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Search for his breeder?

Posted: Thu May 05, 2011 7:26 pm
by OrngTby
I wasn't really sure where this should be posted, but it is genetics related.

My epi Aussie "Gauge" is from the shelter system and had been found near the Interstate before making his way to the SPCA. I do not know where he comes from, but he had an owner at some point. He was found with a flea collar and an unregistered microchip.

With all the heart ache of epilepsy, I have begun to wonder if I should send out a chain type of email to local Aussie breeders and try to find my dog's breeder. I know the breeder could be anyone (back yard or a good breeder or even just a family bred dog) and from any where or even a pet store puppy. But I feel like it might be worth it to try, send out a request with a description of him and his temperment and his pictures to see if I can find who might have potentially bred him.

I am not looking for any type of finger to point for the disease, but I feel like if I were a breeder I would (1) want to know where all the puppies I bred are and Gauge is no longer with the family he was potentially placed with and (2) would want to know that epilepsy was in my breeding lines. There is a chance that if he comes from a good breeder, that this was a fluke or an off breeding and not a judgement of thier breeding skills. There is also that chance that he was bred knowing that he might suffer from the disease.

So I guess I am just trying to see if anyone else with a shelter pup has tried to find the previous breeder with or without any success. Have any of you tried? Do you think it is worth it to try? If you were a breeder would you even read or reply to such a request? Or am I just stirring up trouble?

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Thu May 05, 2011 8:23 pm
by Gentle Jacob's mom
Jake is an Aussie and when he had his first seizure we felt the same way that you do. We rescued him and really felt like the breeder would want to know so that they could pull Jake's siblings and parents from breeding. That didn't happen. They are well aware and continue to breed his relatives and act like Jake is a freak. He comes from a very strong "champion" line and my pleas fell on deaf ears. I think so far there are at least 60 dogs out there that could carry his gene or having seizures behind closed doors. I'm not saying you shouldn't try, you might get lucky. I'm really trying not to discourage you but I just don't want you to find yourself in the same place that I was. I assumed that any decent breeder would care and they didn't, and it broke my heart. I guess I would give a certain amount of time to it, and if you didn't find the breeder realize that the important thing is that Gauge is in a loving home and where he was meant to be. I hope you don't hit the brick wall that I did. I wish you luck in your search.

Keep us posted.

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 6:55 am
by MK's mom
If Gauge comes from a 'good' breeder, he/she would want to know that he has epilepsy and was in rescue. The herding breeds are being destroyed with epilepsy and what Lynne discovered is common. A vet tech at the neurologist's office I used to go to runs an Aussie rescue here in MI and she said there is so much epilepsy in every line that the breed is on the way to ruin. Just what Lynne said, they breed for the show ring and the top winning dog, health issues be damned. I have Irish Setters and too many breeders like to blame the pet owners for causing the vaccines, they're always looking for a way to transfer the blame on to someone else. They breed KNOWING there is epilepsy in the line and just hope for the best. They disgust me.

I say go for it. Do you know if there's a DNA database available for Aussies that could help you track Gauge back to where he came from?


Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 8:11 am
by Gentle Jacob's mom
I forgot to mention that there is a website dedicated to Australian Shepherds with epilepsy. She has a list of breeders who have signed a document promising not to breed dogs where epilepsy in in the line. If you do find Gauge's breeder, you could check that list and if they are on it it might alleviate some stress involved with contacting them. No surprise, Jake's breeder isn't on that list. There is a lot of information there too. She may even be able to guide you through your search since she's familiar with most Aussie breeders. By the way if you do locate them and you hear, "We had a dog many years ago that had seizures, but not one since then," don't believe it. From what I understand that is a very common response. It's the one I initially got.
Good luck in your search. I know you want to do the right thing so that another dog and another family doesn't go through this hell, and I really hope it works out.
Take Care,

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:09 pm
by OrngTby
Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. Gauge just had, yet another, seizure - it looks like we are on an approximately every 2 wk schedule right now. And as I sat there with him, watching as he paced and vocalized, wanting comfort but yet wanting to keep moving, it was heartbreaking to watch. It just showed me that I do need to at least try. I realize that his breeder could have been some nut head who decided breed for money knowing his dogs have epilepsy - and to top it off may not even be doing anything to control the seizures. I know that his previous owner could very well have seen him have his first seizure and then tossed him out because of them. I definately won't hold my breath over the person I am trying to find, but I don't think it would ever leave my mind if I didn't try to find them and alert them to his condition.

