The Eyes Tell All

DSC_0462 “Juvenile Cataracts”  were the devastating words I heard during Preacher’s CERF exam. Actually what I really heard from the ophthalmologist right after he held his lens up to Preacher’s dilated eye was “Oh Shit!” I knew at that time her eye exam wasn’t going to end well. I’ve known Dr. Collins from Eye Care For Animals in Pewaukee, WI for as long as I have been a Veterinary Technician, he is a board certified Ophthalmologist that can be a jokster but this time he wasn’t joking around.There was a spring heath clinic at Veterinary Village in March, I was planning on taking Gambler and Glory as they were being bred and needed their yearly CERF exam. Since the price was reduced I thought what the heck I might as well take Preacher and have her eyes looked at too. I normally don’t CERF my dogs until it is closer to them being bred. I usually start with the other health clearances first like hips and elbows at 2 years of age. If those pass and I have a breeding lined up I will then check their eyes. After this exam I have a whole other respect for doing testing if you can earlier. As hard as it was to hear she has a genetic disease and that she shouldn’t be bred it is much easier to absorb now verses later after we would have put 2 years of training and hunt test titles on her then to find out she can’t be bred. DSC_0437 We now have a different plan for Preacher which starts with continued training but not hunt test training she will be trained to be a hunting dog. As you know Preacher was spayed last week, it was one of the steps taken to ensure this genetic disease isn’t passed on. With a intact male in the household I couldn’t take a chance of a accident happening. She is recovering nicely and in another week she will be back in training. DSC_0466Hearing that one of our dogs from a breeding we did has a genetic disease is definitely a blow to the stomach. We are just sick about this. We choose our breeding’s very closely, research the lines to make sure we are going to produce sound dogs. We make sure the health clearances are all in order, talk with other breeders to find out if they “heard” of anything cropping up in the lines and there was no red flags that went up so the breeding was done. When we breed we breed knowing most likely we will be keeping a dog for our future breeding program. Before any decisions were made I did take Preacher for a second opinion, I also took her grandma Nellie since she hasn’t had a CERF in a few years just to make sure nothing cropped up in her. The second board certified ophthalmologist gave me the same results. She had Cataracts and they were there to stay.DSC_0445 A decision had to be made on where we go from here.  The first business we had to decide on was if we were going to submit the failed CERF results to OFA. This was a no brainier, of course we were going to submit the results that is what a good breeder does. They submit the good the bad and the ugly. If you don’t submit you aren’t doing the breeding pool any favors. 

A person can only make decisions on what they know and what they are told. If diseases are swept under the rug how can you improve the gene pool? With submitting the results and writing about it on my blog comes the potential talk behind my back. We will be known as the breeder that has cataracts in their lines, if we didn’t submit the results we would be known as the breeder’s that tried to hide something. Either way it is a no win situation for us. We are taking the high road and dealing with this head on! We have nothing to hide and will continue to do the best that we can for the breed. I leave you with Shit Happens and if you breed long enough stuff will come out and you deal with it at that time. I won’t be the first breeder that has skeleton’s in my closet and I for sure won’t be the last one but mark my words I will be the breeder that won’t keep things a secret and will move on to the best of our ability.

29 Replies to “The Eyes Tell All”

  1. easyweimaraner

    I agree with your ophthalmologist oh sh…. you are a very good breeder and you immediately made a decision, hugs to you. And if some peeps talk about you they should talk about your responsible acting and not about diseases in your lines… hugs to you and the sandspring gang, you are one of the best breeders for me, no ifs no butts…

  2. Emmadog

    No one is perfect and you have done all you can do to make sure your breed is the best it can be. Humans are mean and will always talk bad about others. Preacher may be the only one in the litter with issues. Stuff happens but you certainly can’t blame yourself.

  3. 2 Brown Dawgs

    I am so sorry about Preacher. I guess if people talk about you, they will talk about me too. 🙂 I know how much you were looking forward to using her in your breeding program, but you just never know when this stuff crops up. Kudos to you for being open and honest.

