthopedic Veterinarian to palpate our
patellas. There seem to be a wide range
of techniques employed by the various vets
we have seen check patellas, so since we
would rather be safe than sorry, we are
using an orthopedic vet. This affords a
consistent testing program
and a uniformity of data.
After all you have read on this site already, we're sure you're more than aware of how important we believe temperament is. We just thought we'd say - one more time - that a dog who cannot live loose in the house and socialize with the family is of no use to anyone.
Our goal is to breed a sweet, happy temperament - one without agressive tendencies - so that our dogs can be loose with children, cats, other dogs and the odd ferret that might come along. A stable temperament is one that will stand a dog in good stead through any situation, be it a child screaming and running by or a broken leg with the accompanying pain.
Stable temperaments come from breeding for them. They do not come from environment, although certainly we recognize that the way in which an animal is raised plays a large part in the way they are conditioned to react to certain stimuli. We strive to acheive a lovely, sweet temperament in every puppy we breed. No exceptions. A dog with a great head that wins in the show ring, but is miserable to live with is not something with which we want to be involved.
Also at seven weeksofage,we temperament test our babies, using the Volhard method. This involves putting the puppies through a series of exercises to determine their reaction to various stimuli.The exercises are done in a certain order and are performed in a strange place by a person never before encountered by the puppies.
A second person records and grades the puppies' reactions to the stimuli. By the time our puppies reach seven weeks old, we are very familiar with their temperaments, but we are always interested to see how they do with the temperament testing. You can always catch a tendency that you might not have picked up before because of the puppy's mental development. We use these results when matching our puppies to their prospective homes.
We test all our breeding animals for
heart defects by echocardiogram.
This is costly and time consuming, as
they are not readily available from most
veterinary facilities. We have been
fortunate to find a Board Certified
Cardiologist who we can work with.
The "accepted standard" of testing is
that listening to the heart is enough.
We go one step further and do
echocardiogram, which is an
ultrasound of the heart.
This way , we can be absolutely certain that there are no defects of the heart chambers, valves, vessels, etc