Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brussels Griffon The Disease Diagnosable and Health Breeders

Brussels Griffon
There is a “newly” diagnosable hereditary problem in the Brussels Griffon breed that maybe of growing concern and should merit monitoring by breeders of Brussels Griffons. Though symptoms may be easily unnoticeable in some dogs other dogs are quite affected and vary in the way the “outward” symptoms show. The disease is Syringomyelia (SM). Syringomyelia is a condition whereby fluid filled cavities develop within the spinal cord. Some refer to SM as “neck scratcher’s disease” because scratching in the air near the neck is a common symptom. In fact, this symptom is the most common “tell-tail” and seen when in a new environment. For example, neck scratching tendencies may become more pronounced at a dog show or when a dog is in a stressful situation.

 Often dogs that are affected are mistakenly tested for allergies or an injury to the neck area. It is often difficult to initially recognize SM symptoms as they vary from dog to dog in the way the symptoms manifest themselves. Predominant SM symptoms are: neck scratching, random screams due to pain, increases aggressive behavior mainly toward other dogs, seizures to name few signs but other will be described later.

There are 2 major research Institutes specializing in SM and collecting “Phenotype” or pedigree information to track the genetic path that this issue is taking in each breed that they learn is affected. In England, Dr. Clare Rusbridge of the Stone Lion Veterinary Centre has spearheaded the efforts world-wide to collect information from dog owners that are willing to share the confidential medical data of their dog that has been diagnosed with SM. Test information in North American is being channelled to specialist, Dr. Guy A. Rouleau who is based in Canada with the Center for the Study of Brain Diseases.

There is considerable information about the disease that currently permeates 80% of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. Needless to say breeders of Cavaliers are dealing with this on a global level and therefore their websites tend to be very informative. The discovery of this type of health risk makes it important to unite and to share with each other the symptoms, signs and conditions that each of us as breeders have seen, experienced or have heard about but were unexplainable at the time or went undiagnosed. One may see shoulder scratching, neck pain, curving of the spine (scoliosis), soreness of a front or rear leg, limping or weakness of a limb.

The other interesting issue is that often the ailments or signs are not noticeable until the dog is three or four. Of course some dogs show signs at earlier ages but more commonly the symptoms are not evident until the dog is around three years of age or older.  Interestingly enough, in the last Brussels Griffon Health Report there were no incidents or conditions of SM indicated any breeders as unidentifiable by their veterinarians. This most like due to the fact that SM is only just now becoming a recognizable and a diagnosable condition (diagnosable only with an MRI) by veterinarians.

Being silent and passive at this point could lead to awful ramifications for our breed world-wide. Therefore, with this discovery it would be irresponsible to let this problem continue undisclosed to Brussels Griffon breeders and if diagnosed undocumented as our breed shares a relatively small gene pool, so if we are discovering SM in our breed world wide this disease most certainly is a concern to be aware of and dealt with. This genetically inherited problem, in the Brussels Griffon breed, may have many genetic carriers and affect dogs that are currently undiagnosed and being breed. This will stay that way unless we instigate some discussion and awareness about the vagaries of the symptoms.

Brussels Griffon Dog
Currently it is an ethical and moral responsibility of the Ameriacan Brussels Griffon Health Committee to increase awareness in order to help our breed and breeders. With this in mind, the Ameriacan Brussels Griffon Health Committee is presenting this concerning new health issue to its membership to encourage awareness levels about SM, share information sources and disclose the harming potential SM has to affect our breed should this go undisclosed.

Two purebred Brussels Griffon have recently been diagnosed with this genetic “disease” and several top breeders are aware of seeing symptomatic dogs over the course of time. If the breeders of Brussels Griffon take this seriously it may be possible to save our breed from the issue that is currently occurring with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels breed. The fundraising and research spearheaded by the Cavalier Health Foundation has been very aggressive to help develop testing/screening/diagnostic techniques.

Brussels Griffon Breeders
The Brussels Griffon Breeders developed in the township of Brussels, Belgium, where it first earned its keep as a ratter in the stables. It then took a place beside the coachman for the hansom cabs (a horse drawn coach) from those stables. Its new duties included being the watch dog or guardian for the coach and its inhabitants.
For this Brussels Griffon breed I recommend foods of horse meat and beef with grains of wheat and yellow corn. The dietary fatty acids should be from grain sources similar to flax, and I recommend the commercial forms of linseed or wheat germ oil since a Brussels Griffon can use these better than fatty acids found in animal fat or soy. Foods I suggest you avoid feeding a Brussels Griffon are soy, poultry, lamb, avocado, and white rice. Native food supplies for this breed would have included the stable's
rodent population as well as the grains eaten by those rodents. Here, I would like to note an important nutritional requirement for the Brussels Griffon.

They have a requirement for the same dietary amount of the alpha-Linolenate family of fatty acids as many larger dogs from other environments. This per pound of body weight nutritional difference I attribute to their native environment's high production of the grain flax (a grain known to contain very high percentages of the alpha-Linolenate fatty acids).

Tags: Brussels Griffon Dogs, Brussels Griffon Breeders and Breed, Brussels Griffons Puppies


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