All dogs must past these tests in order to be used in our breeding program.
Although overall Siberians are very healthy, they rank #158 out of 164 breeds with Hip Dysplasia. They still have a chance of producing a dysplastic pup the chances are lessened by having the parents, grandparents, sibling’s etc. tested by the OFA and by not using dogs with a less then fair rating. Ratings come back as Fair, Good or Excellent anything below Borderline, Mild, Moderate or Severe should not be used in any breeding program.
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen in dogs. Gender does not seem to be a factor, but some breeds are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Large and giant breeds are most commonly affected. Rarely, small breed dogs can also be affected, but are less likely to show clinical signs.
The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally (known as malformation), gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints.
Inherited eye defects are also a health concern in the Siberian Huskies. These are juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy.
The term “cataract” refers to any opacity of the lens of the eye. Dogs of either gender can develop cataracts, and some breeds are especially at risk. Cataracts are more common in older animals but can be present at birth or develop very early in life. Cataracts affect a dog’s vision and can be progressive, in some cases leading to blindness.
Causes of Cataracts in Dogs
In dogs, cataracts typically have a strong hereditary component. Other contributing causes include nutritional deficiencies, low blood calcium levels, exposure to toxins, diabetes mellitus, radiation, electric shock and blunt or penetrating trauma. Cataracts can occur spontaneously for no known reason. The actual biological cause of cataracts is a change in the protein composition or arrangement of the fibers of the lens of the affected eye.
While cataracts always affect a dog’s vision, they do not affect its health. Most dogs adjust to their vision deficiencies extremely well. Surgical treatment for cataracts is highly successful, and the prognosis for dogs with cataracts is excellent if the condition is identified and treated early. Owners should know that not all cataracts are progressive, and not all affected dogs need surgical correction.
Testing does not show dogs who are carriers of the recessive gene for Juvenile Cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. If a carrier dog is bred with another carrier dog, they will produce a certain number of pups who will get cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. There is no way to tell if your dog is a carrier.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
PRA is a genetic, inherited disease present at birth and results in blindness as the dog matures. PRA slowly adds a film over the lens of the eye similar to cataracts. This film restricts and eventually stops the flow of light into the eye. The Siberian Husky has a unique type of PRA that is only found in Siberians and man. This type of PRA is called XLPRA (X Linked PRA) since it is transmitted through the “XX” chromosome of the female. It will cause a loss of night vision followed by a loss of day vision, eventually blindness. The recessive gene for XLPRA is situated on the “X” chromosome of the female. Females who inherit a defective gene on the “X” chromosome from one parent and a normal gene on the other “X” chromosome from the other parent, will not be seriously affected. They will be carriers with very subtle retinal defects and no loss of vision. The male puppy from a carrier dam will receive either a defective gene or a normal gene, depending on what chromosome was copied in the DNA replication. If he has the defective gene, the dog will be affected with PRA since males carry an “XY” chromosome. The disease in males can be devastating with loss of vision as early as 5 months of age.
It can be easily prevented by testing the dogs intended for breeding. Results will come back as Clear, Carrier or Affected and should be bred accordingly.
PRA is a recessive gene that is found in all dog breeds. It can be found in any size, breed, gender, including the good old fashioned mutts. As long as both parents carry the gene. However there are breeds where it is more prominent.
PRA does not cause discomfort nor is it the cause of any other neurological or heath issues. Most dogs adapt to their lack of vision, and live happy, normal lives. Fenced yards and never leaving the house without a leash is very important. Also, rearranging furniture or moving to a new home will cause the dog to become disoriented until he becomes used to the new layout.
All of our dogs or their parents have been tested and are Clear for PRA. Insuring a puppy from us will not get PRA.
Other Conditions Mistaken for PRA
Not all vision loss in Huskies are caused by PRA. There are reports of acquired (not inherited) retinal changes that have been mistakenly diagnosed as PRA. Since the DNA test for PRA is completely accurate and specific, it can be used to differentiate the inherited form of PRA from the acquired retinal abnormality. A dog clinically diagnosed with an acquired retinal abnormality that is similar to PRA will not test affected for PRA.