The Importance of the Health Survey
from the 2000 SSDCA Newsletter)
Dear Shiloh Shepherd™
Owners and Breeders,
Some of us who are online are aware that George A. Padgett, DVM,
has agreed to work with the Shiloh Shepherds™ in the upcoming breed
For those who may not be familiar with Dr. Padgett, the synopsis
below gives an indication of his qualifications.
(Information taken from the Control of Canine Genetic Diseases).
Dr. Padgett has been on the faculty in the Veterinary Pathology
department of Michigan State University since 1977.
Before that, he was on the faculty at Washington State University
for 12 years. Dr. Padgett is a well-published author with over 200 papers
to his credit. He has been
the principle investigator or co-investigator on $15 million worth of
research, training and construction grants funded by many well-known
national organizations. Dr.
Padgett has presented seminars for 93 national breed clubs and has
spoken at over 100 regional all breed dog clubs on canine genetic
He has written papers that have identified the way 32 canine
genetics diseases are inherited.
Dr. Padgett received the Eukanuba Canine Health Award in 1977 for the
best article on canine health as determined by the Dog Writers
Association of America. That a man of such recognized expertise and experience as Dr.
Padgett has agreed to compile and evaluate the information from the
Shiloh Shepherd™ breed survey is an indication of the benefits that will
Some of us will not
understand the purpose of the survey or how much invaluable information
will be given to the breed by answering ALL of the questions. By talking
with each other we may hear that So and So’s Shiloh may have this
problem or that someone else’s Shiloh was thought to have died from that
problem. As long as it is
not my Shiloh and I am not a breeder, why should I care and take the
time to fill out and return the survey?
Very simply because we have a love affair with THIS breed.
These magnificent dogs with their intelligence, love and loyalty
have captured our hearts.
Our best buddies prove to us each day that no other breed will do. Initially, we may have chosen the Shiloh Shepherd™, but
subsequently, this breed will not turn us loose. As owners of pet quality Shilohs we may recommend this breed
to our friends because of the great gift these dogs have given to us.
As breeders we strive to continue to improve and advance this breed
so that others may participate in conformation, obedience, agility,
herding, Schutzhund and SAR activities, as well as experience the
enjoyment of owning these sound, loving companions.
We want the best for our Shilohs; we want them to be the best that
they can be both individually and as a breed overall.
By completing and returning the survey, we can help in the
continuation of developing the Shilohs as a breed known for sound
A breed survey is an information-gathering tool.
In Chapter 10 of Control of Canine Genetic Diseases Dr. Padgett
states, “They need to determine what is happening in their own breeds. For the most part they have not done that and it is an
essential step if they want to change the current situation.” In writing about the results of the information gathered from
a breed survey Dr. Padgett further states, “From this data, we could
calculate the frequency of the various genetic diseases in each breed
based on the Hardy-Weinberg law, and from this, we could derive the
average genetic burden for each dog in the breed.”
The breed survey for Shiloh Shepherds™ will identify exactly what
genetic diseases/defects have occurred, how many times it has or is
occurring, what lines are affected or clear and help to give an
indication for future direction.
To preserve and advance the Shiloh Shepherds™ we need to know what or
where the problems exist. Information is necessary to understand where
problems are coming from. Then it needs to be determined how often in
the past the breed has experienced this problem and finally, does it
still continue to plague our dogs.
We need to build and improve this, our chosen breed, with facts and hard
data so that future generations can enjoy this unique, special breed.
However, suppose that your Shiloh does not have a genetic
defect/disease? Should you
fill out and return the survey? ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
It is terrific that your Shiloh is clear of the entire over 500 genetic
disease/defects that affect purebred dogs.
THAT information on a clear dog maybe be JUST the key that is
needed to say, “Ah ha! NOW
we’ve got the answer we have needed.”
The breed survey, in order to provide accurate results needs data
from ALL Shiloh Shepherds™; those that are clear, the dogs affected,
show or breeding quality or pets.
There are more owners of individual Shilohs than there are breeders so
WE can play a crucial role in this breed survey.
