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  #1  
Old 11-03-2010, 07:32 PM
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Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

Is anyone looking at a genetic component to ACL injuries or is it just accepted that large, working dogs will likely suffer an ACL injury at some point even if they are structurally correct and conditioned? Are breeders giving these injuries consideration in their breeding programs?
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Last edited by MaineRottweiler; 11-03-2010 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Incorrect spelling
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2010, 09:35 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

ACL injuries seem to have a couple causes in this (and other large breeds) there are those caused by injury (ie deep snow crazies, falls, slipping twists, playing with other dogs and being rammed or stepping in holes

and

those with no obvious cause ie I boarded Labradors for a breeder years back and her dogs commonly blew or tore knees just trotting across the lawn

and homeopathic vets feel that knees injuries can also be vaccine related or nutrition related

I personally would not breed a dog who blew or tore a knee for no obvious reason or whom had family members that did.

I don't think I'd have a problem with a dog that injured a knee with an obvious reason or with family members that did (none of my breeding dogs have had knee injuries but a small number of family members have had traumatic injuries that caused a torn knee)

However I DO keep track of such things so that I'd be aware quickly of a trend happening
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2010, 08:56 AM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

There is thought to be a relationship between age of neutering and ACL rupture, since early neutering (before full physical maturity) removes the major sources of testosterone from the body which delays closure of the growth plates, which is why dogs neutered early end up taller and leggier than those neutered after maturity.

There are also some conformational leg types which can predispose to ACL injury, especially dogs who are "out at the knee", i.e. dogs whose stifles point away from the body instead of forwards or inwards, since conformation is related to genetics, this is one genetic component, at least.

Environment plays a huge role, a very high percentage of the ruptures we see at the vet clinic I work at are dogs who are overweight and underexercised, and who get the exercise they DO get as bursts of high-level activity (racing around the back yard, for example, which is often where the injury occurs), and little or no longer-distance/longer-duration moderate activity (walking or trotting).
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2010, 07:16 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

This an 18 month old male who is in very good shape, jogs five miles three or four times a week and on alternate days is working on retrieving up hills and playing hard. He's in training for AD this Spring. He's relatively correct conformationally, he's V2 rated at AIRK National and moves well. He's fed a raw diet 80/10/10 and whatever looks good from the table just because he's a cool pup. He's been minimally vaccinated and get preventatives for F/T & HW every 45 days.

He has not suffered a tear at this point. He is on crate rest (oh, is that a treat) and NSAIDS for two weeks before re-valuation at the clinic I work at. I just wondered if this is: a.) poor conditioning on my part, b.) a flaw in his diet, c.) plain bad luck, or d.) GENETICS. I'm trying to research occurrences in his pedigree and don't have anything to compare to. What's average? Who is anyone is keeping track of the trend and how will we know if there is a trend if no one is keeping track or if everyone just accepts that it's a real likelihood. I'm just having a difficult time finding comparative data.
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2010, 07:22 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

knock on wood...i have been lucky or have a strong rear on my guys. with all the flyball and agility, have not had one yet.

but we see mostly neutered early age or dogs with straighter stifles come in with most cruciate issues at our clinics. some from injury and some from just everyday life.
conditioning and weight plays an important part.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:11 AM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

I noticed you said your boy was 18 months old. How long have you been pushing him that hard? He is a young dog, you could be upping his risk of injury just by pushing him too far before he has finished developing. I'm not an expert, maybe someone else will know more about that topic then I do. I just know from reading previous threads it isn't advised to push a young dog too hard with exercise.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:27 AM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

yes, he still is a bit young for excessive exercise. his plates might have just closed, but is best to start slowly and build them up to avoid early tears and injuries.
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2010, 06:23 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

We worked up to it slowly. He is in very good shape and is not pushed hard. He works one day and plays the next. He isn't asked to work daily. He is warmed up well. Lots of Rottweilers have their AD by 18 months so training must have begun before that. This youngster isn't even doing a half of an AD run and isn't even within qualifying speed. One must maintain over 7mph and we aren't going that fast.
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2010, 06:48 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

From memory; Christine Zink linked early neutering with increased risk of acl ruptures in her study.
With regard to the Labradors Frontierrots mentioned - that sound appalling !
I believe there must be a genetic component though. I know of at least one breeder who's dogs (of their breeding) seem to have a disproportionate amount of torn cruciates. This is regardless of whether they still live with the breeder or not, otherwise you could argue perhaps it's the environment. It just seems too common in some 'lines' to not be genetic.
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:42 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

That's my thinking too. That's why I am trying to determine if any breeders are really taking notice. I'm also hoping to see if anyone can point out particular lines or pairings which have proven problematic. I guess no one is really taking note at this point. It's not crippling and dogs don't drop dead from it so it doesn't beg for attention.
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2010, 08:49 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

There are loads of breeders paying attention. In our own experience, we have seen it run closely in family lines. We had none for the first 10 years or so, then three in one litter. None again for awhile and then an unrelated bitch and both a son and daughter blew one (the bitch's breedings were done before her ACL tear of course and, in this case, we decided to stop the family there). In other lines, we haven't ever seen one for generations, no matter how hard a dog has worked, how crazy or lazy it's been, how over/under angulated etc. Other breeders I talk to mention noticing the same trends.

In my opinion, ACLs are one of the most prevelant problems in our breed, save perhaps early onset cancer. The reason that we feel so strongly about this is that nearly every dog with a torn ACL ends up in pain (ie. it's diagnosed because the dog favors the leg). In the large marjority of cases it requires either an expensive surgery or a life that is more limited than we personally care to see for our pups. Neither HD or ED is so widely debilitating or so costly to owners, yet there are still breeders who routinely remove from their breeding programs sound dogs who have hip or elbow gradings which they find unacceptable only to breed dogs who require surgical repair to stay sound

When it comes to our own breeding decisions, a dog has either blown an ACL or it has not. The why doesn't really matter to me. The times we've watched breeders reason away the "why" as an injury, the result was almost always another one in the next generation or the one after. Because of this, many are now taking ACLs into consideration when planning breedings, right alongside health screenings, dentition, temperament, overall longevity etc. If they are not, they should be.

That all said, you cannot blame a breeders when they encounter a problem as often they don't know there is one until it manifests itself. Even after one or two incidences of a fault, it typically takes seeing a trend before a breeder should stop using a line completely. To throw every line out for every unexpected or unwanted trait would result in the end of our breed. However, once a breeder does notice an undesirable trend in a family line, the responsible thing is to take a step back and re-evaluate whether these are the dogs we should go on breeding.

Just my 2 cents.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:10 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

We've had 9 blown/torn cruciates over 19 years. No dog that blew or tore a knee was ever bred from or to
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:12 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

Anne, this is exactly what I wanted to know. I'm trying to decide if I should quit showing him, castrate him, leave him at home to be the family dog and keep looking.
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:25 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

Just because a dog isn't going to be bred doesn't mean he shouldn't have a busy and meaningful life. I'd say fix the ACL and do whatever you planned to do with him originally. Each of those activities is a learning experience that will gain you experience and allow you to meet wonderful people and dogs along the way. Have fun with him and let life take you wherever it takes you
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:46 PM
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Re: Genetic component to ACL Injuries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaineRottweiler View Post
Anne, this is exactly what I wanted to know. I'm trying to decide if I should quit showing him, castrate him, leave him at home to be the family dog and keep looking.
If he does have a torn ACL and you decided to have it repaired, depending on what method you use, to continue showing him may be against AKC rules. Take a look at the Rules Applying to Dog shows, I think either chapture 10 or 11 talks about surgery and eligiblity.
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