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Thread: Testing Day

  1. #1

    Default Testing Day

    I do not live in the Pays de Loire region of France, but Dominique, the regional delegate had several times asked why I didn’t go to her annual reunions. This year I thought about it and as Hula’s three pups from last year needed their heart and eye tests( half price at the reunion!) and there was also a vet taking tissue for DNA tests I thought it would be a good idea to go now rather than waiting for my regional reunion later in the year.
    I got away from the house not long after 7 a.m. and arrived at the venue shortly after 11:00. The organisation was spot on. I collected an envelope as I went in; it contained the heart forms for each dog plus a “ticket” for the eye tests and two papers filled in for DNA samples. Maxim and Melody have had their EF and CC/DE tests but I also wanted their DNA identification plus proof of parentage. At first I joined the queue for hearts, but then though it might be an idea to take the ones who needed eye tests there, have the drops to dilate their pupils and we could come back to the heart queue. As it happened, the ophthalmologists said they did some exams before dilating the pupils, so by the time they’d done the last one the pupils of the first one would probably be dilated enough and so I should stay with them. The young man who was checking the dogs against the list had his young daughter with him and Clemence very quickly made friends with Lettie, so I asked her if she’d be happy to hold Lettie’s lead while the other dogs were being examined. She was, and her father took care of the others. Slightly disappointing results, as Madrigal has a little “suspicion” in one eye but I won’t know if it’s a “fail” until I get the papers back from the club after the results have been recorded. All the others were fine :-) The very charming young vet said “It’s nothing to worry about” so maybe I’m overreacting. After all the eyes had been checked we went back to find the heart queue was there no longer and there was just my crate with a lonely looking Hula sitting in it. Clemence had come with me and when I knocked on the door it was opened by Béatrice, a woman I know quite well who said “Jane!” and kissed me. Dr Le Bobbinec looked up from his desk and said “les anglais, toujours en retard” “The English, always late” which is unfair as I’ve never been late for an appointment with him. Béatrice said she knew I’d been in the queue already and he said “not being serious!” and proceeded to check the hearts. Sadly, but not altogether a surprise, Hula has now gone to Stade 3. Clemence had been astounded to know that Hula was the mother of all the others, and when I said “Poor Hula, no more babies for you” she asked me why and I said it was perhaps something her father could explain better than I could. I can't see me explaining the rules to a seven year old girl in a manner that made sense to her. A really lovey moment was when Dr. Le B looked at Melody’s “this is a beautiful heart” he exclaimed, “I wish all hearts looked like this!” I looked at the screen and although usually I can’t tell what I’m looking at, hers looked almost like a diagram of a heart. He circled “normal” on the form and said something like "shame there wasn’t a choice for “perfect!”" He took a photocopy of each form for me, as the originals will go to the club and eventually I’ll get the official numbered version.
    Clemence took Melody’s lead to go to have the cheek scrapings for DNA and also held her on a chair for the vet to take the sample. Probably because she didn’t quite understand what was required she didn’t hold Melody very well and so the vet asked her to let go and he took over. Imre, who is well known for taking candid photos when people aren’t aware, took a few photos while this was happening. I’d bought some raffle tickets when I arrived and the raffle was called after all the vet checks had finished. I won a few small prizes which I put in the car. Clemence won a pair of colourful but low power binoculars, with which she was thrilled. When I came back in the hall the aperitifs were being served and I had a glass of sangria and, very rudely, eavesdropped on a conversation between one of the vets and Cavalier owner about the BARF diet. The vet said he didn’t like it at all: he had a client who had an extremely high standard of hygiene who’d lost all their dogs after they’d eaten meat that was contaminated with high levels of salmonella, clearly prior to purchase. He said if one is absolutely sure of the source of the meat, fine, but often even meat sold fit for human consumption can have fairly high levels of salmonella and needs to be thoroughly cooked. And meat that has been minced or cut up small and then frozen should never be fed raw as the process of mincing takes surface bacteria into the meat and as it defrosts the bacteria multiply much faster than just surface bacteria. After I’d listened to this and felt very sad for the person who’d lost their dogs, we were called to table! There was an extensive buffet, lots of salads, cold meats, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, foie gras and red or rosé wine. Dominique invited me to join the “top table” which was pleasant as I was with people I knew, and after we’d had the main course a cheese board was brought to the table although we still had to go to the buffet to serve ourselves with salad to go with it. There were desserts, but I didn’t really look at them as I was happy to end with cheese. Dominique welcomed us all and asked us to applaud the vets for their time but didn't ask them to comment on their findings.

    I put the dogs in the car, said goodbye to everyone and set off home. It’s the busiest public holiday time of the year, the 1st, 8th and 10th are all public holidays and people “make bridges” to include the public holidays in their annual leave and this means that not just the public holidays but the days around them attract heavy traffic. Traffic on the motorway ground to a halt twice, but listening to the traffic news I decided not to leave it and try to use the satnav to go cross country as the last broken down vehicle causing delays was just about a kilometre after the next exit.

