Podengon is generally a healthy breed that often lives for a long time. These are robust and well-built dogs, bred to be able to walk in rough terrain for an entire day. However, there are cases of patella (knee joint), leg perth (hip deformity), CECS (a type of seizure) and PRA (retinal disease). With the help of breeders with good knowledge, and facts from the Swedish Kennel Club, we have put together a brief information on each disease below.
Patellar luxation means that the kneecap can slip out of its position. There are two forms, the most common being that the kneecap falls on the inside of the knee joint (medially). In the second form, the kneecap ends on the outside of the knee joint (laterally). In cases where the luxation is permanent, the kneecap has slipped out and locked in its position.
Patellar luxation is detected through a special examination (palpation) and is graded between 0-3 where 0 means free / normal and thereafter that the dog has patellar luxation to an increased extent up to 3 which means permanent luxation.
Patellar luxation is hereditary and SKK, the Swedish Kennel Club’s, general recommendation is that only dogs with normal knee joints should breed, and that a dog with clinical symptoms of patellar luxation is never suitable in breeding regardless of examination. SKK also says that breed-specific considerations must always be made regarding hereditary diseases and these are reported by the respective breed club in the breed-specific breeding strategies (RAS). In the Swedish Podengo Portuguese Club’s breeding strategy can be read the following:
All breeding animals of the small variant should be officially examined for patella status after 12 months of age and have the result registered in SKK Dog Data. Breeding animals with patella grade 1 should always be mated with a dog with patella grade 0. Dogs with patella grade 2 and 3 should not be used in breeding.
It would be desirable if more podengo owners wanted to choose to have their dogs examined for Patella, even if they are not intended for breeding. It could both save possible suffering and at the same time help our breeders through a more reliable evaluation of how it goes from the breeding animals to the puppies.
On SKK Hunddata, under the tab Vet, there is a registration if the dog has had its patella examined and what grade it received.
A few cases of Legg Perthes have been discovered on the small variant of podengon. Legg Perthes means that the blood supply to the ball part of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted and the bone begins to die. The disease debuts before the age of 1 and the symptoms are that the dog is limping on one or both hind legs. The dog gets pain but the final diagnosis can only be made after an x-ray of the hips. In the breeding club’s breeding strategy you can read the following:
Aim: To map the presence of Legg Perthes in the small variant and to limit breeding for dogs that have a predisposition for Legg Perthes, to avoid spreading it in the breed. Strategies: Invite owners and breeders to affected dogs to report to the breeding council in the breed club which dog is affected. Affected dogs should not breed. Parents of affected dogs should not breed.
The disease PGSD – Paroxysmal Gluten Sensitive Dyskinesia has in previous articles and text been called CECS – Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome, also called Spike’s disease after an affected dog in Holland. Nowadays, however, among others Mark Lowrie, a specialist in veterinary neurology, believes that CECS is incorrect because the word Epileptoid suggests an epileptic disorder, which it is not about, but has now instead been able to link it to PGSD, i.e. gluten sensitivity. Henceforth, we call the disease PGDS when we describe it.
In PGSD, the dog has a type of seizure that can last from a few minutes to a quarter of an hour or so. The seizures should not be mixed with epilepsy, in PGSD the dog is conscious all the time.
In the past, despite many ideas and studies, there was still no established cause for the convulsions, nor any generally recognized lab diagnosis or special test that can be taken to see if the dog is sick. Nowadays, however, it has been possible to link PGSD to gluten sensitivity, i.e. diet-related stomach and intestinal problems which are considered to be a form of gluten intolerance. One can therefore alleviate or even perhaps cure the symptoms by changing the diet where grains and gluten are excluded.
Please note that it is important not to exclude grains and gluten in the diet of the males and bitches intended for breeding, you may then completely miss discovering the disease which is hereditary. When it comes to breeding, Åsa Sandberg, vice president of the Border Terrier Society, where the disease has been known for a long time, says the following: ”Not to breed on a dog that may have the disease, because it is hereditary, both the Border Terrier Club’s and SKK’s veterinary medical advisors agree on .”
Podengo Friends Magazine no 2, 2019 and no 3, 2019 contains a very good article with a detailed description of PGSD, written by breeder Åke Esperi. There are also stories from some owners with affected dogs.
PRA – eye disease
PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) – is the collective name for a number of diseases affecting the retina of the dog. For podengo, two variants have been found, through DNA testers, prcdPRA and Cord 1-Pra / CRD 4 PRA.
prcdPRA often develops at the age of 5-6 and often leads to total blindness.
Cord 1-Pra / CRD 4 PRA, which is the more unusual variant of the breed, does not automatically lead to blindness.
The disease PRA has simple recessive inheritance which means that the dogs have to get one offspring from the mother and one from the father to develop the disease. prcdPRA will eventually almost always lead to total blindness, where the disease course often starts with dogs becoming night-blind, that they hardly can not see in the evening when it is dark.
Since you can now do DNA testing for both variants, you can prevent the development so that no podengopuppies is born with the disease. It is therefore important to DNA test the males and bitches that you intend to use in breeding, at least one of the parents, if it gets the result Normal / Free. Alternative to use breeding animals whose both parents are DNA-tested free. Dogs that have got the result Carrier on the DNA test is a healthy dog that gives healthy puppies if they are mated with a free tested dog, it is important to remember.
Information about DNA tests at the bottom of this page.
Inbreeding – also called line breeding
Why is the inbreeding percentage an important part of breeding? On SKK’s website you can read a lot about inbreeding, including the following:
Risks with inbreeding
Mating between related individuals not only increases the risk of recessive defective predispositions doubling. Several studies show that inbreeding also has a negative impact on traits associated with reproduction and survival, so-called fitness traits. The term used to describe this effect is inbreeding depression. This can be expressed, among other things, in reduced fertility in the parent animals or impaired growth and vitality in the puppie.
In many dog populations, hereditary diseases have spread. What is of concern is above all the defects that are inherited via recessive genes. The DNA tests, which are currently offered for a number of easily recessively inherited diseases in dogs, are intended to reveal carriers of the defective system, or dogs that will become ill later in life as a result of double defective systems.
The recipe for maintaining a low inbreeding rate within a breed is to avoid overuse of individual animals and instead try to get as many individuals into the breeding as possible.
This is what some breeders say about our breed:
The guideline in Swedish Kennel Club’s breeding policy that the mating does not have a higher inbreeding rate than 6.25% is an average. The inbreeding percentage should be lower the fewer individuals a breed has. Hence, the mid and grande should have a lower recommended inbreeding percentage than the pequeno, which is of course difficult on these numerically very small breeds.
Via SKK Avelsdata, you can enter the names of the intended parent animals and in this way obtain the inbreeding percentage for the planned litter.
OIf the breeder DNA tests the bitches / males that are intended to be used in breeding, several serious diseases, or predispositions, can be prevented from being passed on to the puppies. DNA tests are easy to order from, for example, the labs below. They work in slightly different ways, at the time of this is writed something like this:
My dog DNA in Finland. Great if you intend to test for more things. Nowadays, prcdPRA is included in the test that covers basically everything. Then you get prcdPRA, DM, and cord-4 PRA plus all the colors and a whole lot more. Regular price is 99 euros, but sometimes they have discount promotions.
Paw Prints Genetics in the USA. Is good if you are in a hurry with the answer. You use space brushes as a swab and get an answer within a couple of weeks.
VHL Genetics in the Netherlands. Is good if you are not in such a hurry, and just want to do a single test.