“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. 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. Hearing 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. 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.