Determination of HD.
Breeders who breed responsibly test their breeding dogs for HD. Once the dog is at least 1 year old, special x-rays of both hips can be taken. These are made in two different positions at a veterinarian who is qualified to do this. These pictures are then sent to the official institution where they are being assessed.
In the Netherlands, this is the HD-panel of the ‘Raad van Beheer’, department of ‘Gezondheid, Gedrag en Welzijn (GGW)’ (Health, Behaviour and Welfare).
In Germany, these are specially selected veterinarians.
When a breeder shows you pictures of a random vet with results on it, this is never official.
The only official results come from the institutions mentioned above. Moreover, the results indicate the degree of HD the dog has.
The depth of the socket is also indicated. This is done by a number, the so-called Norberg value.
The depth of the socket obviously partially determines the stability of the joint. The higher this value, the better.
The maximum value is 45.
Finally, it is indicated whether bone deviations of the joint are found.
Testing the parent animals for HD is a good, responsible way to handle your breeding. It however does not mean that your puppy has no chance of developing HD. A breeder can never guarantee this!
Lower urinary tract disease and kidney stones
The Dalmatian has a unique urinary system functioning in comparison to other dog breeds.
There are two species that have a similar urinary system: humans and apes.
Because his urinary system works differently, it can occur that a Dalmatian develops bladder grit/stones.
How does this happen exactly?
The dog gets proteins from its food that also contains a certain amount of purine. A part of these purines is needed to renew his own cells, the rest will be broken down and will have to leave the body.
These purines are converted into uric acid in the intestines, with the help of a number of enzymes.
Normally, the uric acid, with the help of the enzyme “uricase” which is located in the liver, will be converted into the degredation product “allantoin”.
This is important, because the allantoin easily dissolves in water to leave the body through the urine.
Uric acid that hasn’t been converted yet, will be saved in the kidneys and will continue to circulate until it can be broken down into allantoin. The small amount of uric acid that can’t be converted is turned into salt, called urate.
Unlike allantoin, this urate does not easily dissolve in water.
In Dalmatians, this process is exactly the same, up to the point where uric acid has to be converted into alantoin. The liver of the Dalmatian does have the enzyme uricase, but unfortunately only a small amount of allantoin is formed. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, because the kidneys can save the remaining uric acid and circulate it until it’s broken down into allantoin.
Unfortunately, the Dalmatian’s kidneys don’t save much uric acid, so large amounds of urates will end up in the urine. If the urine becomes more and more saturated with urates, these urates could form crystals. In some cases, depending on the pH balance of the urine, these crystals can clump together and can form grit and even stones.
Most Dalmatians will not have any problems with this during their lifetime. In case small stones do occur, a good treatment is often possible.
However, to prevent is of course always better than to have to cure…
Therefore, a number of good rules apply to Dalmatian dogs:
- Make sure the dog always has fresh water and let your Dalmatian drink as much as he wants.
- AsLet your Dalmatian pee on a regular basis, so the urine doesn’t become too concentrated.
- Don’t feed your Dalmatian red meat or organ meat, such as tripe or tripe products.
- As soon as your Dalmatian doesn’t need puppy food anymore, switch to adult food with a not too high animal proteine level, preferably between 20 and 23%.
It’s even better to feed him with food that’s low in purines, such as lamb-and-rice food or food that is mainly based on egg, chicken or turkey
If the dog has problems urinating, which can be a painful event especially for male dogs, you immediately have to contact a vet. With medication and the right diet, your Dalmatian can grow up to be old in a normal way.
You don’t have to be scared if your young puppy has “white” urine. This is often seen in the morning urine on cold stones. The urine then turns white.
If you are worried about something, feel free to contact us as breeder, or the veterinarian.