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Health

We support AKC Canine Health Foundation/Canine Health Information Center program and obtain CHIC number for all our breeding dogs.  In accordance with Black Russian Terrier Club of America, Inc. (www.brtca.org) guidelines, to get a CHIC number a BRT must be tested for OFA hips, elbows and heart (cardiologist exam is preferred), and CERF eyes.  Only Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has the authority to certify hips and elbows of BRTs in US, regular veterinarians do not qualify to clear dogs of hip or elbow dysplasia. 

We are proud to have played an active role in club's enrollment in CHIC program (Elena was member of BRTCA Health, as well as Standard, committee at the time).

 

The biggest health problem in Black Russian is hip and elbow dysplasia.   In Russian Guard we breed only dogs with both hips and elbows certified healthy.  It does not guarantee that puppies will be free of CHD/ED but it increases their chances to be healthy dogs.  Due to limited gene pool some dogs with mild or moderate dysplasia are bred but we don't feel comfortable doing that.  Unfortunately, some breeders make false claims about certification on their dogs.  Ask to see copies of certificates if dogs had been evaluated recently, have preliminary results for dogs evaluated just under two years of age or verify information on Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website www.offa.org/search.htmlVery few dogs are being X-rayed in Russia, and usually for hips only.  Not being lame is not a proof of having good joints, especially considering the advanced veterinary care.

 

Eye problems, in our opinion, are not common in the breed but we certify our dogs though don't send in the forms on the spayed dogs (exams are done by board-certified ophthalmologist, so you have results right away, CERF is only a registry).   Vasilisa's mother Erata-Ares is the oldest BRT to pass CERF (eye) certification, at age 11.5  years. 

 

Latest research shows increasing problems with heart, like cardiomyopathy which causes sudden death in puppies or young dogs but very little information exists on how widespread it is in the breed.  We try to have our dogs tested by board-certified cardiologist because we don't feel that evaluation by regular vet has enough merit to be submitted to OFA.  Cardiomyopathy can not be detected by just listening to the heart, but requires  ECHO cardiogram, done by a specialist.

 

There are cases of chondrodysplasia in the breed but very limited information is available and Health committee of  Black Russian Terrier Club of America (BRTCA, Inc.), AKC Parent Club for the breed, is collecting data about this problem.  Unfortunately Russian breeders refuse to admit it and we get information by bits and pieces.  

 

There had been several BRTs diagnosed with Addison's disease, make sure to mention it to your vet if s/he suspects a kidney problem.  Some dogs died because of the delayed diagnosis.  Properly diagnosed, Addison's is manageable and does not shorten dog's life, but expensive to treat.  So far BRTCA Health committee was unable to track down any familiar links.

 

We also test our dogs for Huperuricosuria, HUU, using lab at UC Davis, and breed to not produce affected dogs. If you would like to talk to owners of dogs who form stones, we can put you in touch with them for their point of view on the problem



Please contact Elena at Rusguard@aol.com if you are BRT owner or a breeder and have health-related information or questions. 

 

 

 

 

 

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