We test for three conditions known to occur in pugs. Along side only breeding from excellent examples of the breed, with good eyes and airways, we hope to produce as healthy offspring as possible.

Hemivertebrae (HV)
This is a spinal condition that can affect breeds with kinked or curled tails. An affected spine shows vertebrae with a wedge shape, this may then worsen over time to pinch the spinal cord and cause mobility issues and loss of movement, another issue with HV is incontinence.
Not all affected pugs show the same severity. Some you would never know to look at have HV, hence the need to X-Ray all breeding stock. The mode of inheritence is at this stage unknown, however breeding from only clear unaffected pugs is always the best way forward. We use Southern Canine Imaging in Southwick, Hants for screening. They sedate the dogs rather than put them under a full anaesthetic, which is safer and quicker and much better for the pug.

Results are shown as either Clear or Affected. Affected dogs should not be bred from.

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)
This is a brain condition affecting pugs. Its mode of inheritence can be tested for with a DNA test, we use UC Davis in California
PDE manifests itself with various signs, such as 'head pressing', seizures, depression, ataxia, abnormal gait and blindness. Not all pugs affected will exhibit the same signs or severity. Some dogs with PDE can be treated with medication to leave a comfortable life. However many do die from the disease.
There is no definitive test at this stage, the current test allows breeders to make informed choices on pairings before mating. This way only litters of N/N and N/S puppies can be produced, which reduces the risk of developing PDE in those dogs. Until a more definitive test can be developed, this is the best way to avoid breeding puppies with high risk of developing the disease.

The results can be:

N/N No copies of the NME associated markers (homozygous for normal).
These dogs have a low risk of developing NME.

N/S 1 copy of the NME associated markers (heterozygous for susceptibility).
These dogs have a low risk of developing NME.

S/S 2 copies of the NME susceptibility associated markers.
These dogs are 12.75 times more likely to develop NME in their lifetime.

Putnam Patella Scoring (luxating kneecaps)
This is a condition that commonly affects small breeds, but can occur in any breed of dog. A luxating patella occurs when the knee cap moves out of its natural position. The patella (knee cap) lies in a cartilaginous groove at the end of the femur at the stifle. The patella in dogs is shaped like an almond and its purpose is to assist in knee extension. The patella resides in the tendon of the quadriceps muscle group which attaches to the bone below the femur, the tibia. When this muscle group contracts, it pulls on the tendon and the knee cap, thereby extending the stifle. If the patella is pulled out of its normal groove with knee extension, this is called a luxating patella
The causes of this condition can be congenital, genetic and/or traumatic.
To try and avoid the possibility of passing the condition onto pups, we only breed from dogs with excellent Putnam scores. Our main vet carries out the scoring and fills out a form with the results.

The scores are shown as two numbers such as 0/0, 0/1, 1/0 etc. This shows the grading for left/right patellas.
Scores are as follows.
• Grade 0: Normal
• Grade 1: the patella can be manually luxated with the stifle in full extension, but when pressure is released without manipulation of the limb the patella regains its original position in the trochlea. Spontaneous luxation of the patella during normal joint motion rarely occurs. Typically stifle and hock in a straight line with no deviation of the hock.
• Grade 2: the patella can be completely luxated, but manipulation of the hind limb (flexion of the stifle) causes the patella to regain its original position in the trochlear. On physical examination, the patella luxates easily, especially when the foot is rotated.
• Grade 3: the patella is found (at least once) spontaneously luxated with the animal in a standing position or it is permanently luxated but can be repositioned manually or by manipulating the limb. Very shallow or flattened trochlear.
• Grade 4: the patella is permanently luxated and cannot be repositioned. May scarcely be able to walk or may move in a crouched position with both limbs partially flexed, and/or they may carry the affected limb. Trochlea is shallow, absent or even convex.

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