Thank you for the website Lyanne. I will definately check it out. Hopefully the breeders I do contact will help me by, at least, giving me names of others who I can contact. Thank you all for your support. If I get any negative responses, I might just have to post them here to share a breeders POV on what us owners are doing wrong to cause this disease. :wink:

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:46 pm
by Gentle Jacob's mom
I just found out that Jake's breeders are selling pups related to him again. I just want to scream. I really hope you find Gauge's breeder and they care enough to stop breeding his relatives
I'm sorry to hear you had a rough day.


Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:42 am
by Raven's mom
I feel very lucky. I informed the kennel in Utah where Raven was bred (Prestige Aussies in Riverton), and breeder's response was immediate- his littermate (a show champion racking up titles) was pulled from the breeding program (he had already sired a litter, but the one pup left not sold on a spay/neuter contract then went up for sale on a spay contract only) and she also told me she informed everyone with a dog closely related to Raven that there is epilepsy in the line. She claims she's never known of another epileptic dog from her lines, and I believe her from her responses to me. (I also know she doesn't know the fates of all the pups she's bred, although she tries). She has already sent in lots of blood samples for the canine epilepsy study, because she feels its important, and went the extra mile to obtain a sample from Raven's mom; the first owner refused, but the dog changed homes, and Raven's breeder tracked the new owner down and finally got permission to sample the dog.

Maybe there's hope for this breed... but I'm not sure I'll get another Aussie. Lynne, I didn't know about Toby's Foundation, I'll have to look into that, because the breeders who care deserve to be recognized, and people who want a pup should be able to get some truth in advertising and know where to go to find it.

Good luck, Melynda, but I would say from what I've learned of the general breeding/show culture for Aussies and some other breeds, there is a huge amount of denial and even anger when the subject is pushed. I think I read that someone was so infuriated at a breeder's nonresponse that she pulled an ad in the main publication for the breed, with EPILEPTIC as the title and the dog's pedigree!! I'll have to track that down to verify that it isn't urban legend. I guess if the breeder is non-responsive, that's a good way to make sure the word gets out!

Jen and Raven

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:57 pm
by OrngTby
I guess I am lucky that I havn't sparked anger yet. I tried to word the email very nicely and make sure they knew I wouldn't advertise where he came from and wasn't trying to get anything from them. Out of over 40 emails I have sent (every breeder in Virginia I could find, most in North Carolina, some in West Virginia and Maryland) so far, I've gotten less than a dozen replies (I think last count was about 9 replies?) all in the negative. Many times they even told me how they knew he wasn't one of there puppies - ie, last litter was over 3 years ago, never bred a red merle, etc. I did have some that discounted him because of his more obvious issues - he is a much lighter bone and coat than a show ring Aussie would be, he is more of the working/flyball/agility style dogs, but they are harder to find on the web than show dogs since they make up the majority. I have a spreadsheet to note who I sent emails to and if they replied and will send repeats to those not responding but my hopes are pretty much non existant. I do agree with the denial. It is such a petty thing since these dogs are suffering and if these breeders would only acknowledge the presence in thier lines we could potentially erradicate epilepsy in the breed. I do agree, I will probably never own another Aussie. I am lucky that Gauge has a happy, care free, open attitude and is such a good dog and I'm happy that I am able to care for him despite whomever owned him previously could or would not. I think my next dog will be from a breeder that I know and trust. I am very lucky to know some amazing breeders that actually work with thier dogs - everything from SARs, cadaver dogs, herding, agility, obedience, rally, and confirmation - and are breeding for the best possible offspring. One such breeder is an amazing border collie breeder who I would be honored to one day own a puppy from. Now if she would only breed me a red and white, red tri or red merle. :wink:

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:11 am
by Orli
On a very similar subject [breeders deliberately using dogs with major problems in their lines] but in that case it was cleft palates and not epilepsy, many years ago I used to breed Griffons. Not for financial gain [you really cannot make any money from breeding Griffs unless you have kennels full of brood bitches and my girls were house pets] but to try to improve the breed.

