THE HEALTH OF OUR BREED: TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
DISCUSSIONS WITH DR. GEORGE A. PADGETT D.V.M.
Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Pathology
Michigan State University
Author of THE CONTROL OF CANINE GENETIC DISEASE
Co-authored by Dale Malony and Judy Huston
When Judy Huston read The Control of Canine Genetic Disease in 1999, it sparked a flame in her and inspired
a new drive in her life. She was motivated to apply the principles described in Dr. Padgett's book to improve
the health of a whole breed, and in almost no time, she had conducted a health survey of over 1000 dogs and
generated excitement among many breed club members. That survey has since developed into a multi-pronged
project independent of any breed club, and is positively impacting the decision making process for many
breeders as they strive to pick the ideal match and produce the best and healthiest puppies possible.
This project not only includes genetic disease tracking, but also involves developing projects for breeder/owner
education and a worldwide internet database of our dogs. Since every dog alive is at least carrier of genetic
diseases, there are still a large number of dogs that need to be surveyed and tracked in order to truly improve
the health of our breed.
Little did Judy know that her Kyra (Crystal's Lady in Red) would become a statistic to be included in the next
genetic health survey. Kyra was the inspiration for Judy's initial desire to learn about the diseases which affect
our dogs and pushed her to keep on keepin' on, even when it seemed progress had slowed to a crawl.
(See Judy's article, "Loving Kyra" also in this edition of the Annual.)
Kyra was born September 20, 1995, and until December 2001, she was the healthiest, happiest, highest-drive
dog Judy had ever been around – bossy and spoiled too. Sadly, in January 2002, Kyra was simultaneously
diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
(Eosinophilic Ulcerative Colitis/Proctitis). On January 22, 2002, a discectomy and a nucleotomy of the
L7-S1 disc were performed
serving the white shepherd community since 1999
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