Havanese Puppies Available from Havanese Breeder Serving Washington and Oregon, USA and Vancouver, and Langley, BC


 


 

 

 

Health

I care not only about my dogs but about my owners too.  As a breeder I have a responsibility to ensure that I do my utmost to keep the Havanese a healthy breed, but I also want my puppy buyers to have the most positive experience possible with their new Havanese.

My husband Doug and I believe that we are responsible for doing everything in our power to breed healthy puppies.  We start with health testing - all our dogs are health tested, heart, elbows, eyes, hips, hearing, and blood screens for liver and kidney dysfunctions.  Many breeders do some of these tests, fewer do all all of them.

We also test our puppies both show and companion, it is costly but the piece of mind it brings is huge.  We health test our puppies for heart, hearing, pre-lim elbows, general complete vet go-over, and have also added blood screening for liver and kidney dysfunctions. 

We have the standard guarantee upon vet examination, but because we believe so strongly in breeding the best, and supporting our owners the best we have extended our health guarantee to LIFETIME, for any genetic disorder that would  shorten the lifespan of the Havanese.

Article:

Havanese Health

Myladhavanese.com

 

Although there are many articles written on the topic of Havanese Health, I wanted to put something together that was simple to understand yet informative for puppy buyers interesting in adopting their first Havanese Puppy, but also include information that breeders may find useful as well 

All breeds have some inherent health issues and the Havanese breed is no different in this regard.  The breed is still relatively new so the health issues with Havanese are not as well known, well reported, or well documented as with some of the more established toy breeds. 

 I have conducted research from several sites, including information from the two main Havanese Breeder Clubs in Canada and the US, Havanese Fanciers of Canada, HFC) and HCA the official Havanese Club of America.  I have also researched books written specifically about the Havanese, including The Havanese by Diane Klumb.  An excellent book with much information.  Although not all ‘experts’ in Havanese agree, there are definitely some common agreed upon facts.

 

Statistics from the Orthopedic foundations for animals (OFA)

HAVANESE

Registry

Rank

Evaluations

Percent Abnormal

Percent Normal

BAER HEARING TEST

8

1823

0.5

99.4

CARDIAC

32

458

0.2

98.5

ELBOW

37

468

6.8

92.7

HIPS

100

1103

8.1

91.2

LEGG-CALVE-PERTHES

9

263

0.0

100.0

PATELLA

41

1362

2.7

97.3

THYROID

16

92

8.7

84.8

MALTESE

Registry

Rank

Evaluations

Percent Abnormal

Percent Normal

CARDIAC

N/A

2

0.0

100.0

HIPS

N/A

5

0.0

100.0

PATELLA

35

78

3.8

96.2

THYROID

N/A

3

33.3

66.7

PUG

Registry

Rank

Evaluations

Percent Abnormal

Percent Normal

CARDIAC

N/A

16

0.0

100.0

ELBOW

N/A

72

61.1

37.5

HIPS

2

342

62.6

35.7

LEGG-CALVE-PERTHES

N/A

38

0.0

100.0

PATELLA

10

273

8.4

91.6

THYROID

N/A

18

0.0

77.8

 COCKER SPANIEL

Registry

Rank

Evaluations

Percent Abnormal

Percent Normal

CARDIAC

43

59

0.0

94.9

ELBOW

84

193

0.5

97.9

HIPS

112

10491

6.2

93.1

LEGG-CALVE-PERTHES

7

1939

0.0

100.0

PATELLA

3

447

22.4

77.6

PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY

N/A

2

0.0

100.0

THYROID

28

111

5.4

84.7

JAPANESE CHIN

Registry

Rank

Evaluations

Percent Abnormal

Percent Normal

CARDIAC

56

74

0.0

100.0

ELBOW

N/A

2

0.0

100.0

HIPS

N/A

24

8.3

91.7

PATELLA

N/A

43

16.3

83.7

THYROID

N/A

2

0.0

100.0

 

Skeletal Problems

 

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals also gives us some valuable information from Havanese that have been tested in the areas of hearing, hip, patella and cardiac.  As you can see Havanese Breeders have been pretty diligent about health testing, as the number of evaluations of Havanese and Cocker Spaniels are one of the highest. 

 

Hips seem to be the primary orthopedic issue with Havanese, with 8.1% of 1103 evaluations being abnormal followed by Patella’s (elbows) with 6.8% reported abnormal.

Chondrodysplasia

CD is a condition that may be a symptom of an underlying disease and is considered to be one of the symptoms of OS.  The exaggerated bowing of the legs indicates Chondrodysplasia, a skeletal abnormality.

Although not proven there is research and many supporters that the gene associated with CD is related to an inability to metabolize cholesterol.

