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Whether your dog is healthy or affected by a disease, the amount of information available on canine health can be overwhelming. We want to help you make sense of it all with factual disease descriptions, genetic test information, breed specific health concerns and more. The information provided here is no substitute for the care of a veterinarian. Make sure your dog is getting regular check-ups, and your vet should always be your first call in the event of an emergency.
  • 29 Apr 2017 7:56 AM | Anonymous

    Asparagus extract. Exotic teas. Topical creams for your pet — and you. These and dozens of other products are being touted falsely as having "anti-cancer" properties, according to federal regulators who are trying to stop the practice.

    The Food and Drug Administration, in warning letters released Tuesday, ordered 14 companies to stop making the bogus claims or face possible seizures of their products and criminal prosecution. The letters covered more than five dozen unapproved products that the companies said could prevent, treat or cure cancer, the FDA said. The items included pills, ointments, oils, drops, teas and diagnostic devices.

    “Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially lifesaving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Douglas Stearn, director of the FDA's Office of Enforcement and Import Operations.

    One of the companies, Sunstone, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, sells a product called Essiac Tea. Its website suggested that “cancer and AIDS sufferers or other ill people may wish to take 2 fluid ounces of the tea twice daily on an empty stomach,” the FDA warning letter said. Eight ounces of the tea costs $11, according to the firm's website.

    Another Sunstone product, Virxcan-X Salve, is marketed for “liver congestion, arthritis, malignant growths, respiratory and urinary tract infection,” according to the FDA. The price is $34 for one ounce. Asked to respond to the warning letter, a man at the company who identified himself as “Eric” declined to comment.

    [FDA warns parents not to give children cough syrup containing codeine]

    In a letter to Nature's Treasures, based in Glendale, Calif., the FDA noted that the company website made this claim about its topical cream KR22 Oxicell: “If you (or your pet) are suffering from liver problems, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease or other inflammatory conditions, this product can really help.” The agency said the product wasn't approved for either humans or animals.

    Elsewhere on the company's website, the FDA noted, the firm is promoting “thermography,” which uses digital infrared thermal imaging, as an unapproved device to detect breast cancer. The company says, for example, that “thermography is far more sensitive than mammography.”

    Company official Raya Shanazarian declined to comment.

    BioStar Technology International in Los Angeles was cited by the FDA for saying its Asparagus Extract “should be taken by everyone for heart, cancer prevention.” The company also claimed that its Revivin herbal blend “attacks cancer at the DNA level. This results in a more comprehensive cancer inhibition therapy.”

    Ulysses Angulo, the owner of BioStar, said, “The only thing we can do is comply and remove the verbiage. It removes information for the public to make informed decisions about products that could help them.”

    The agency gave the companies 15 days to correct the violations or provide a plan on how they will correct them. Since the violations pertain to marketing claims, the most likely fixes are removal of the offending language. If the firms do not respond to the agency, they face further action, including court injunctions on the sale of their products.

    The agency said it has issued more than 90 warning letters in 10 years to companies marketing hundreds of fraudulent products making cancer claims on websites, on social media and in stores. But it acknowledged that while the warnings sometimes stopped the sales, the companies sometimes just moved the products to new websites.

    In one disturbing trend, the agency is seeing a rise in phony cancer treatments for pets. “Increasingly, bogus remedies claiming to cure cancer in cats and dogs are showing up online,” said Nicole Kornspan, a consumer safety officer at the agency.

    link to the letters and listings of companies along with names they maybe using:

  • 17 Feb 2015 9:36 AM | Anonymous

    Dr. Arleigh Reynolds is everything a researcher should be.  This video conveys the dedication, life style and love of the dogs that drive and inspire him.  Cascade Northwest Bullmastiff Club is pleased to share this video with you.

