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Discussion Starter #1
Pretty interesting results. If this is the case, that leans towards HD being congenital and environmental rather than genetic.


Hip dysplasia: nature's rubik's cube.

Breeders have been struggling with the issue for over 50 years, with little to no progress. Recently, the Gordon Setter Club in Norway basically threw in the towel, stating that the hip screening process developed by the Norwegian kennel club had failed to bring about any improvement in their dogs' hips.

Here's a translation from their announcement:

Proposal to remove the requirement for known status of hip dysplasia (HD) in parent animals.
The Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK) has a registration barrier for offspring by parents with unknown status of hip dysplasia (HD) for the breeds where the breed club has reported such a wish. Gordonsetter has such a registration barrier at NKK. The purpose has been to breed HD-free dogs in the belief that this would give a permanently low HD percentage in the breed. That this has not progressed has been seen since the early 1990s, and even with the introduction of HD indices we have not reduced the frequency of HD. Of the 36 most registered breeds in Norway, as many as 28 have no desired effect. For our race, it is rather a deterioration since the regime was introduced.
NGK is responsible for the breeding setter in Norway. This responsibility must be taken seriously. The club cannot continue with a method that does not work and in addition excludes so many dogs from breeding. Breeders and dog owners have been very loyal to NGK and NKK's recommendations and breeding arrangements. They have done their best without any improvement.

The trend in the lack of results in selective breeding has also been seen in several other countries, including Finland. Now deceased Saki Paatsama, who was a professor of veterinary medicine at the Helsinki University College of Veterinary Medicine, was among those who did not hide how bitterly he regretted his enthusiasm for HD-focused breeding. Internationally, Paatsama was highly respected within his professional environment, and he was early in warning. In an article published in the Finnish kennel club's magazine Koiramme in 1997, he wrote the following:
"When the 1989 HD results were run on data, the average for all breeds' HD percent was 29. And now, in 1997, it is 29. We trampling on one and the same spot, as on an ergometer bike. I want one in their eagerness to fight bugs and illnesses, not reduce the gene pool by omitting what for the breed are valuable individuals in breeding ”.

Many are afraid of the consequences of breeding on dogs with unknown HD status, but we know the consequences from countries that have not previously conducted systematic HD X-rays on breeds. When these countries start with X-ray to a greater extent, no one has as high HD frequency as we have in Norway today. From this, one can safely say that we do not risk anything by removing the requirement for known HD status.

A regime for combating disease that does not show results after 10 years is abolished, this has been allowed to rule for almost 40. It is high time to take responsibility and say stop.

Proposed resolution:The requirement for known HD status on parental animals to get registered puppies of gordon sets in NKK is removed.

The Board of Directors has decided to support the proposal submitted by 4 votes in favor and one vote against the Board's own assessments, as well as the evaluation of the club's breeding council.

Moments added and illuminated during treatment can be read in the text below:
• According to Jørgen Ødegårds (researcher at NMBU) presented figures, shows that HD has about 20% heredity and about 80% environment.
• The fact that the board is willing to accept the proposal does not mean that we want to eliminate the possibility of combating HD. We want to remove the requirement for known status for HD, since we see that today's regime has not given the desired development.
• Adopting the proposal does not remove the possibility of HD X-ray. Those who still want can continue without change, but the club will remove known status requirements.
• It is questionable that another breed club has had to select a recommended list of a few veterinarians they encourage to use in HD examinations. It states that this is a potential source of error (who takes the photos) that will determine whether the individual will be able to serve in the breeding or not. This describes some of the complexities of today's HD regime.Regards
Bjørnar Boneng

Breeding advice setting:
All breeding measures taken to improve the characteristics of our breed, both health and hunting, should be evaluated some time after introduction. The registration barrier for offspring of parental animals with unknown HD status has now been active for many years without being evaluated.
The development of HD in the breed during the period the barrier has worked has not reduced the proportion of dogs with HD. Data from Dogweb shows that the proportion of dogs with status E, D and C remains constant, while the proportion of dogs with status B has increased at the expense of dogs with status A. This shows that the HD regime that exists today does not have anyone who preferably positive effect for our breed and at worst the development is negative. The consequence of the regime as it exists per year. Now, therefore, many good hunting dogs have been excluded from breeding without having functional problems with their hips.

The breeding council also records a tendency for people to become skeptical about using status B dogs in breeding even though status B is classified as HD-free. In other words, it is high time to abolish the requirement of known status of parent animals for registration of puppies in our breed.

