Health Testing and Nutrition
We discuss our health testing for breeding purposes, breed known specific health issues, and offer our advice for the nutritional care your new Conquistador K-9 Presa Canario.
Nutrition is the key
We firmly believe in ensuring our dogs not just survive off of the nutritional plan we provide, but that they THRIVE. Nutrition can play a role in the development of many animal health conditions, particularly when it corrects a deficiency. For Conquistador K-9 nutrition of all developmental stages and working conditions are addressed individually in our Presa Canario, from fetus to senior and from therapy K-9 to daily cattle working dogs.
It is our role as their care takers to ensure we offer them the best possible sustenance so we can to promote a long, healthy, happy life. At Conquistador K-9, we have partnered up with our local all-natural, holistic pet nutrition experts at The Green Spot. Listen, they depend on US to make all their nutritional decisions.
The Green Spot has dedicated years to direct research in Presa Canario nutrition working directly with us and our dogs. We work exclusively with this organization to develop the best possible nutrition plan for our furfamily. It is constantly being revised and updated as new information and research becomes available, not unlike how we continue to grow in our understanding of healthy human nutrition.
Even though science continues to provide us with new information, and our nutrition experts are always proving new and advanced options for our Conquistador K-9 Presa Canarios, there are a few basic rules we live by when expressing the overall nutrition plan for our program. The biggest question we answer is "What do you feed?", see item #1 below.
1.) Rotation in the diet is key, even if you feed the same brand, find different offerings within this brand and switch frequently. We do not recommend staying with the same brand, but you should maintain quality.
2.) Human grade food is superior, period.
3.) A balanced raw diet is the best possible option, however high quality baked products should be your second go-too. Price does not always indicate quality, speak with our nutrition experts to find out more about your options.
4.) Portion control is directly related to weight control, monitor them both with your K-9's exercise regimen. You may find that changing your feeding portions is in order based on many factors that are changing your your K-9's world. Evaluate this often.
5.) Utilize nutritional supplementation or changes in conjunction with traditional vet medicine to address problems, especially with gastrointestinal or skin issues. A magic pill or surgery is NOT always the best answer.
Common Health Issues of the
Health problems common in the Presa Canario include orthopedic conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and panosteitis, as well as eye problems, hypothyroidism, demodectic mange, epilepsy and cryptorchidism (or a single testicle or testicle retained inside the body). Bloat is also common, as well as ligament tears.
The breed club, Dogo-Canario Club of America (DCCA) has compiled significant information about common or known health issues, however frequency of occurrence is unknown.
While quality breeders do test prospective parent dogs for defective genes -- and avoid breeding them if there are defects -- the broad problem of defects continues to grow as current breeding practices narrow the gene pool ever further.
At Conquistador K-9 we believe the solution to this problem is to change the way purebred dogs are bred, and the strategies to do this have been in practice for decades in the breeding of many other species of domestic animals. In fact, these strategies have been used for generations in the breeding of service dogs such as guide dogs, which need health, long life, and very specific attributes of size, coat, temperament, intelligence, etc. There is no reason why these techniques can't be used by ALL dog breeders, where they will reduce genetic disorders and improve the ability of breeders to produce happy, healthy puppies with the breed-specific traits the breeder wants.
If we're going to start breeding for the future, we need to make some adjustments in the way we do things and also learn some new techniques that will improve the set of tools breeders have to work with. Breeders will need to cooperate more, because they need to monitor and protect the gene pool of the breed, without which there is nothing. There needs to be more transparency about health issues; we can't manage them if we don't know about them, and damage to the gene pool affects everybody. We'll need some new computational tools and some statistical expertise, both of which are available. And we need a critical mass of breeders who recognize that road we're on right now goes nowhere, and that a tweak of trajectory will put us on a path that will produce healthier dogs that better represent the best qualities of their breed, and that can live long, happy lives doing what they were meant to do.
It is common in dog breeding to hear the term "health tested", however what is uncommon is to actually extrapolate what exactly that is referring too. Here, we attempt to dive into some of the basic testing that is performed to evaluate breeding soundness, and frankly, what advantages the genetic make-up of our dogs will add to not only our bloodline gene pool, but also the gene pool of the breed as a whole.
There are many more known mutations for which we have NO DNA tests. We can't just ignore that these exist. DNA tests are not "health" tests, they are mutation tests. Doing all relevant DNA tests for a dog is not the equivalent of a "healthy dog" seal of approval, yet this is how the phrase "health tested" is interpreted by the lay person and potential puppy-buyer, and unfortunately also by many breeders.
Here, we look not only at health, but also temperament,
intelligence, and conformation. It is not possible for us to create our version of the perfect Presa Canario, as we will always find something we feel we can improve upon. Therefore, in our program we find faults not something to hide or be ashamed of, but something to discuss, explore and scientifically experiment with.
Some basic items we begin looking at when performing evaluations of potential breeding candidates ALWAYS include, but are not limited too:
CBC Blood Panel
Hip, Elbow, Knee and Spinal X-Rays
Nt-proBNP Blood Test
Complete Reproductive Tract Exam via Ultrasound
Complete Physical Exam (heart, lungs, vitals, ect)
Complete pedigree review with known hereditary or other health issues of any relatives
Complete co-efficiency review of dog/bitch, we will never breed over 15%