Organ Issues:

Liver Shunt

Portosystemic shunt is a blood vessel that bypasses the liver and carries the blood from the intestines and stomach to the heart before it is filtered by the liver of proteins, sugars and bacteria.  If the shunt does not close down after birth the puppies liver will not develop at the normal rate.  Congenital shunts are generally single blood vessels that are present at birth and are generally found inside of the liver.  They are called intrahepatic.  Surgical treatment is possible, but often multiple shunts are present with intrahepatic and they are difficult to find.  Extrahepatic shunts are located outside of the liver; these shunts are more treatable with better success rates.  Bile Acids determine the presence of both of these types of shunts. 

Liver shunt according to some sources as a high % of occurrence in Havanese.  A study funded by H.E.A.R.T.  In 2005 reports it as being significant in the breed.  Personally I think the sample size was too small to make that claim confidently.  None the less, liver shunt does appear in Havanese as well as in many other toy breeds.  There are many opinions on whether liver shunt is congenital or hierolatry and some research has reported that multiple internal shunts are hereditary where single external are congenital.  Some sites dispute this, and some just will not say.  I talked to both a repro and genetic vet about shunt and neither are willing to commit until more genetic research has been done. 

For the companion dog owner genetic or congenital liver shunt can be detected from a series of bile acid tests, and if the ratings of the test are suspicious further ultrasound and diagnostic tests can be conducted.  Whether you believe there is a high incidence or a low incidence I recommend you buy from a breeder who conducts these tests on their puppies prior to you purchasing.  For the Havanese Breeder it is important that we test our puppies and if/when shunt appears test the pedigree and offspring of the pedigree to ensure we are not increasing the incidence of genetic liver shunt into the breed.

I personally do blood work on all breeding stock and puppies for thyroid and liver.  I do this primarily because if there is an issue, these are not generally identified early (prior to puppy going home), so you potentially are sending a problem puppy to a new home, and secondly any repeated breedings should be ceased.  Havanese bitches and dogs can be carriers of genetic thyroid and liver shunt and yet never display an issue, so breeders who say “it’s not in my lines” may in fact not be correct, they have just not experienced offspring with an issue yet.  From the few reported instances of liver shunt and thyroid I would wager to guess it is likely in many of our lines, in the form of carriers and when the correct genetic match occurs it will surely crop up in puppies.  Although testing will not tell you if your dog is a carrier, it will tell you if your dog has a genetic or congenital issue and personally I want to know that before my puppy goes to his adoptive home.  I look forward to more genetic research being done on liver shunt and Thyroid. 

 

CARDIAC PROBLEMS

Cardiomyopathy:  Inflammation and scarring of the heart which causes the muscle to be less effective in supply oxygen to the body.  The heart weakens and generally results in the death of the dog.  Heart disease does appear to be genetic which is why testing on the parents and pups is an essential requirement for breeders.

Heart Murmurs:  Caused by leaky valves.  Some are congenital and can be tested by a vet on puppies.  Some however do develop overtime and are somewhat common is older dogs.  Heart murmurs may not affect the life style of the dog – it is a good idea to have you dog’s heart checked annually.  My vet checks my dog’s heart at every visit.

Thyroid Issues

Surprising is the 8.7% of thyroid issues, but only 92 evaluations were received and, as this is not considered today to be part of a breeders normal test, the data is somewhat misleading, because one would assume that breeders have tested their Havanese for thyroid when they suspect an issue.  This is almost certainly the case with Maltese with only a sampling of 3 dogs, and a 33% abnormal rate.

 

In general, with the exception of a higher than expected thyroid issue, there is no real cause for alarm for the pet owner with these statistics.  For the Havanese Breeder however, it is an indication that we really must test for before breeding and should begin adding Thyroid testing into our regular arsenal of tests.  I found a very good article on Thyroid conditions in dogs in general which suggests testing in puppies is not particularly valid.  I have however heard from other breeders that early testing can alert to Thyroid issues in young puppies so I have added to my puppy testing with a general blood screening.

 

 

EARLY THYROID DISEASE (THYROIDITIS) COMPENSATORY AND CLINICAL HYPOTHYROIDISM

Most of the confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease in purebred or mixed breed dogs today stems from the expectation that affected animals must show clinical signs of inadequate thyroid hormonal production (i.e. hypothyroidism) in order to have the disease. The term hypothyroidism has been loosely applied to describe all stages of this disease process whereas strictly speaking it should be reserved for the end-stages when the animal's thyroid gland is no longer capable of producing sufficient hormone(s) to sustain clinical health. At this point, the dog can express any number of the non-specific multisystem signs of thyroid dysfunction. But let’s start at the beginning.

The most common cause of canine thyroid disease is autoimmune thyroiditis (estimated 90% of cases). Thyroiditis is an immune-mediated process that develops in genetically susceptible individuals and is characterized by the presence of antithyroid antibodies in the blood or tissues. Thyroiditis is believed to start in most cases around puberty, and gradually progress through mid-life and old age to become clinically expressed hypothyroidism once thyroid glandular reserve has been depleted. During this process, the animal or person becomes more susceptible to immune-mediated or other diseases affecting various target tissues and organs. The prerequisite genetic basis for susceptibility to this disorder has been in established in humans, dogs and several other species.