    Dr. Arleigh Reynolds' Life With Dogs

  • 15 Oct 2014 4:06 PM | Deleted user

    Health & Research: Bloat
    by Sandra Wickwire, DVM

    The thought of "bloat" should strike fear in any large breed dog owner. Medically referred to as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), this is a life-threatening disorder which requires emergency medical and surgical care. Early recognition and treatment are essential. Gastric dilatation refers to distention of the stomach with gas, usually swallowed air. Volvulus, which may or may not be present, is where the stomach rotates on its long axis. This results in complete obstruction of outflow of stomach contents, including gas. Severe distention of the stomach will impinge on the blood flow of major blood vessels in this area. Loss of blood flow to the stomach and spleen quickly leads to necrosis (tissue death) of these organs. Hypovolemic and endotoxic shock, which follows rapidly, will lead to death if not treated.
    Unfortunately the cause(s) of GDV is yet unknown. One known factor is the anatomic body type that is affected: large-breed, deep-chested dogs. It also usually occurs in middle-aged to older dogs. Swallowing excessive amounts of air (as with gulping food, difficulty breathing, or pain) or delayed emptying of the stomach may play a role. Overeating, exercise after eating, or a dry or cereal-based diet have all been suggested contributors but not proven. One study of 101 dogs with GDV showed an increased incidence in males, being underweight, eating one meal a day, eating rapidly, and having a fearful temperament. Dogs at a decreased risk were those with a "happy" temperament that received table scraps in addition to their diet of dry dog food. Stress was the only common factor that appeared to precipitate an episode of GDV.

    Warning Signs
    • Sudden onset of abdominal distention, i.e., looks "bloated"
    • Non-productive retching (trying to vomit but doesn't)
    • Increased salivation, restlessness, respiratory distress
    • Depression, weakness, staggering
    • Discolored (pale or brick red) mucus membranes (gums)

    What do I do?
    Don't panic - your dog needs you to function! Think of where the closest accessible veterinary facility is. If after hours, is there an emergency clinic in your area (information to know ahead of time)? Go!!!

    Decompressing (letting the air out of) the stomach may buy some time IF you have the equipment and expertise, or at least really good instructions and understanding. To pass a stomach tube, first measure the correct length by laying the tube along the side of the dogs neck. Align the rounded edge at the end of the dogs rib cage then mark the tube (a piece of white tape works well) where it would reach the opening of the dogs mouth. Use a roll of white medical tape (large enough not to swallow) placed sideways in the mouth (so you can see into the mouth through the hole) to hold the jaws open. After lubricating the stomach tube pass it through the tape roll and gently attempt to pass it down to the previously marked point. Do NOT use force, as this may lead to perforating the esophagus. In some cases it is not possible to pass a tube if the stomach is twisted as to block the opening.

    What to Expect at the Vet
    The veterinarian initially will treat for shock (IV fluids and steroid injection) and stabilize the dog's general condition. They will then attempt to decompress the stomach by tubing, or if unable they may use a large gauge needle to trocarize (puncture through the body wall) the stomach. Preventive antibiotics may be administered. If available, an ECG will be used to monitor for secondary cardiac arrhythmias. X-rays will be taken to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the position of the stomach. If the stomach is twisted, surgery is required to reposition and preferably suture it into place. Suturing the stomach in place will decrease the recurrence rate to 3-5% as opposed to 70-80%. Prognosis is based on surgical assessment of tissue damage and on postoperative recovery status.

    Since the exact reasons for bloat are uncertain effective preventive measures are also uncertain. Some suggestions include:

    Feed small frequent meals, 3-5 times a day
    Reduce the speed of eating (feed smaller amounts or place a large object in the bowel with the food)
    Limit water intake, i.e., do not let dog consume large quantities at once, and do not allow water until one hour after eating.
    Immediate recognition and treatment

  • 28 Sep 2014 4:09 PM | Deleted user


    The most common heart problems in Bullmastiffs are valvular disorders, sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), and cardiomyopathy. Owners are encouraged to report to their breeders if any heart problems are diagnosed.

