SCWTCA breeders work hard to produce great Wheatens, most of whom will live their lives as companions with someone else. While there are no guarantees, they try to produce dogs with the best chance of being healthy throughout their lifetime.
SCWTCA members who breed are bound by the club’s Code of Ethics. Section 2 lays out their responsibilities concerning health testing, which include actions to manage diseases with a genetic component. These tests are performed on the parents of litters, not the puppies (except when DNA status for genes associated with PLN is uncertain).
SCWTCA encourages potential Wheaten owners to learn more and discuss these requirements with all Wheaten breeders.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Dogs and bitches who will be bred must be screened before their first breeding for evidence of canine hip dysplasia. While not common in Wheatens, screening can help us make sure this debilitating disease does not become common. Breeders may talk about this as part of “soundness” of their dogs. Why does that matter to an owner?
“Sound structure impacts all dogs, whatever their role in life. Soundness means your dog can take those jogs or long walks with you free of discomfort. It means she can jump on the couch to snuggle with you, and jump off again to follow you into the kitchen without pain. They can play with you longer, climb over boulders and tree stumps with ease, and not have to ignore their own pain to do the things you want to do with them. Soundness matters.” Susi Szeremy, founder, National Purebred Dog Day.
Screening is done by xray and those xrays are evaluated by specialists other than the breeder’s own veterinarian. The two evaluation methods in the US are the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and AISPennHip. To learn more about Canine Hip Dysplasia, OFA and PennHIP, click on the links below.
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While eye conditions are not common in Wheatens, there are dogs who have had eye disorders which can be congenital. Breeders want to insure they do not become more common. The Code of Ethics requires breeders to have Wheatens used for breeding to be evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmologist before they are bred for the first time and every 2 years until age 10. These results are also part of the Wheaten’s record on the OFA website.
PLE, PLN, RD, Addison’s Disease
You will find more information on these diseases under Health Concerns. Breeders must do annual testing as required by the protocols on all breeding Wheatens. Additionally, with only 3 exceptions, they must perform the DNA test for variant genes associated with PLN.