    It was lovely to get home, make a pot of tea, put my feet up and have a cuddle with all the dogs while watching something I’d earlier recorded on TV.

    Last edited by Janelise; 05-09-2018 at 10:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Benoni, 32km east of Johannesburg, Tvl, South Africa


    You had a lovely day, didn't you?

    Sorry to hear about Hula, is that the same as we would call a Grade 3 out of 6? Despite all the other problems that MAY afflict the breed, I still feel that hearts are the most important thing to look out for.

    With eyes, I'm sure you'll be alright if the vet said it's nothing to worry about - my Manny also got picked out on his eye examination for a scar (slightly light patch) on the cornea, even though it's the result of him piercing the eyeball with a twig which they themselves treated him for, but not being hereditary, he didn't get a 'fail'.

    I was very interested to see the vet's comments on the BARF diet, something which I have been interested in for a very long time but not actually gone in for. And my reason is that I would use chicken frames and a lot of our chicken is imported so I can't be sure of the hormone and antibiotic additives they have been fed. Very interesting about the mince too, as earlier this week my 15-year old Dally helped herself to about 500gm of extra lean beef mince and had the most appalling liquid diarrhoea which I had not connected to that. And raw beef is a gourmet meal for some people!

    Dorothy (S.Africa)

  3. #3


    There are five heart "stades" in France: dogs and bitches over the age of three and at stade 2 or 3 may be bred from, stade 3 or over means not to be bred from. It seems a bit daft to me that a dog, especially a stud dog, who could have been Stade 2 at age 6 and passes to Stade 3 a year later is then excluded. This a rough translation from the French club site

    Stade 0 or Grade 0: The mitral leaflets are intact,
    No thickening
    No nodule
    They perfectly conform in a convex manner to the left ventricle throughout the phase of the cardiac contraction. The valve evokes the shape of the bishop's mitre (hence the etymology)

    Stade 1 or Grade 1: One can note a discreet thickening or the presence of nodule but especially a discreet deformation of the two mitral leaflets. The valve remains globally convex because these deformations, known as ballooning, only concern the body of the leaflets. The aspect of mitre is always present, a little distorted however. In about 2/3 of dogs at this stage there is no audible murmur

    Stade 2 or Grade 2: Deformities and thickening of the two mitral leaflets are evident throughout the cardiac cycle, especially when fully open.
    The leaves appear elongated, they are clearly flattened, reach and even exceed the anatomical plane of the mitral ring. The mitre is flattened. Deformations called ballooning are frequently observed especially on the middle part of the septal leaflet. In about 1/3 of dogs at this stage there is no audible murmur.

    Stade 3 or Grade 3: The deformity (ies) and the mitral prolapse are even more obvious but especially this stage is characterized by a very visible dilation of the left atrium (formerly called atrium). These anomalies cause a defect of closure and sealing of the valve, causing leakage itself generating the mitral murmur. This murmur is constantly detectable in Stage 3, inconsistently in Stage 2, depending on the quality of the stethoscope, the dog's heart rate, the dog's weight status, breathing sounds and a host of external events making the listening method too random.

    Stade 4 or Grade 4: Rupture of string which affects in the vast majority the mitral septal leaflet.
    Dilation of the left atrium

    The cardiologists who discussed the protocol with the French club were pretty adamant that ultrasound was the only truly effective method of seeing the state of the heart. and as one of mine was once declared to have a dreadful murmur by a UK cardiologist who, it was discovered later, had a cold and was suffering from tinnitus at the time of the test, I'm inclined to agree. I took my girl to my own vet who listened to her heart at length, and then asked his assistant to listen to her heart as well, and they decided they could hear nothing. She lived to over 15 and never had heart problems.

    It's not the first time I've heard a vet give a sad story about the BARF diet: at an animal heath lecture (a top-up for my breeder's licence) there was one vet who said he'd visited a fairly large breeding kennels and found packs of frozen meat being defrosted over radiators! This was a follow up from when the owner had taken a litter of puppies to him as they were suffering badly from diarrhoea, some so badly that he needed to put them on drips and keep them in the surgery for a day or two. One he'd sent home, and the owner had phoned to say it was ill again so he decided to visit. Three of that litter died, and he gave the owner a sharp lecture on the safe handling of food. He also said he didn't fancy being licked, or his children being licked, by a dog who'd been eating raw chicken, and a lot of people give chicken wings! He said it was a fallacy that freezing kills bacteria: it can kill a few but a domestic freezer only goes down to about -18° C and commercial freezers go to about -30°, faster and safer.

    I think when people eat raw minced steak, as in steak tartare, it is freshly minced so relatively safe, but have my doubts about the raw egg usually placed on top!!! I always think of the Rowan Atkinson “Mr Bean” sketch although his had no raw egg ;-)

    Last edited by Janelise; 05-11-2018 at 08:20 AM.

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