    • Heart murmurs. These abnormal heart sounds are usually caused by an abnormal heart valve. Heart murmurs can be congenital or acquired. While many congenital murmurs will never cause a problem during the dog’s lifetime, some can cause problems later on, and some may be early signs of more serious heart problems. Some heart murmurs are caused by a viral assault. Cardiomyopathy may be caused by such viral infection. If it appears that the dog is developing normally and there are no other clinical signs of heart disease, the murmur may be considered "innocent".
    • Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) is characterized by a narrowing of the outflow track from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta. Thankfully, SAS is a relatively uncommon cause of a heart murmur. However, it can be life threatening and does show up from time to time. SAS is known to be hereditary. It is usually diagnosed with an echocardiogram and can be treated with medications.
    • Cardiomyopathy. This is, literally, "sick heart muscle".

    While weakness, lethargy, stunted growth, exercise intolerance, fainting, or abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias) may be present, both of these heart conditions (SAS and cardiomyopathy) can also progress undetected until they result in sudden death. Listening to the heart with a stethoscope is the first step in assessing a dog’s cardiac condition, but it is not always adequate, especially in a short-nosed breed such as the Bullmastiff. Further tests involving EKGs and cardiac ultrasound may be indicated. A consultation with a canine cardiologist is recommended when abnormalities are detected. Some treatments to manage cardiac disease are available through your veterinarian. 

  • 16 May 2014 9:22 AM | Deleted user
    Our ABA Health & Research Committee has brought together a collection of significant studies.  In this posting you will find links to: information on the studies and the study packet.  While the packet is directed to those attending the National, the studies are for anyone. You are encouraged to download the packet and submit to the studies from your location. NEED NOT ATTEND TO PARTICIPATE. 

    The studies include: 
    • DNA Blood Draw for Health – Donate your dogs DNA to the CHIC Repository and help fight cancer with a vial of your dog's blood on the molecular level
      • Cancer research has identified Hemangiosarcoma and Lymphoma indicating genes; and a test for these indicating genes is ex-pected in 2016. We will use our DNA in the CHIC repository to ensure the indicating test is accurate for our breed. The other 50% of Hemangiosarcoma and Lymphoma cases are believed to be environmental which is being researched as part of a large $25 million 7 year study via the Morris Foundation.
    • Cardiology - Echocardiogram
      • Last year 31% of the Membership identified Cardiac as the #1 most severe health issue impacting our breed. Only listening to the heart does not always identify issues with increased velocity. In response, a Cardiac clinic offering OFA Echocardiograms with color doppler for $175 each will be conducted by the top Cardiologist in dogs today, Dr. Joshua Stern DVM, PhD, DACVIM - Cardiology at UC Davis.
      • The video below Dr. Stern describing his research on Newfoundlands.

    • Bullmastiff Specific Confidential Cardiology Repository and Study
      • Discover the genes associated with Sub-Aortic-Stenosis (SAS) and Pulmonic-Stenosis (PS). If you wish, you may also par-ticipate in a confidential bullmastiff cardiology repository. SAS and PS are inherited and there are certain genes that have been identified that cause SAS and PS. Two normal parents can produce affected offspring. Severe SAS can cause immediate death and treatment of mild SAS often re-quires expensive beta blockers. Heart issues differ between breeds and must be studied, chromo-somes mapped and genes identified on a breed by breed basis.  To read more about SAS..
  • 21 Apr 2014 5:24 PM | Deleted user
    An Overview
    Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in the cells that line blood vessels. Tumors usually develop in the spleen, heart, or liver, although they can also been found in the skin, bone, kidney, brain, and other locations. Hemangiosarcoma is almost always malignant, and tends to develop slowly, but spread rapidly, so that clinical signs are often not noticeable until the tumors have metastasized and/or ruptured, causing acute shock and collapse.

    Causes of Hemangiosarcoma
    Dermal hemangiosarcoma (tumors of the skin) are often caused by sun exposure. The other forms of hemangiosarcoma do not have a known cause, although there seems to be a genetic link in many breeds.

    Preventing Hemangiosarcoma
    Hemangiosarcoma is more common in dogs than in other species. Studies have already shown that there are certain breeds that are at higher risk for developing hemangiosarcoma. However, it can affect any dog, purebred or mixed breed alike. Hemangiosarcoma is currently a fatal disease.

