DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) Testing

DM which stands for Degenerative Myelopathy is a inherited disease that can affect Chesapeake Bay Retrievers as well as some other breeds. It is often compared to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a slowly progressive neurological disease that affects the myelin and spinal cord of dogs which leads to rear leg weakness, muscle atrophy which then may lead to paralysis. It occurs slowly over a period of months and usually doesn’t affect dogs under the age of five but can be seen in dogs between 8-14 years. The first signs of a problem are difficulty in the hind end when getting up and when gets worse the dog will drag his hind feet resulting in wearing of the back nails.

Before 2008 there wasn’t a mutation that causes dogs to be at risk for DM identified nor a test, as of July 21, 2008 a DNA test has been available for breeders and pet owners, along with information about what the test can and cannot tell them. The test clearly identifies dogs that are clear (have 2 normal copies of the gene), those who are carriers (have one normal copy of the gene and one mutated copy of the gene), and those who are at much higher risk for developing DM (have 2 mutated copies of the gene). However, having two mutated copies of the gene does not necessarily result in disease.

Being a breeder I test my own dogs for DM so I know their status when picking a breeding partner. I feel this is being a responsible breeder. Testing for DM and having the results is another tool when looking at available dogs out there to breed to. You want to make the most informed decisions when it comes to breeding and you want to pair up the dogs correctly so that you can breed hopefully genetically sound dogs. When pairing two dogs for breeding you want to pair either clear dogs together, clear with carrier or clear with at risk. You wouldn’t want to breed two carriers together, a carrier to a at risk or two at risks together, by doing those breeding’s you are knowingly breeding dogs that could produce a dog that may come down with DM.


I tested Glory for DM and she tested clear. I could pick any stud dog with any DM result to breed to. I used all the tools I had and picked Thunder from 2browndawgs to be the stud. He tested carrier but that was ok because as I said earlier you can breed a clear to a carrier and the results of the puppies will be either  clear or carrier. Being that I am going to keep a puppy from this breeding as a future breeder of Sand Spring Chesapeakes I would like to keep another clear female for breeding. In order to know which puppy(s) are clear I need to test all the females, since I was testing all the females I went ahead and tested the males also because I wanted to know what they were and then I could also tell the new puppy owners the results so they would have them.

First I needed to order the test kits from OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) you can order them here.

Once I got the test kits I then needed to test each puppy. When testing the dog/puppy shouldn’t have anything to eat or drink for about a hour.

The test kit comes with a sterile swab for collecting saliva which contains cheek cells and a FTA test card designed to capture and bind DNA samples for future processing. You take the swab and put it in the side of the puppies mouth rubbing the swab around the cheek pouch for about 5-10 seconds, you can rub each side of the swab along the cheek.

Once collected you want to press the swab within the circular area on the FTA card making sure the saliva is transferred onto the card, to make sure this has happened the card when dries a bit will turn white. Each card is also identified with a number for each puppy. You want to make sure you don’t touch the swab to any other substance where contamination may happen.

The cards should be set aside away from any wind and allowed to air dry for about a hour before you package them up and put them in the mail.

You can read the full instructions here. It may take 2-3 weeks to get results. I won’t be looking at a potential puppy for me to keep until I get the results.

Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 5

Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 5

First we started out with a puppy shower thanks to Glory’s aunties in Canada. Auntie Jill and Patti send her a box of goodies for her and the puppies and of course a bag of jerky for me to keep a wake during the whelp. I didn’t get to see if it worked for keeping me awake as I ate the whole bag before she whelped. Thanks gals!

Gambler had to check out the goods and he even got his own spray.

A couple weeks ago I wrote Part 1 of Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding. If you missed it you can read the full version here. The short version is: I talked about preparing your dog for breeding by doing genetic tests, other tests that can be done, picking a stud dog, the heat cycle of the bitch, breeding and implanting of the eggs. Part 2 I talked about pregnancy confirmation, a app on my phone that you can follow along and read what is happening, the food I was feeding her and milk development. If you want to read the full version here. Part 3 I talked about proper feeding and being able to xray to determine how many puppies might be delivered as well as talked about getting the whelping box out and Glory used to it. If you want to read the full version here. Part 4 I talked about Glory nesting, how to tell when she will deliver and the whelping box. You can read the full version here. I told you by the end of the post she may deliver and she did.

So where are we at with Glory’s breeding?

