Keeping Our Breed Healthy
The Giant Schnauzer Club has a fundamental duty of care for the health of the breed and as such encourages breeders and owners alike to participate in the Giant Schnauzer Club breed health plans:
1. Breed Health Survey
The Giant Schnauzer Club is working in collaboration with all four UK Schnauzer Clubs in relation to an ongoing and annual joint breed health survey. Results of the surveys are to be collated and published via the Giant Jottings club magazine and website.
2. KC/BSAVA Scientific Advisory Group
The Giant Schnauzer Club is in consultation with Professor Jeff Sampson the Kennel Club Geneticist and health representatives via the KC/BSAVA Scientific Advisory Group.
3. Animal Health Trust DNA Samples
The Giant Schnauzer Club would like to encourage owners of dogs affected with melanomas (cancer) of the skin, toe and mouth and also dogs diagnosed with Idiopathic (inherited) Epilepsy, to send cheek swab samples to the Animal Health Trust. It is hoped the samples will help to assist with future research in to genetic testing for melanomas in Schnauzers and Idiopathic Epilepsy in all dogs in general. The Animal Health Trust also requires cheek swab samples from unaffected dogs over the age of 7 years.
4. Data Collection
The Giant Schnauzer Club actively encourages owners and breeders of dogs affected with any inherited conditions to submit relevant veterinary information and supporting pedigrees for inclusion in the breed health file to enable real life data collection. It is more meaningful if such records contain specific notes on any investigations undertaken, so that it can be distinguished which dogs have simply been reported as having symptoms from those that have had comprehensive clinical assessments and diagnosed with specific conditions.
5. Health Screening
The Giant Schnauzer Club recommends that, as minimum, breeders adhere to the required health screening tests relevant to the breed i.e. at the time of publication, eye testing for Hereditary Cataracts and litter screening puppies eyes for Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD). The BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia scheme is also available as an option for breeders to enable monitoring of Hip Scores within the breed.
Unfortunately the genetic position regarding many conditions currently remains unclear. There is a possibility that some health problems such as Hypothyroid, Epilepsy, and Melanomas may have an inherited link within the breed. However there are no conclusive answers as to the mode of inheritance for such conditions which can present a challenge to the breed and canine world in general. As such a collaborative and long term approach to minimising incidences of any health problem is required and real life data collection is key. In the interim the Giant Schnauzer Club recommend a common sense approach, in that breeders should avoid the mating of affected dogs and also avoid repeat matings that produced affected offspring. The health status of any breeding pair and their ancestry requires careful consideration.
Although the club can monitor and report on health trends within the breed, due to legal complexities of the Data Protection Act it would be inappropriate for the club to print individual names of dogs and their pedigrees.
Hopefully with the help of breeders, owners and advancements in research and technologies the future may provide more conclusive answers that will assist in keeping our breed as healthy as possible.
The Giant Schnauzer Club strongly recommends that:
- All adult breeding stock to be tested annually for life under the BVA/KC eye scheme.
- All puppies to be eye tested at 6-12 weeks i.e. prior to leaving the breeder, this test is for M.R.D not cataracts.
- All puppies registration documents to be endorsed R - progeny not eligible for Registration.
- Dogs attending for eye tests to be identified by microchip prior to testing (this does not yet apply to litter screening of pups under 12 weeks old).