    Symptoms of Hemangiosarcoma
    Clinical signs of hemangiosarcoma include loss of appetite, arrhythmias, weight loss, weakness, lethargy, collapse, pale mucous membranes, and/or sudden death. The most severe signs are caused from acute blood loss. These can vary from an enlarged abdomen due to hemorrhage to bleeding into the lungs or the pleural space (outside the lungs) that compromises breathing, to bleeding into the heart sac that prevents the heart from beating normally. Metastasis is most commonly to the liver, stomach lining, lungs, or brain.

    Diagnosing Hemangiosarcoma
    There is presently no readily available, effective test for early diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma. Careful analysis of blood samples by experienced pathologists may hint at the presence of chronic hemorrhage and blood vessel abnormalities that are suggestive of hemangiosarcoma. However, this method is neither sensitive nor specific to confirm the diagnosis. Non-invasive imaging methods are useful aids to diagnose the disease. In particular, ultrasound is moderately specific, but it is not sensitive, and the tumor must be large enough to be grossly visible. In addition, biopsies are required for confirmation of imaging results. Repeated biopsies of tissues where the tumors may arise (without other evidence for the presence of a tumor) are of little use to provide early diagnosis, and considering the fact that there is some risk to these procedures, such an approach is practically and ethically unacceptable.
    Treating Hemangiosarcoma
    The first line of treatment, whenever possible, is removal of the tumor with the affected organ, such as with a splenectomy. The standard of care includes chemotherapy as a follow-up to surgery. Unfortunately, visceral hemangiosarcoma (the type that occurs in organs other than the skin) is most often fatal even with treatment, usually within weeks to months. However, approximately 10% to 15% of dogs have excellent response to treatment with durable remission and extended survival. We do not know why some tumors respond so well while most fail. Hemangiosarcomas of the skin may be successfully treated if the tumor hasn't metastasized to other internal organs.
    Care for Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma
    If tumors are found early, life can be prolonged. Additionally, treatment for the bleeding disorders and aggressive supportive care also prolong the life of patients with hemangiosarcoma.

    The AKC Canine Health Foundation and Hemangiosarcoma
    Fifteen grants to study hemangiosarcoma have been funded by CHF to the tune of $1.3 million. These studies are looking for genetic predisposition, advanced methods of diagnosis, and treatment.
  • 21 Apr 2014 5:11 PM | Deleted user

    Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) DNA Repository   

    The CHIC DNA Repository, co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding genealogic and phenotypic information to facilitate future research and testing aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs.  DNA samples from any purebred dog may be submitted at anytime.  Researchers may then access these samples to be included in their canine health studies.  Learn more at the CHIC website

    Bullmastiff DNA is extremely limited in the repository- a simple blood draw from your bullmastiff can make a world of difference for our breed.

  • 13 Apr 2014 10:11 PM | Deleted user

    You've probably had a friend, a close relative or you may even have been told you had hypertension. However, you might not realize that dogs can also be diagnosed with hypertension.

    Hypertension, often called high blood pressure, is the elevation of blood pressure above a number that's expected for the species. According to a consensus statement by veterinary specialists, dogs with systolic blood pressures exceeding 150 mmHg may experience negative effects of their high blood pressure and require medication or further reevaluation.

    It is best if several blood pressure measurements are taken, then the highest and lowest numbers are subtracted away, and the average calculated from the remaining values.

    You can't ask a dog how he feels, so instead of symptoms of an illness, a veterinarian would look for any signs the dog might be displaying.

    Carrie Goldkamp, VMD, DACVIM at Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware in New Castle, Delaware says some of the more overt signs of hypertension involve the eyes, heart, central nervous systemic, and kidneys.

    "Ophthalmologic changes include intraocular bleeding and retinal detachment, and cardiac signs can include heart murmur and congestive heart failure often with coughing, increased respiratory rate and effort."

    As Dr. Goldkamp pointed out, "Neurological signs can result from a stroke. Those signs differ based on the part of the brain affected, but can include acute onset changes in gait and balance, blindness, and altered mental activity.