The above explanation helps us to appreciate existing confusion and controversy within the veterinary profession regarding whether or not testing or treatment is indicated for dogs that fail to show typical signs of hypothyroidism. In fact, we have only recently begun to recognize the subtle signs of early thyroid dysfunction in dogs as prevalence of the autoimmune form of the condition has increased within and among dog breeds. Today, some 50 breeds are genetically predisposed to develop thyroid disease.

GENETIC SCREENING FOR THYROID DISEASE

These thyroid panels and antibody tests can also be used for genetic screening of apparently healthy animals to evaluate their fitness for breeding. A bitch with antithyroid antibodies in her blood may pass these along to her puppies in her colostral milk. Also, any dog having circulating antithyroid antibodies can eventually develop clinical symptoms of thyroid or other autoimmune diseases. Therefore, thyroid screening can be very important for potential breeding stock.

Thyroid testing for genetic screening purposes is less likely to be meaningful before puberty. Screening is initiated, therefore, once healthy dogs and bitches have reached sexual maturity (between 10-14 months in males and during the first anestrus period for females following their maiden heat.) Anestrus is a time when the female sexual cycle is quiescent, thereby removing any influence of sex hormones on baseline thyroid function. This period generally begins 12 weeks from the onset of the previous heat and lasts one month or longer. The interpretation of results from baseline thyroid profiles in intact females is more reliable when they are tested in anestrus. Testing for health screening is performed at 12-16 weeks from the onset of the previous heat. In fact genetic screening of intact females for other parameters like von Willebrand's disease or wellness health and reproductive checkups should also be scheduled in anestrus females. Once the initial thyroid profile is obtained, dogs and bitches should be rechecked on an annual basis to assess their own health. Annual results permit comparisons that should reveal early evidence of developing thyroid disease or dysfunction. This also allows for early treatment where indicated to abort the development or advancement of clinical signs associated with hypothyroidism.

Healthy young dogs (less than 15-18 months of age) should have thyroid baseline levels for all parameters in the upper 1/2 to 1/3 of the adult normal ranges. In fact, for optimum thyroid function in screening breeding stock, levels should be at least at the midpoint of the laboratory normal ranges, because lower levels may well be indicative of the early stages of thyroiditis among relatives of dog families known to have thyroid disease.

Eye Issues

Cataracts

Many breeds get cataracts, Havanese have had an issue with juvenile cataracts, and the incident of cataracts in general is high in the breed.  The lens become opaque and if untreated can eventually blind the animal if not surgically removed.  A cataract will form when the biochemical mechanisms of the lens metabolism fails.  Cataracts are not life threatening but if they progress to the point of vision impairment they will have to be removed.  It is advisable to have your Havanese checked for cataracts by a certified ophthalmologist – cataracts can lead to glaucoma and in severe untreated cases could involve much more invasive surgery and the removal of the eye.  This is completely unnecessary if you do an annual check with a vet ophthalmologist.

Punctates

Punctates are also relatively common in Havanese.  They are tiny dot like immature cataracts on the eye.  Many breeders are not overly concerned with punctuates as they often do not develop into cataracts.  There is no research or evidence which indicates that punctuates ever develop into cataracts.  If you have a dog with punctuates it is important that your ophthalmologist checks our dog annually.

Cherry Eye

A non-serious condition that is relatively common in toy breeds and the Havanese.  It is a swollen or protruding gland on the third eyelid.  Suspected to be due to a weakness of the tissue.  Sometimes drops or simply tucking the gland back in resolves the issue, most often a relatively simple surgery of tacking it into place is required.  Cherry eye are thought to be probably genetic although rough play, scratches of the eye, and lack of attention to cleaning discharge in the eye are also thought to be causes.  

Okham Syndrome

 

  • A relatively new term in Havanese health, Okham syndrome is not a single disease or issue but rather a term used to describe a variety of Havanese symptoms.  The symptoms refereed to as Ockham affect various areas of the body and have always been presumed to be unrelated.  Recent studies have suggested that a combination of these symptoms often occur and studies proceed to determine DNA factors associated with OS

References

q       Hereditary and Genetic disorders of the Havanese Breed  http://www.mts.net/~mckay55/genetics.html

q       HCA – Havanese Club of America  http://www.havanese.org/

q       H.E.A.R.T   http://www.havanese.net/heart/

q       AKC www.akc.org

q       The Havanese by Diane Klumb

q       HFC – Havanese Fanciers of Canada  http://www.havanesefanciers.com

q       OFA – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals  www.offa.org

q       Portosystemic Shunts:Karen M. Tobias, DVM, MS, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Professor, Small Animal Surgery, University of Tennessee Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

 

q       Many thanks to my breeder friends for sharing their experience and stories with me.

 

 

Article property of Myladhavanese.com

www.myladhavanese.com

 

 


 

HOME  |  ABOUT  |  CONTACT  |

eXTReMe Tracker