Top Notch Toys September 2018


Christine Dresser, DVM

H ow are Pugs doing health-wise? The answer depends a lot on who you ask. The parent club, breed- ers, exhibitors and Pug lovers in the USA have made slow, but steady progress in our desire to improve the health and longevity of our breed. Our first research efforts, with Dr. Kimberly Greer at the helm, resulted in a DNA test to determine if a dog carried one, two or no alleles for Pug Dog Encephalitis. We continue to en- courage research on this deadly dis- ease and would like to find a test with even greater precision in determining a dog’s susceptibility and also find more successful treatment protocols. A preliminary project by Dr. Am- ber Labelle greatly increased what is known about a problem affecting the eyes of our Pugs called Pigmentary Keratopathy. We are hoping for fu- ture research to help determine treat- ments and to discover the heritability of this issue which causes pigment to form on the corneas, resulting in re- duced vision of varying degrees. Our breed has a form of rear limb weakness, and often incontinence, which is similar in some respects to Degenerative Myelopathy. Dr. Kath- leen Smiler and Dr. Jon Patterson, along with the teamatMichigan State University, have been hard at work for several years on Pug Myelopathy, its multiple causes and presenta- tions, with plans to try to determine which causes are the most important

“We are hoping for future research to help determine treatments and to discover the heritability of this issue WHICH CAUSES PIGMENT TO FORM ON THE CORNEAS, RESULTING IN REDUCED VISION OF VARYING DEGREES.”

and what the role of genetics is in the disease. It was eight years ago that the Pug Dog Club of America became a part of the Canine Health Information Center and set up recommended health testing that should be done on all potential breeding and show stock. Our four core (required) tests reflect the major health issues that we can test for and that we know our breed has. They are Pug Dog Encephalitis, an eye exam, hip dysplasia and pa- tellar luxation. We have three other recommended, but not required, tests which are elbow dysplasia, Pyruvate

Kinase Deficiency and serum bile ac- ids. To date, 223 dogs have completed the required tests and made them publicly available which has qualified them for a CHIC number. That works out to about 28 dogs per year. Consid- ering the popularity of the breed, and an unknown but perceived large num- ber of litters produced every year, one would wish to see more interest in participation in this program. That said, there are many dedicated Pug people who see the value of test- ing and also support health research through participation in our fund- raising activities and with donations

64 • T op N otch T oys , S eptember 2018

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