One of the then major Griffon Breeders Clubs were trying to track down the irresponsible breeders, which was rather difficult as it was always denied that any puppies had been born with cleft palates. As such pups were euthanised within hours of birth, as soon as the cleft was noticed, and people did not want to admit it, it was an ongoing struggle for quite a long time.

In the end it was proven without any doubt that the clefts were all coming through one stud line, with all dogs used being from the same line. As the breeder of the main line [she had also sold dogs from the same line as stud dogs to other breeders] was then considered to be the top breeder of champion Griffons, I am sure that you can imagine the lengths she went to to try and cover up the fact.

This was nearly 30 years ago. The last Griffon litter I bred was about that time and was the main reason I stopped breeding. Because of the denial, the hypocrisy, and the utter greed of people who deliberately tried to cover up an obvious major problem. I left the UK in 1985, losing contact with the Breeders Club concerned, but the last I heard was that there was still denial going on, still people insisting that they had never had a bitch deliver a pup with a cleft palate, and the main breeder was still using her stud dogs, knowing full well that they carried the gene that caused clefts and that clefts were still being born after her dogs had been used for stud.

The other side of the coin, however, and this is about epilepsy, is the person I know in the UK with an epileptic BC. As soon as she had her first seizure [at ~11 months] he contacted her breeders, and both her dam and her sire were immediately removed from breeding, being spayed and neutered - even though there had been five proven generations of no epilepsy whatsoever in either line. As one of his BC's litter mates developed epilepsy ~two or three months later, and both were also spayed, at least one possible line was ended, thanks to the responsible action of the breeders.

Pereg? She is a mutt, with no way of knowing what might be in her background. Just another black and tan mutt, as was her dam, so who knows where her epilepsy came from? We still think that it might have been triggered by the dog attack ~3 weeks before her first Grand Mal seizure, but will never be sure.

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:08 pm
by OrngTby
Well for those interested I have had a lead in the search for Gauge's origins.

I got Gauge's original adoption papers back out. He was found with no ID except a flea collar and an unregistered microchip number. So I called the microchip company who relayed me to thier buy out company who could tell me the microchip was not registered; however.... they could trace his microchip number to the batch and to whom that batch of microchips were sold to.

Looks like my poor pup may very well be a pet store puppy. I have called the company they gave me but they were closed in hopes that they can tell me where that microchip number further narrows down to. I have called one pet shop in my area that sells puppies (there aren't that many of those in Virginia) and they did not keep a record of microchip numbers, nor are thier puppies often implanted with a microchip. I am going to call another pet shop I know of to see if they would have a microchip directory to search for his number tomorrow while I wait for a call back from the microchip purchasing company.

Now, I know if he is a pet shop puppy that equals puppy mills and brokers which means my message to stop breeding his family lines due to epilepsy will most likely be ignored but it is a step. I don't know if I will ever get any further into the mystery of his origin but it is definately something of an answer even now.

Re: Search for his breeder?

Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:44 am
by romandachs
Did you find out the info on your Microchip. As a breeder, I KNOW that ALL Microchips have an origin, thus someone purchased the chips and that chip, if never individually registered, will go back to the original purchaser. I buy my chips in bulk and they remain registered in MY name. I give a new owner the chip number, but do not allow them to change the chip ownership. If I ever get called about one of my dogs ending up at a shelter, I first try to contact the owner, if that is not possible, then the dog can make its way back to me. If your dog had been in a shelter system prior to the shelter system you got him from, then he could be chipped from the original shelter system. I believe ALL dogs coming from a shelter MUST be chipped prior to leaving. That chip is then associated with the Shelter and the shelter has the information on the adoptive owners. So just because your dog has chips bought in bulk doesn't mean that he necessarily came from a pet store or a puppy mill situation. He may have actually been dumped because of his seizures. You may never get the answers you search for and even if you do, the breeder may not care or take responsibility.