There are a variety of health issues that can surface in a Havanese dog. Some of them are due to genetics, while others can come about because of the environment they grow up in. Whatever the case might be, the issue we want to discuss today involves Chondrodysplasia.
What is Chondrodysplasia?
Chondrodysplasia is short for Osteochondrodysplasia. This is a disorder that affects the development of bones and cartilage. Havanese dogs are simply unlucky, because this can be a crippling genetic disorder they never see coming. You can see it early on because their limbs might have odd shapes and lengths.
The first sign is usually found in the front legs, but eventually working its way throughout all four legs. However, even though it is tough to see your Havanese hobbling around from one place to another, there is additional information that can help you from dealing with this situation altogether.
Chondrodysplasia is an autosomal recessive gene. In order for your dog to have the disorder, both of its parents have to carry this gene. If they don’t, then Chondrodysplasia becomes a mood point. So anytime you’re looking for a new puppy to take home, be sure to find out a little background information on the pup’s parents.
The History of Chondrodysplasia
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was noticing more and more litters with deformed puppies. Everyone was perplexed because the parents didn’t show any signs of having Chondrodysplasia themselves. Eventually in the early part of the 1970s, studies showed that a genetic disorder was present. However, in past diagnosis, veterinarians believed it was a form of rickets, which turned out to be wrong.
Most of the deformities were due to size, so the dogs were classified as “dwarves.” However, it created a lot of confusion, especially since the Havanese dog was already small in size. Today, we know the true identity to the deformities, and are taking the proper measures to eliminate it in future newborns.
Resolving the Problem
When we try to control a disorder or disease, medicine is integrated into our daily regimen. When it comes to Chondrodysplasia, it’s all about the preventative measures. Since both parents must carry the gene, the best option is having both dogs tested before they start breeding pups. If they are both considered carriers, then the goal would be to match them with other dogs that do not carry this genetic trait.
Those who are about to purchase a puppy that is six weeks old or younger, you might consider having x-rays as a precautionary measure. Otherwise, Chondrodysplasia is virtually impossible to detect. Yes, this includes veterinarians trying to detect it. The good news is; it’s very possible for a Havanese dog to have abnormal legs, but no one ever really notices thanks to their longer coats.
The best type of practice amongst breeders is to make sure neither one of the parents are carrying the gene. Even though Chondrodysplasia in puppies requires both parents to carry it, one parent can pass the gene to the offspring without any deformities or side effects. Since the idea is to get rid of the disorder entirely, the smart choice would be breeding without the gene present at all.
Other Preventative Measures
In order to eliminate Chondrodysplasia completely, there are 3 steps that must be taken to prevent future litter outbreaks:
* Test Breeding – Utilizing the proper test can help us figure out whether or not your Havanese dog is a gene carrier. It’s a costly project for the country, but it could be an important factor for future litters.
* Sterilization – The only way to eliminate the recessive gene from a breed gene pool is by sterilizing all Chondrodysplasia Havanese dogs. Any parent that is about to produce a Chondrodysplasia pup should be sterilized as well.
* Find a Reputable Breeder – Purchasing a pure-bred Havanese dog is smart, especially if it comes from a reputable breeder. These individuals will be well aware of the Chondrodysplasia disorder, so they will most likely take the necessary steps to alleviate the risk. However, because of the testing costs, it’s possible you will be charged more for the puppy.