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German Shepherd Dog > DM clear vs carrier (88 replies)

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 05:12

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I recently ran across a local ad for "DM Clear" puppies with a very nice pedigree, but upon further investigation found that the father is a DM carrier. I inquired about the puppies (curious as to whether the breeder had tested the whole litter) and found that she has not tested the pups and she told me they were 'clear' because neither of the parents were 'at risk'. I'm just curious on everyone's thoughts. My opinion of 'clear' is a dog that does not carry the gene (n/n). So, in reality an average of half the litter would be 'clear' and the other half would be 'carriers', so perhaps a better advertisement would have been "puppies not at risk for DM"?? What does everyone think?

*just want to clarify that I have no issues with this breeder, just curious about how the wording of the ad is taken by others*

by eichenluft on 04 December 2012 - 07:12

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If the ad actually stated that the puppies were DM clear - then both parents should be DM clear.  If one is a carrier, then as you say unless the  puppies were all DM tested clear themselves, the breeder should not make the statement that they are clear.  As you say, if one parent is a carrier, some of the puppies may also be carriers.  The wording may be the problem - breeder meaning the puppies are not going to be rated "affected" with two tested parents even with one carrier.  So technically the pups would be "clear" of DM.  The wording of "puppies are DM clear" is misleading though. 

by supakamario on 04 December 2012 - 09:12

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dm=?

by bcrawford on 04 December 2012 - 10:12

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To state that DM is clear that should mean that DM is not present. At all. Both sides....  No exceptions. No carrier or DM present. No exceptions. For the person to say DM clear and then have the father of the litter being a carrier is a dog that should not be used for breeding. End of story. Raise the bullshit flag and sound the horns..

The whole flipped up issue with carriers is that two carriers make it happen! Why risk it? The more I learn about this the more I'm petrified going forward.. It's not this serious but would you have you know... umm .. yeah.. "relations" with someone who has some kind of issue? Well, no.. I would not.. So why breed dogs where one has a issue? Sure, it's not AIDS but why? It's only hurting them and the people that have expectations of bringing the animal in their life. It's takes a special kind of dumbass not to appreciate what a good GSD can bring to your life. Someone is presented with the pleasure of meeting a friends "Well bred GSD" .. Strong note of well bred.. And they turn out on a mission to find that same level of dog only to screwed over with a dog that is all mangled up well before the bell tolls for thee'....  Tell the person who posted the ad that she needs to think about life and not her bank account.

@supa .. DM is Degenerative Myelopathy. It is a disease of the spinal cord in dogs. It is a very sad and yet retchid disease that is progressive (gets worse).... It starts out as loss of coordination and eventually leads to total loss of movement in the rear of the animal. They are reduced to dragging themselves across the ground. It's just as horrid as HD except worse. It's not a physical issue (example socket wear or failure) but more of a neuro issue because the brain can no longer instruct that portion of the body to move.

Sadly German Shepherd Myelopathy is unique to the breed and breeders that are breeding without this test should be dragged out to the nearest ally and worked over.. Twice.

(Excuse any typo's... it's been a long day.. coming to a end - via a good Bourbon.. too tired to proof it)

by Keith Grossman on 04 December 2012 - 13:12

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"I inquired about the puppies (curious as to whether the breeder had tested the whole litter) and found that she has not tested the pups and she told me they were 'clear' because neither of the parents were 'at risk'."

That could theoretically mean that both parents were carriers.



by joanro on 04 December 2012 - 13:12

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Go to OFFA site and see what they have to say about breeding a carrier, or an at risk for that matter.
Keith, I agree.....not at risk does not mean clear.

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 13:12

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@keith
Both parent were tested and the mother is clear, but the father is a carrier.

I have been told by many longtime breeders that eliminating the population of DM carrier would significantly decrease the gene pool for the GSD. A couple of my girls are carriers, but are always bred to clear males and any puppies going on full registration must be tested and clear prior to sale. I figured that keeps the bloodlines going, but eliminates the DM in them. I sell very few breeding dogs anyways. Most of my puppies are high quality family pets, which is how I like it, and they go with a spay/neuter agreement.

by laura271 on 04 December 2012 - 13:12

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Has anyone DM tested their dog at two different labs? A friend of mine did - one lab said clear and the other lab said carrier. As has been discussed at length on this forum, the current DM test is not a straight forward issue.

by Jenni78 on 04 December 2012 - 13:12

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Amen, Laura.

