As with all breeds NIs have had health problems during their foundation years as a breed. With monioring of the lines and removing them from the breeding programmes these are well under control. All responsible breeders have their dogs Health tested before embarking on introducing them into any breeding programme. Breeders also monitor their offspring from their dogs through feedback to check for any health problems that need addressing.
Hip Displasia....and how to help avoid it.
As with all breeds of dogs of this type there have been cases of hip dysplasia. Again with careful monitoring of breeding stock the genetic influence of this condition can be reduced. All breeding stock must be BVA Hip Scored and as of Jan 2009 mandatory BVA Elbow scoring as an health check audit measure has been introduced and even though there have been no eye problems in 2009 mandatory eye testing for at least one hundred dogs. If these all come back clear, then the breed can be officially classed as eye problem free.
There are many causes of hip and elbow displasia. The owner of a new puppy needs to take on board advice given. Trauma is often caused by over excerise on growing joints, allowing and sometimes encouraging a younster to jump and run up and down stairs. Harnesses are to be avoided they can cause shoulder and elbow damage. The golden rule of thumb is 5 minutes of lead work per day for each month of age.. ie 4 months old = 20 minutes per day split into two walks. This should be applied until the dog is at least 1 year old.
Hip Displasia and Diet
Diet is the other main problem area. It is often thought that by feeding Calcium supplements a big boned dog would be grown. Yes, the bones will grow, but before the joints and body frame can develop. This will throw the joints out of proportion to the excess of bones forming for them to support. Good complete feeds have been balanced with the correct balance of nutiments to cater for steady, healthy development.
Small, medium, large and xlarge breeds grow and mature at different rates. A small breed with have made its frame by around 8 months. An NI which falls into Large breed takes a lot longer. Many brands of complete dog feeds now have each feed for age and breed size available. From puppy, juvenile, adult, elderly. There is always a feeding guide for daily amounts. I only use this as a rough guide. Each dog develops and grows at its own pace. The appearance of YOUR dog is the true quide.When looking from above the dogs pin bones should be nicely covered. you should not see ribs lines from above or from the side. All the body should be cushioned with flesh but keeping the shape. the belly should not be tucked up (like a greyhound), but not fat (barrel like).
Some dogs of this breed grow gracefully and keep their shape and look reasonably balanced throughout their growing phases. Others can go through phases of looking thin, tall and long legged and then short legged and bit barrel shaped. When a dog is in a growth spurt it can only go up or out. not both at the same time. Eventually the dog balances out. In the later stages when height is made the last part is the weighting up, many a juvenile can seem to stay at this stage for an age. The term often used to describe this is looking "Rangey".
Basically when your dog is in a "Rangey" stage feed more. It is very important not to let your youngster or dog get overweight. As this will put too much pressure on the joints. When in doubt seek your vets advice.
One thing I have found with Northern Inuit and BTD is that they need to be introduced to car travel as soon as possible. They seem to be very prone to car sickness and drooling. Short journeys as often as possible seem to cure this but it does take time. So I'm afraid its loads of newspaper, toilet roll and wet wipes until this phase is sorted. There are remedies available from your vet to help through this stage.
There have been instances of this in the past, but by careful monitoring of the breeding this is now very rare. In the case of an undescended testes castration is advised to prevent medical problems later in life. My personal opinion as to the best time to castrate is when the dog has matured. With dogs of this size the growth plates dont close until around 18 months and castration at an early age can result in a tall dog that is out of proportion and poorly matured. I have seen dogs that have not achieved the characteristic male head and features. A full size adult body with an immature small puppy head. The head is the last feature to form (or break) and care should be taken to achieve the correct balance before castration, unless of course there is a medical reason to castrate earlier.
In 2004, Intervet obtained a licence for a dog vaccine with a three year duration of immunity against parvovirus, hepatitis and distemper. Vets using this vaccine - Nobivac® DHPPi - are now able to protect dogs using far fewer vaccine components,
Please note that protection against leptospirosis still requires an annual vaccination with Nobivac® Lepto 2 or equivalent.
Certainly lots of information available from both points of view, (do we, dont we). Hope this helps.
EPILEPSY. This is now becoming rare as affected lines have been identified and many breeders have stopped using them. Ar Julestar we have never been affected with Epilepsy
Mode of inheritance is not known and may differ even between breeds. In some cases only one parent needs to have the disease gene responsible for a puppy to be a sufferer:
recessive - needs two copies of a disease gene to have the trait (one from each parent).
dominant - needs only one copy of a disease gene to have a trait , usually from an affected parent.
polygenic - a number of genes causing the disease.
autosomal - gene is on the non-sex chromosoems
x-linked - gene is one the x- chromosome (males have one x and females have two x chromosomes)
Epilepsy has been proven to be hereditary in several breeds and it is suspected in numerous other breeds. Right now, we don't know exactly how epilepsy is inherited in dogs. It may well be that there are different modes of inheritance and different genes involved in various breeds and families. Preliminary results from the Canine Epilepsy Project suggest that there are two or more genes involved in some of these families. There are several genes associated with epilepsy in humans and mice, and these genes are being investigated as possible candidates for the culprit in canine epilepsy.