The breeding council supports the received proposal to remove the requirement for known status of hip dysplasia (HD) on parental animals.

When HD reading started in 1980, the proportion of HD-free GS was 80% while the proportion with HD was 20%. The X-ray regime and the reading of images at NKK have worked over a 40-year period. Analysis of the data shows that the breed still has the same proportion of HD / HD free dogs in 2018. This is illustrated in the figure below.

There are some variations up and down in the two categories from year to year, but as the trend lines show, there is no positive effect of the long-term regime. There may be many reasons for the small annual variations seen. These can occur, for example, as a result of changes in imaging routines, new readers, changes in equipment or coincidences in the sample of dogs examined.

Positive effects and arguments to support the proposal to remove known HD status requirements for parent animals:
• Greater focus on other important breeding characteristics. For example, hunting, temperament, general health, exterior and bird treatment.
• Greater focus can be added to the breed's other health challenge, which is claw solution and thyroxine deficiency.
• Greater width of the breeding material.
• We avoid the use of the term HD-free as a sales argument for breeding dogs with mediocre dogs use properties or dogs with other negative properties.

By removing the requirement for known HD status one imagines losing track of hip problems in the breed. The breeding council considers this unlikely, as there are several measures to monitor this. A major health study was carried out for the breed in 2012. The result is published on the NGK's website and shows that hip problems are not a disorder that is widely used in the breed.

A similar health study is scheduled to be completed in 2020. This will reaffirm today's status. It will also be natural to repeat the same type of survey in eg 2025. This will provide us with a good basis for evaluating the breeding measures that remove the requirement for known HD status.

The Board's recommendation:
The proposal is adopted
 

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Very interesting. Then the question comes: what environmental factors contribute to HD and ED? Diet, too much structured/forced exercise/play? Not enough free exercise? Vaccines? Who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I wonder if German Shepherds are one of the other 28 breeds.
Here's the study to counter this. So are the Gordon Setter's not prone to HD to start with? Look at the numbers on the German Shepherds.

 

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Yikes. hip problems is quite a major issue. Gordon setters do have quite the small gene pool. Many congential issues are from genetics or environmental but often combination of both. I have noticed a big decrease in gsd hip dysplasia from many many years ago. Growing up it seems more of a epidemic. Often people who rescue gsd’s most often from backyard breeders suffer from hd. Sure environmental and nutrition play a role but when there are issues such has hip dysplasia in such a large scale. I find it hard to believe genetics are not partly involved.
 

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Here's the study to counter this. So are the Gordon Setter's not prone to HD to start with? Look at the numbers on the German Shepherds.

Or maybe not a lot of them in Norway?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Could be. Another study I glanced at said that spring/summer puppies have a higher rate of HD. Maybe they are out on hard ground where winter puppies are in snow or inside?
 

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I would be inclined to think it would have more to do with their comparibly small gene pool also. Diversifying the gene pool would probably help a lot more than throwing out HD testing and acting like genetics are not part of the issue, but I don't think many people are a fan of that concept.

Let's not forget that the environment acts on our genetic material, so to one person extreme exercise and a poor diet causes no issues and to another the same exercise causes debilitating joint issues. Predispositions to environmentally impacted issues can vary amongst genetically different groups. Epigenetics is a minefield, environment and genetics can't really be separated so simply.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think the genetics are hard to deny when you look at the other breeds and see GSDs went from 50% HD to 20%. I'm assuming the Gordon Setters didn't have a high rate to begin with.
 

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Or maybe not a lot of them in Norway?
Surprisingly, there are a lot. I was there for 3 weeks, during nice weather, so I had the opportunity to see a lot of dogs, both in the city and country/mountains - saw more setters (English and Gordon) than I’ve seen in my live (30 if I had to guess). It was very strange, wasn’t expecting it at all.

Norwegian Ekhounds.... ha, saw 2!
 

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Despite their popularity there, Norway still contains a very small population. They really aren't particularly popular dogs throughout Europe or the US. I think based on kennel club registered Gordon Setters in Norway they would have about 8,000 total registrations in the last 12 or so years, vs the 100s of thousands of German Shepherds worldwide each year.

It must be really hard to breed out unwanted traits with such a small pool of dogs to breed from in general. I don't know much about that particular breed, or if they have other health issues that they would rather focus on. With such a small pool I guess eliminating HD testing might help broaden the potential breeding base.
 
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