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Clumber Spaniel Club of America Health Survey 2001/2002

Report by Roe Froman, DVM, chair of the CSCA Health Committee

In 2001, the CSCA conducted its second major health survey. Surveys were sent out to all CSCA members, included in the Bulletin mailings. Additionally, surveys could also be downloaded from the web, and many were sent out in response to email requests.

Sixty-six owners returned surveys with information about 115 clumbers. Respondents replied for 58 males (27 intact, 31 neutered) and 57 females (20 intact, 37 neutered).
Responses are still trickling in.

Owners were asked to respond regarding clumbers they have owned in the past five years.
They were asked to identify medical conditions encountered in their dogs. Ages of onset and method of diagnosis was also requested for each reported condition. Information on healthy dogs was also requested.  Additionally, we asked respondents to identify what they considered to be the three most important problems facing our breed. Finally, we asked owners if they would like the opportunity to contribute to the AKC Canine Health Foundation CSCA Donor Advised Fund via an envelope included with their annual dues notification.

Responses were directed to Roe Froman, DVM. Anonymity was permitted. The majority of respondents signed their surveys. A majority also indicated willingness to share pedigree information, and several included pedigrees with their responses.

Twenty one dogs indicated no disease history. The majority of these were young dogs at the time of the response. Eyelid problems were the most frequently reported condition, with 38 dogs. Males and females were evenly represented. Allergies were reported for 24 dogs, and ear infections for 23. Many dogs reported multiple conditions.  Twenty dogs with hip dysplasia were reported and fifteen cases of intervertebral disc disease (cervical and/or thoracolumbar).

Hypothyroidism was reported for 16 dogs (9 males, 7 females). Arthritis (degenerative joint disease) and patellar luxations were also reported. Various forms of cancer were recorded in eight dogs, including lung cancer, ovarian carcinoma, mammary cancer, histiocytoma (actually not cancer, since these are always a benign tumor), and undefined.

Six cases of cataracts (five punctate, and one old age) were reported. One PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) suspicious dog was listed. One case of retinal folds and one case of persistent pupillary membranes were reported.

There were three reports of cardiovascular problems. Each was represented once, and included mitral valve murmur, cardiomyopathy and one case in which cardiac failure *may* have been secondary to Rimadyl (carprofen) administration.

Gastroenterological conditions most frequently repoprted were irritable bowel disease (four cases, all males) and hepatopathy (liver disease - 3).

Reproductive conditions most frequently encountered included four cases of monorchidism, one case of testicular atrophy, and one testicular mass.  Five cases of anasarca (water puppies), one cleft palate, two uterine inertias, and two vaginal strictures were reported. Failure to conceive (3) and failure to carry to term (1), as well as pyometra (1), insufficient milk (1) and irregular heat cycles were recorded. Four cases of mastitis were submitted. Endometrial hyperplasia was also reported.

Other medical conditions reported included anal gland problems, keratoconjunctivis sicca (dry eye), interdigital cysts, perianal hernia, and corneal edema. One deaf dog was reported. Urinary tract infections were also listed as problems.

Two shy dogs and one very excitable dog were reported.

Respondents impressions of the most important problems facing Clumbers were as follows:

Thirty one respondents listed eye problems, followed closely by hip dysplasia (29), and intervertebral disc disease (22). Allergies were listed by 16 resondents, autoimmune disease by 7, and cardiac problems by 6. Thyroid, temperament, and cancer each received 5 submissions.

Ears were listed by four, seizures, liver and reproductive problems each were noted three times, and two respondents felt bites were among our most important problems. Longevity, inbreeding, hearing and eosinophilic panosteitis were each listed once.

Nineteen respondents would like to see an opportunity to donate to the CSCA CHF Donor Advised Fund, and twenty said no. Eleven were undecided: three needed further information, three said it depended on their finances at the time, three were not CSCA members, one wished to also be able to contribute to Rescue or other specific areas, and one did not elaborate. Several respondents left this question blank.

My impressions of the surveys were that there are a number of clumber owners and breeders that take health issues seriously. Our response rate was quite good, and included several long term breeders. Many companion owners also took the time to complete and return the survey. Willingness to share pedigree data was widespread.

Eye problems, hip dysplasia, disc disease and allergies are problems which need to be addressed. Autoimmune diseases and cardiac problems are also being reported, and need to be taken seriously.

I believe that hip dysplasia, disc disease, allergies, autoimmune problems and cardiac diseases should be our primary focus for research dollars based on these responses. It is important to remember that this survey only provides an overview, and is most likely not statistically representative of the true incidences of each of these conditions.