Health of the Stabyhoun
What ABOUT THE HEALTH of the Stabyhoun?
The Stabyhoun, despite its small population, is fortunately a relatively healthy breed. The ASA and the NVSW do everything possible to keep it that way. Nevertheless, we see certain diseases more or less occurring regularly. The breeding program of our association, the ASA, is aimed to reduce these occurrences as much as possible. It is not easy, because the causes are not always clear or strictly hereditary. It would be unwise to exclude too many dogs from our breeding program, because then we would lose genetic material. Too few dogs inevitably results in a higher inbreeding percentage, which can lead to more genetic health problems and eventually extinction. So there is a definite challenge in making smart matches!
For those who own Stabys and would like to help us stay aware of new developments, please take the time to fill in our Health Questionnaire! It will only take a few moments and your data will be valuable to the future of the breed. Just click on this link! ASA Health Questionnaire
Below are the problems that are known to the Stabyhoun breed along with how often (or how little) they occur in the population, and how we attempt to deal with it in our breeding program.
Hip dysplasia (HD)
Hip dysplasia is a developmental disorder of the hip joints caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms include trouble getting up and lameness in the hindquarters. HD can be determined by taking X-rays of the hip joints. Result HD-A (Excellent and Good) is the best rating; HD-E or Severe is the worst.
How common is it? In the overall database for Stabyhoun, about 2% of dogs worldwide have reported radiographic HD D or E (moderate to severe); clinical signs are thereby seldom reported. Lameness, necessitating surgery, has been seen only a very few times. Another 3.3% of all dogs have reported HD C (mild).
In the past 10 years, counting only the Stabys that have been radiographed, about 15.5% have reported HD C, and 4.1% have reported HD D or E.
In the entire population for the last 10 years, HD C has been seen about 3.4% of the time, while less than 1% of all Stabys have reported HD D or E.
In the USA and Canada, 92% of all radiographed dogs have HD A or B – no Dysplasia. HD C has appeared in 6% and HD D only in 2% of those tested.
The breeding policy of ASA: HD radiographs are required for breeding. The dogs with the results A and B+ can be bred; Dogs with HD B- or C may bred on a case by case basis depending on family history. HD D and E cannot be bred.
Elbow dysplasia (ED)
Elbow dysplasia is a collective term for three types of developmental disabilities to elbow joints, caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Sufferers exhibit lameness in the front legs. ED can be determined by x-ray; carriers may not be recognized this way however.
How common is it? Overall, the percentage of ED that has been reported in a Staby is less than 1%. These statistics are not properly reflecting the amount of ED in the population however, as radiographs are not required in The Netherlands.
In the past 10 years, in countries requiring ED radiographs, 1.2% of all Stabys have reported ED grade 2 or higher, however ED grade 1 remains at 2.9%. In the Stabyhoun population that has been radiographed in the past 10 years worldwide, 9.7% have ED grade 1 and 3.3% have grade 2 or 3.
In the USA and Canada, 91% of all radiographed dogs have normal results – no Elbow Dysplasia. ED grade 1 has appeared in 6% and ED grade 2 only in 3% of those tested.
The breeding policy of ASA: ED radiographs are mandatory. Proven sufferers and carriers should not be bred (a “proven” carrier is considered to be a dog that has passed the same disease in two different litters). Immediate relatives of a sufferer are not combined with dogs that also have sufferers under their immediate family members.
With epilepsy, there suddenly occurs a disturbance in the brain so that a dog loses control of a part of their body: They fall, get severe cramps, may foam at the mouth and can become incontinent. However, there are also milder forms of expression. Epilepsy can be inherited but can also be caused by environmental factors. The hereditary form is revealed in the Staby usually around three to five years of age.
How common is it? We had in the past 10 years on average 6 reports per year, about 1% of all dogs. Before the breeding program was set up to control this, epilepsy was more common.
The breeding policy of ASA: preventive examination for determining carriers is not possible. Sufferers and proven carriers should not be bred (a “proven” carrier is considered to be a dog that has passed the same disease in two different litters). Immediate family members of a patient should not be combined with dogs that have sufferers under their direct family members.
Steroid Responsive Meningitis-Arteritis (SRMA)
SRMA is a systemic inflammatory disease, most commonly found in young dogs. It is also referred to as a vasculitis of the meninges or inflammation of the blood vessels of the meninges.
How common is it: In the past ten years, 35 cases of SRMA have been reported or .5% of all Stabys born.
The breeding regulation of the ASA: preventive research on carriers is not possible. Proven sufferers and carriers should not be bred (a proven carrier is a dog who has passed that same condition in 2 different litters). Immediate family of a sufferer cannot be combined with dogs who also have sufferers in their direct family lineage.
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
A heart condition also called ductus arteriosus. When the vet inspects the puppies at age 6 to 7 weeks, they will hear a loud engine noise ‘on the left side of the heart if this disease is present. PDA is the failure of a large blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, to close just after birth. If not treated, the patient dies ultimately of heart failure. By timely intervention surgery, the prognosis is excellent.
How common is it? In the past ten years, PDA has detected in 50 puppies or about 0.7% of the population. Additional research on this is being done, in collaboration with the University of Utrecht, but no marker for this has been found to date. It is likely complex in inheritance pattern.
The breeding policy of ASA: Preventive investigation for possible carriers unfortunately is still not possible. Sufferers and proven carriers should not be bred (a proven carrier is a dog which has passed the same disease in two different litters). Immediate family members of a sufferer not be combined with dogs that also have sufferers under their immediate family members.
Cerebral Dysfunction (CD)
A relatively new problem that has already been identified with genetic markers, this is a hereditary neurological problem. At around 6 weeks, puppies show deviant and compulsive behavior: repeating the same movement, turning in circles, backwards or walking back and forth. Sufferers have an excessive urge to move, eat poorly, wasting away and death within a few months.
How common is it? it has so far been detected in six litters in the past four years.
The breeding policy of the ASA: Since April 2015, a DNA test is available for CD. The test is mandatory to be able to breed with a dog OR at least one of the mates must be a CD free dog. It is not allowed to combine two carriers of the CD gene.
Von Willebrands Disease, Type I (VWD-I)
VWD is a blood clotting disorder that occurs in three types. In the Staby, it has been identified as Type I, the mildest form. Here is a reduced production of a particular clotting factor which causes dogs to show prolonged blood clotting times. Owners often do not notice this in their dog. Carriers are at little or no risk, but sufferers can be at risk if greater injuries and operations occur.
There is a DNA test available that sufferers and carriers can be identified.
How common is it? Roughly a quarter of the Staby population is free of VWD, one-quarter are sufferers; the remaining half are carriers. Clinical symptoms are rarely reported, so it is not screened for (too much genetic material would be lost).
The breeding policy of ASA: there is no breeding policy for VWD and the DNA test is not mandatory.
For the ASA:
The ASA currently does not test for VWD as there has only been one dog in all the world that has actually been documented as suffering from VWD. It may be that the Elisa test that was developed for the disease in Stabyhouns is not accurate. So we do not screen for this and thereby eliminate valuable genetic material. Should this in reality become a health issue in the breed, we will have to develop a more accurate Elisa test and at least not mate two carriers together.
Other health problems are sporadically reported which we are not always able to determine whether it is an isolated case or whether it is genetically caused. With these issues, dogs should at least not be bred. A breeder who wants to cross lines where the same problem was on both sides seen will be assuming some risk.
PLEASE report any and all health issues to our Breed Advisors! It is essential to gather as much data as possible in order to protect our breed longterm. Thank you in advance. Please click here to report an issue.