I know the ad in question. I remember reading it and thinking it was a case of someone being ignorant and just blindly following what the 'good breeders' told them they should do. They didn't really seem to understand what it was they were saying/advertising. They meant "clear" as in shouldn't develop DM (if the test is even that valid), not that neither parent or the pups couldn't be a carrier. From a practical standpoint, I get what they're saying, but to those of us who understand the Punnett square terms, clear, carrier, affected, it's very misleading. 

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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I haven't tested with multiple labs, but my vet had mentioned that the test may not be 100% accurate for all dogs. Makes it very difficult for breeders! Even if you test your dogs and the test says they're clear apparently they could still be a carrier!!

by darylehret on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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"Sadly German Shepherd Myelopathy is unique to the breed and breeders that are breeding without this test should be dragged out to the nearest ally and worked over.. Twice."


Ha ha, tell us how you REALLY feel!  Perhaps German Shepherd Myelopathy (not DM) is unique to GSD's, but there is NO reliable test FOR GSD's.  It's worse to spread a false idea AS IF it were true, than to reject an idea that proves nothing.

by laura271 on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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What makes me fling my hands up in exasperation about the DM test is that a "clear" result doesn't mean that your GSD won't develop or be a carrier for the type of DM that is specific to GSDs. (As I understand the current DM test, I would be thrilled if someone told me that I was understanding the test incorrectly.)

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 05:35 pm
Ofa recommends the test for GSDs and I think it's definitely better than nothing to test with something that might be slightly inaccurate than to not test at all. At least you've made the best effort possible to breed healthy dogs by having the parents tested.

by Keith Grossman on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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"The whole flipped up issue with carriers is that two carriers make it happen! Why risk it? The more I learn about this the more I'm petrified going forward.. It's not this serious but would you have you know... umm .. yeah.. "relations" with someone who has some kind of issue? Well, no.. I would not.. So why breed dogs where one has a issue?"

Are you suggesting that we eradicate cystic fibrosis by forbidding people who carry one abnormal copy of the responsible gene from having children?

I've been giving this issue a lot of thought lately and I'll have to disagree.  Putting aside for a moment the fact that this test doesn't even cover the form of DM that is specific to GSD's, meaning that you could breed two parents who both show up as clear for this version of the condition and still end up with puppies that have the other, I find the philosophy of removing carriers from the gene pool overly limiting especially when the condition can be avoided simply by breeding carriers to non-carriers.

It's already well established that breeding for any single trait, say, color or side gait, is detrimental to the breed and breeding for the single trait of n/n for DM is no exception.  As advances are made in DNA sequencing, we are likely to see markers emerge for all sorts of possible afflictions in our dogs...allergies, EPI, fistulas, thyroid problems, ANA, vWdz, pannus...the list is endless.  If we eliminate from consideration for breeding any dog who carries one abnormal copy of the gene for any of these conditions, we will eventually not have any more dogs to breed.

Responsible breeders will test their stock and only breed carriers to non-carriers thereby producing no puppies afflicted with the condition.  Irresponsible breeders are going to do what irresponsible breeders do anyway.

by VKGSDs on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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Totally agree, Keith.

As far as the OP, yes if I saw a dog advertised as "clear" I would assume it means the dog tested clear or is clear by parentage (being clear-clear).

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 05:35 pm
@ Keith,
I'm in complete agreement. If you check the ofa website, eliminating carriers and at risk dogs would eliminate almost 50% of the gsd population (given that there is a large sample and one would think that would be mostly breeding stock). Some even argue that breeding an at risk dog to a clear dog is ok because the litter would be all carriers.

by Blitzen on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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I see nothing wrong with using an at risk with a clear. The goal should be to not produce more at risks.

by khlewis on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 05:35 pm
@Blitzen
I agree!! Though I don't own any at risk dogs, I would be ok with breeding one to a clear dog.

by Blitzen on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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A simple recessive is so easy to work around. We should be thankful that we have the DNA test available to those who want to use it.

by Kaffirdog on 04 December 2012 - 14:12

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"What makes me fling my hands up in exasperation about the DM test is that a "clear" result doesn't mean that your GSD won't develop or be a carrier for the type of DM that is specific to GSDs. (As I understand the current DM test, I would be thrilled if someone told me that I was understanding the test incorrectly.)"

So what is the point of testing if the result doesn't mean anything anyway?

Margaret N-J


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