I'm sure you've heard me wax on about the potential issues of adopting pure bred dogs. But as a reminder, the challenge with these pups is that in order to retain the purity of their breed, they are inbred, plain and simple. And with each passing inbreeding, genetic problems are passed on, dog by dog, keeping the breed pure—and the genetic illnesses equally so.
German Shepherds are no exception to this problem. Their particular genetic issue has to do with a predisposition towards degenerative spinal cord disease. Basically, in many cases, their hind legs stop working. I'm sure you've seen many dogs in those little rolly carts—that's what these pooches are often reduced to.
Well, last week, one such pup came into the PPAC, an 11 year old male, who had been non- functional on his hindquarters for about a year. When Dr. S. asked what the problem was, the owner explained that the dog's tail (which is attached to the spinal cord), had basically gone numb and that the pooch had developed a taste for his own tail. He chewed and he chewed, so much so that the dog had nibbled off a piece of his own tail and the stump was now infected!
Dr. S. said that the only way to ensure the dog didn't continue this self-mutilation, was to remove the offending tail. And so he did, leaving the pooch with a two inch stub out of reach of the dog's chomping incisors.
As another gentle reminder, there are tons of incredible mutts out there with no homes. So if you're thinking about bringing home a pooch, consider the 'Adopt Don't Shop', approach. All of Dr. S. and Dr. S. the younger's pooches are mutts and they couldn't love them more, not to mention the lack of genetic health issues on the table!
Til' next time,