    And, if that weren't enough to worry dog owners, Dr. Goldkamp says, "Renal signs include protein in the urine and progressive signs of renal failure that include increased drinking and urination, poor appetite, vomiting, and lethargy."

    Unfortunately, early signs of hypertension can be asymptomatic, which means a dog may not show any signs of being sick. And, early clinical signs may be interpreted as normal changes due to the aging process that can include slowing down and not eating as well.

    There are two types of hypertension, primary and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension refers to hypertension without a known underlying cause, whereas secondary hypertension refers to hypertension secondary to an underlying disease.

    "Primary hypertension is common in humans, but rare in our dogs," says Saundra E. Willis, DVM, Small Animal Internist at Phoenix Central Lab in Mukilteo, Washington. "Dogs predominantly suffer from secondary hypertension, thus we need to look for underlying disease and treat that whenever a dog is diagnosed with hypertension."

    Here are some of the underlying diseases that can commonly cause hypertension in your dog:

    • Chronic Renal disease
    • Glomerular disease (a protein losing kidney disease)
    • Endocrine disease
    • Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism)
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Acromegaly (growth hormone overproduction)
    • Adrenal tumor (pheochromocytoma)
    • Polycythemia (abnormal increase in the amount of red blood cells in the circulatory system)
    • Obesity

    Certain breeds appear to be more susceptible to hypertension than others. Dachschunds, poodles, and certain terrier breeds have an increased risk of Cushing's disease. Australian terriers, Schnauzers, Bichons Frises and Spitz dogs have an increased risk of diabetes mellitus.

    Be aware that sight hounds, and especially deerhounds, normally have a higher blood pressure than other breeds says Dr. Willis.

    Sight hounds are hounds that primarily hunt by speed and sight, instead of by scent and endurance as scent hounds do. Blood pressure can also be higher in overweight dogs.

    You've been noticing that your dog is a little listless lately and had been looking thinner. You're concerned so you make an appointment with your veterinarian.

    "I will often check blood pressure three different times to confirm hypertension and to rule out stress as a cause of elevated blood pressure," says Dr. Goldkamp. "I also prefer to check blood pressure when a dog first arrives and then with Mom or Dad in the room to minimize stress." 

    Dr Goldkamp says, "Hypertension is diagnosed by persistent systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 160 mmHg as measured by oscillometric or Doppler ultrasonographic methods."

    Hypertension is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure using a similar technique used on humans.

    "An inflatable cuff is fit around the dog's foreleg, or tail, and the cuff is inflated to occlude blood flow through an artery, " says Dr. Willis.  "The stethoscope is not sensitive enough and so we use an ultrasonic probe to detect blood flow. This ultrasonic probe is taped or held over the artery and the sound of the systolic pressure is converted into an audible signal."

    According to Dr. Goldkamp, the incidence of canine hypertension is right around the 10 percent mark, in healthy dogs, therefore, routine screening is not recommended. However, any dog that has a condition associated with hypertension should have a blood pressure measurement performed. 

    Interestingly, Dr. Willis notes in dogs with renal failure, one study showed that 93 percent had hypertension.

    When feeding your dog, read the dog food label. Sodium and potassium have a role in blood pressure control in humans and likely in animals.  However, how much salt restriction is still being investigated.

    Nutrition does not directly cause any of the conditions that result in hypertension, however, higher fat diets can lead to obesity, which can then cause hypertension.

    There are several types of medications that are used in dogs to control blood pressure.  The type used varies with doctor preference, degree of hypertension, underlying cause of hypertension, and concurrent diseases.

    Some examples of medication include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as enalapril or benazepril, calcium channel blockers like  amlodipine, and adrenergic blockers that include phenoxybenzamine or prazocin. 

    Addressing underlying diseases associated with hypertension can prevent hypertension. However, it is uncertain if blood pressure control improves survival in pets as it does in humans, although successful treatment of hypertension prevents or minimizes target organ damage.