The numbers of clear or affected Shilohs for any given
defect/disease will indicate for this breed how prevalent a particular
problem is. We will have
data that will provide a way to prioritise problems so that they will be
eliminated, if possible.
As breeders the information we provide on the litters we whelp can
be found no where else.
Only we who were there at birth can watched our babies during those
early weeks and provide that crucial information.
We decided to become breeders because we wanted to be able to share
the Shilohs with others. We
aim to satisfy our customers.
Yet we do know that sometimes the unexpected appears in even the most
carefully planned litters. By honestly reporting the diseases/defects that we know have
appeared in various Shilohs from our breeding stock, future litters will
benefit. The information
gathered will help to determine how these diseases/defects are inherited
for this breed. The
complied data will give an indication of the overall progress that has
been made; it will also point to areas that need concentration to
A careful reading of Dr. Padgett’s book, Control of Canine Diseases
will show that he favors a balanced approach toward the goal of breeding
sound, healthy dogs. He
does not advocate throwing the baby out with the bath water. Rather,
rank the traits both desirable and defective.
KNOW that ALL breeds of dogs have genetic defects and diseases and
avoid kennel blindness. We
know our dogs’ good points and will proudly tell of our wins, but as
responsible breeders we also need to avoid saying, “THAT doesn’t happen
to MY dogs.” If it has not
yet, it may in the future. The point is not to give up or cover up, but answer the
questions asked with honesty and to the best of your knowledge. If all
of us strive for this goal, the breed as a whole will continue to
improve and grow. We will
ALL benefit from the reputation of a sound, healthy breed.
How is the information gathered from the breed survey going be
used? First, IT IS NOT
going to be accumulated to point fingers at certain kennels or breeders.
If my Shiloh’s name is Rover, and I complete the survey by stating
that Rover is diagnosed with EPI and has missing dentition, the results
will NOT name Rover. What
will be publicly available will be a listing of the defects/diseases
reported and the frequency and incident rates.
Numbers, not names. Each Sire and Dam actively used since the
inception of our Registry will be assigned a number. All
diseases/defects reported by their progeny will be listed only by the
appropriate code. We can then check our database to determine the total
number of puppies sired/whelped by this particular (number) in order to
properly evaluate the percentage of occurrence. If signs point toward
the possibility of a serious problem brewing, we can then
cross-reference against the Sire/Dam combinations that indicate that a
deeper genetic investigation may be in order.
The results from this survey will certainly help breeders now and
in the future to produce litters with the lowest possible amount of risk
for the many genetic diseases/defects that have been plaguing the world
of pure breed dogs for such a long time.
If you are not sure if your Shiloh had/has a genetic
defect/disease, please ask your breeder and vet.
There is also a section of the breed survey for a longer
explanation. Please use it
if none of the questions seem to fit your circumstance.
Some of the questions may seem not to apply to this breed.
They are purposefully present so that erroneous assumptions are not
made. If a listed disease
does not apply to your dog, be thankful that you don’t have to “check”
that particular one! Dr. Padgett has asked us to include all diseases
known to the German Shepherd Dog, whether they appear to apply to the
Shiloh or not. It will be
great if the list of defects/diseases that are NOT being seen in Shilohs
is much longer than the list of those that HAVE appeared.
Only WE, united, can provide the information to do that. If you have ANY questions on how to complete the breed survey
- PLEASE, PLEASE - ASK. The
following people may be contacted regarding any questions about how to
complete the survey:
Karen Ursel EDT 716-346-6741 (between 7 – 9 PM EDT only, please)
716-658-3240 (between 7 – 9 PM EDT)
Please be considerate of
the time zone and available hours (if so stated) when calling.
For questions about your particular Shiloh, please contact your
breeder and vet. The breed
survey is not something that only one or two people can do - WE ALL are
needed. We ALL can help by
taking the time to honestly complete and return the Shiloh Shepherd™
breed survey. Thank-you for
your co-operation and I am sure that all owners of Shilohs will be
anxious to hear the news of the survey.
The SSDCA Genetic Task Force
Anyone wishing to discuss this survey with other owners & breeders is
welcome to join our
Very preliminary data is being tabulated. Some of the
results are now available.