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An insight into Breeding – which is important for all!

Dog breeding means practice of mating selected dogs with intention to produce particular qualities and characteristics in offspring. However, this selective breeding has also led to a rise in various diseases.

 

Selective breeding…
Selective breeding or close breeding, commonly known as line breeding or inbreeding, results that the number of bad genes in most breeds

exceeds the average number which significantly reduces the genetic variables involved in mating two individual dogs and thereby increases the Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) which alters the natural defense mechanism of body and finally may lead to various disease manifestations.

Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI)…
This is a mathematical tool that provides a measure of the degree of relatedness of the individuals in any given dog’s pedigree. It is an approximation and not an absolute measure. Individuals with low COIs (less inbred) are more likely to have two different MHC (Major Histocompatabilty Complex) haplotypes. Every individual has a pair of MHC haplotypes which are inherited from each parent.

The immune system…

Dr. MK Singh

Dr. MK Singh

The immune system is governed by the MHC. This cluster of genes is referred to as a ‘complex’ because of their close positioning on one chromosome. This positioning virtually enables it to be inherited as a unit called a

haplotype. MHC enables the immune system to respond precisely against invading infectious agents like bacteria or viruses. It exists in all species of mammals and not only unique to dogs. MHC genes are exceptionally polymorphic, each having many—sometimes as many as 100—different alleles or forms. MHC complexity is an excellent example of the importance of biological diversity—not only among species but also within them. All naturally reproducing species will avoid or significantly limit inbreeding.

Prone to infections…
Inbred individuals are always homozygous in relation to their MHC genes (i.e. the two sets of identical haplotypes received from parent). This situation diminishes the diversity among MHC and thus body’s capability to mount an effective immune response. Such dogs are more prone to infections and are more likely to suffer autoimmune disease or allergies.
Use of popular sires over several generations can play havoc with MHC diversity. Since any individual can only have two MHC haplotypes, if a significant portion of a breed descends from a relative few number of dogs, the whole population may be threatened. Furthermore, this may lead to poor or ineffective utilisation of vaccines.

Consequences of bad breeding in dogs

  • Skin problems
  • Immune system disease
  • Narrow immune response
  • Vaccine inefficacy
  • Blood disorders
  • Neurological, behavioural and sensory
  • Hearing and vision
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Orthopaedic
  • Affecting other vital organs and systems

Things to note

  • Close breeding must be discouraged by breeders.
  • Avoid the over-use of any individual dog, no matter how fine a specimen he might be.
  • No dog affected with chronic autoimmune disease or serious allergies should be bred.
  • Breeders should be aware of their dogs’ Coefficient of Inbreeding (COIs).
  • Crosses that produce autoimmune disease or allergies should always be discouraged.
  • Recording much information as possible on the allergy and autoimmune disease status of numerous relatives of the dogs.
  • If screening tests are available for a disease, it should always be used before breeding.

Saving – up to us!
The storm is upon us and we can get rid of it. The potential impact of close breeding on dog’s health is enormously great. Even though we are currently unable to eliminate this kind of problem, damage control must be properly instituted. With good record keeping, diligence and foresight the risk of
producing these costly, potentially devastating, and sometimes-fatal affections can be significantly reduced.
(Dr MK Singh is scientist in Immunology Section at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, UP).

Why deworming is important?

Deworming is basically getting rid of worms from the pet’s stomach, which is a ‘periodical process’ that is carried out every 3-4 months. But, it is important to deworm the pups during one month of birth. Here’s why?
  • There are many types of worms (endo-parasites), of which roundworm is most common in dogs and can cause severe problems. The eggs of this worm normally get into dog’s stomach via food, water, air, contacts, etc. Once inside, they undergo huge larvae development and can even be distributed in muscles, tissues and kidneys.
  • In case of pregnant female dogs, these larvae migrate to the uterous and can pass to liver and lungs of the pups, when they are still in the mother’s womb.
  • After whelping, the larvae immediately settle in the intestines and thus puppies born will suffer from in-utero worm problem.
  • In some cases, the larvae reach mammary glands and are transmitted to pups through milk.
  • Roundworms lay thousands of eggs in the intestines of the pup and cause ingestion, malnutrition, stunted growth, less resistance to diseases like diarrhoea, liver damage, pot belly, besides neurological symptoms like legs, head and body shaking and death in acute cases. The pups also show symptoms like hair fall and dull coats coupled with dry skin.
  • Worm problem in dogs could have human risk, particularly to children playing with the dogs. The eggs of the worms through the dog will be ingested and caused similar symptoms in kids. Hence, good hygiene regime should be followed by kids playing with dogs and the dog be regularly dewormed.

Hence it is vital to get your pup dewormed in the first month of his birth. Deworming schedule

Age Frequency
First three months Every month
Above three months Every 3-4 months

(Dr Asadulla Khan runs Aakson Veterinary Clinic, Oil Mill Road, Kammanahali, Bengaluru).