    Dr. Goldkamp tells the story of a patient named Guiness, a geriatric hound mix that originally saw the doctor in 2009 for evaluation of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.  "She was blind from her diabetes and losing weight. We diagnosed her with concurrent hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) and hypertension.   By addressing both the Cushing’s disease with medical treatment and the hypertension with enalapril, she is still alive today and doing well!"

  • 30 Mar 2014 7:56 PM | Deleted user
    Genetic Test Available: BULLMASTIFF
    Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (Form: Dominant)
    Breed(s): Bullmastiff, English Mastiff, Mastiff Disease: Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    Laboratory: Genetic Technologies (Australia),
    Optigen LLC

    Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):

    An Overview Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a condition of the retina in the eye. PRA encompasses many diseases which all progress over time and eventually lead to blindness. The retina works in the eye much as the film in a camera works. It changes the light it receives into images which are then sent down the optic nerve to be interpreted by the brain. When a dog has PRA the retina either stops developing prematurely or the light receptors degenerate early in life. With this condition both eyes are equally affected. The different forms of PRA vary in the age at which they first develop and in the rate at which they progress. Cases can be early onset with rapid progression to late onset with slow progression or any combination of the sorts. Every case is different and definite age of onset or how quickly progression will occur can never be known for sure. Since PRA has been identified, numerous dog breeds have been found to have the disease. Some breeds that PRA is commonly found in are Irish Setters, Rough Collies, Miniature and Toy Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, English Cocker Spaniels, American Cocker Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Australian Cattle Dogs, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and Samoyeds.

    Causes of Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    PRA is an inherited disorder. This means it is passed down from parents to offspring. In many breeds there is now a test which can be done that allows breeders and owners to know if a dog is clear of the disease, a carrier of the disease, or affected by the disease.

    Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    PRA over time will lead to blindness. The first sign of this disease is typically night blindness. Owners may observe their dog being hesitant to walk down dark hallways or staircases, or be less likely to go outside at night. As PRA progresses daytime vision will also be lost. In addition to these symptoms pupil dilation, or enlargement, is seen due to the eye attempting to let in more light along with an increase in the amount of light reflected back off the eye. In some cases cataracts may appear but are not the cause of the blindness. There is no pain associated with PRA and dogs seem to adjust very well to their blindness. In some cases owners may not even realize the dog is having problems seeing until they are taken out of their home environment.

    Diagnosing Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    PRA is diagnosed by an eye examination by a veterinarian. There are certain changes which can be seen in the eye characteristic of PRA. In addition to an eye exam an electroretinography may be done to obtain a diagnosis. An electroretinography measures the electrical responses in the retina to determine if it is functioning properly.

    Treating Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    There is currently no treatment for PRA. To help breeders prevent PRA there are genetic tests available which can identify dogs which are affected, carries, or clear of the disease. This is extremely helpful due to the face that in many cases PRA does not appear until the dog is older (5-7 years). By this time the dog has already been bred. With the genetic tests breeders can know right away if a dog should be used in their breeding program or not. The PRA genetic tests are available for certain dog breeds though OptiGen. For more information about PRA contact your local veterinarian.

    Care for Dogs with Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    Blindness is the eventual result of PRA. Because the blindness does not occur quickly dogs have time to adjust to not being able to see well. Dogs that are blind can still live normal happy lives. There are certain things you as an owner can do to help your pet adjust. One of these is keeping your furniture in the same place. Your dog will become accustomed to the layout of your house. If you move furniture it may cause them to run into chairs or tables because they are not used to them being in that place. Another thing you can do is to keep floors and walkways clear of clutter. This will prevent your dog from tripping over objects. When introducing your dog to a new area always leash walk them around first so they can get a feel for the area and learn the boundaries. All of these will help your dog adjust to their vision loss.

    The AKC Canine Health Foundation and Progressive Retinal Atrophy

    The AKC Canine Health Foundation has funded 8 research projects focused on PRA. The grants, totally over $650,000, have been researching the genetic marker which is associated with the disease. This research has led to genetic tests being made available to breeders. With your continued support research can continue for breeds which do not currently have a genetic test for PRA.

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