  4. Dogs N Pawz

    I haven’t visited your blog for awhile because like you say…sh.. happens! So much has been going on at our house, mostly not good, so I have kind of been in my own world:( I’m so sorry to hear about Preacher. She is beautiful! I know you are a good breeder and do everything you can do to make sure your pups are the best! That is all anyone can ask for!

  5. Sue

    And this, right here, is what makes a responsible dog breeder. I’m cheering for you and your honesty. The catch word these days is transparency and your breeding program defines it. On the other hand, I’m heartbroken for you that this happened. Chin up, lady. You’re the heroine in this story.

  6. Miss Harper Lee

    This breaks my heart for you and Preacher. (My friend’s dog just had her second surgery for juvenile cataracts.) The way you’ve handled it speaks volumes for you as a quality breeder . . . and a good person. You and Preacher will now follow a different path, perhaps not the one you’d planned to take but one that I know you’ll both follow with enthusiasm, love, and success.

  7. Tails Around the Ranch

    There is absolutely no question you took every. single. possible. and proper action to insure a good line. Owning a dog whose own initial breeding attempts resulted in two litters of flipped eyelids in the puppies, I know how you must feel. Sometimes certain genetic markers are recessive and don’t show up in the immediate instance yet do so down the line. Don’t beat yourself up-Preacher is a great dog, you are a great and responsible breeder and you will find other ways for her to excel at what she does best. My hat’s off to you for your candor, your poise and dignity in what must be a hard situation. Digital hugs, my friend. ღ

  8. M. K. Clinton

    JoAnn, we are traveling back from the BlogPaws conference so I have been out of the loop as far as visiting my friends. I’m just devastated for you. I don’t know another breeder that takes more precautions to ensure a healthy sound litter. I’m so sorry about this but I know that you’re doing everything possible. I’ll check back in when we get home later this week. Sending my love.

  9. Jodi

    First let me say how sorry I am that this happened to one of your dogs. How will this affect Preacher? Can surgery help? Will she end up losing her sight? Since she was from the GloriousThunder pups, does that mean one of the parents might carry a gene that could be passed on? (I’m not trying to be an asshole, I’m just curious how it works.)

    Secondly let me say how proud I am of you JoAnn, for sharing the good, the bad and the oh shit of what happened in your breeding. You ARE a good breeder and that is what sets you apart from so many others. I think your honesty (in the long run) will only benefit your breeding program. I say better to have people talk about you because you are honest, then to have them talking about you because you tried to pull one over.

    1. Sand Spring Chesapeakes Post author

      I will answer your questions in another post. All very good questions and you by no means are being a asshole, your trying to learn and understand. Thank you for your support and for sharing my story.

  10. Jan K

    I was surprised when you had posted about getting Preacher spayed, now I know why. That really sucks for all of you, but it certainly doesn’t make me think less of you as a breeder. We’ve seen all you do for your puppies, and know that you do all you can to have healthy dogs and well raised puppies. I would highly recommend you if I knew anyone looking for a Chessie.

  11. cape cod brown dogs

    I was saddened to hear about this but you have always been such a great dog Mom and want the best foe the brown dogs.
    I commend you for putting it out there, far too few are as honourable.
    Love to you and Preacher

  12. My Golden Life

    Oh, JoAnn, I am so sorry! Like Jan K, I have to say I was surprised about Preacher’s spay surgery. Now I know why. I would defend you – and your breeding program – to the hilt if anyone dared speak ill of you! I know what kind of “dog mom” you are, the love and care you give to each and every puppy, and adult. Sometimes **it happens. All you can do is be honest about it and move on. Good people will appreciate you and stand by you. The ones who speak ill of you will suffer what karma dishes out to them. Pity them but waste no tears on them.

  13. Pingback: Juvenile Cataracts – Sand Spring Chesapeakes

  14. Pingback: The Eye Exam – Sand Spring Chesapeakes

  15. Pingback: Josey’s 2 Year CERF Exam – Sand Spring Chesapeakes