We are at delivery time. I told you in part 4 I had a list of whelping supplies ready. Here is the list:

Hemostat (for clamping the umbilical cord before cutting of if needed), Sterile Gloves (for vaginal exams or help getting puppies out of canal), DeeLee Mucus Trap (a mucus aspirator for deeper suctioning), Iodine (to didinfect the umbilical cord stump), Suture Matierial or Dental Floss (to tie off the umbilical cord if needed), Sissors (to cut the cord), Paper/Pen (to keep tract of information, sex, time weight ect.), KY Lubricant (for vaginal exams), Feeding Tube and Milk Replacer (for puppies that aren’t drinking well from mom or from a bottle), Baby Bottle (to supplement feedings if needed), Scale (weighing pups each day to make sure growing), ID Bands (of course got my paracord collars ready), Flashlight/leash (for potty breaks and to make sure no puppies are born outside while urinating), Towels (to help dry off puppies), Ice Cream (great energy boost for mom), Friends (to stay up with you in the middle of the night for moral support and to share the great experience with) – (thank you to Amy who was a million miles away but with me during the whole delivery and to my boss Brenda who was there for all my questions).

It was Friday evening and Glory was panting more, she was more clingy she wanted to lay by me which she didn’t want to do in the earlier days of her pregnancy. Her backend was preparing for delivery it had a rounder appearance her tail was held lower. She didn’t want to eat and was very restless. I knew she was going to have the puppies but I thought like Murphy’s law she would have them in the middle of the night. At 10:40 she started pushing I knew the time was here. She was now in Stage 2 of labor. When Nellie delivered she was always laying down so when Glory started squatting like she was going to urinate I was wondering if she was really going to have it, she then started trying to walk around so I followed her with my towels and catcher’s mitt and sure enough she had one nearly standing up. I managed to capture a video of the first one being born so if you care to see the delivery of a puppy you can watch it here. The video doesn’t show the complete birth, it shows her squatting, the puppy coming out and then I had to put the camera down to catch it and help her out. The first one was a big girl and it hurt as Glory squealed and tried to run away so I had to take the sac off the face, wipe it down and get it breathing. I then had to tie off the umbilical cord, cut the cord and put some iodine on it. This is where my list of supply’s came in handy. The first puppy was born at 10:52 pm Pink Girl 15.3oz about 20 minutes later the second one was born which was Blue Male 13.1oz,

12:15 am on 7/11/15 the third female was born which passed away. 12:19 am the fourth Yellow Female 8.5oz,


12:40 am fifth Lime Green Female 15.3oz,


12:55 am sixth Orange Female 10.9oz,



1:10 seventh Red Female 9.3oz,

1:39 eighth Purple Female 12.3oz,

3:23 am ninth Black Male 16.4oz,

3:44 tenth Camo Male 15.7oz.

She was done. You can see it all happened pretty fast with a small break before the last two. It isn’t uncommon to have a larger break between puppies. If she is resting it’s ok to have a delay but if she is pushing and having contractions with no puppy coming out for over a hour then you need to them to the vet to get help. At this time a c-section may be in order, or if the sack of the puppy keeps coming out and going back in you may be able to retrieve it with ky jelly and gloves while manually pulling it out. Puppies are normally born head and front feet first but they may be delivered breach (back feet first) if this happens they may get stuck and need help getting out. Stage 3 of labor is characterized by the expulsion of the placenta. The bitch will normally try and eat the placenta but you should take most of them away from her so she doesn’t become sick. She should expel a placenta for each puppy if a placenta is retained she may get postpartum metritis. After she is done whelping it is good to get a “clean out” shot which is a injection of oxytocin to have the bitch have some contractions again to help expel all the placenta’s.

Once Glory was done delivering she stayed in her whelping box and took care of her puppies by cleaning them, nudging them, and watching over them. She was a natural mom and also a very protective mom. During this event Gambler and Nellie were locked up in the bedroom with John. When they all came down in the morning Glory let it be known that these puppies were hers and to stay away from them. She leaves the box to go outside and potty then she races back in to care for the puppies. Stay tuned for part 6 Postpartum and Postnatal Care

Thank you all for all the well wishes!


We are joining Linda at 2browndawgs and Jodi at Heart Like A Dog for this great blog hop.

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Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 2

Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 2

A couple weeks ago I wrote Part 1 of Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding. If you missed it you can read the full version here. The short version is: I talked about preparing your dog for breeding by doing genetic tests, other tests that can be done, picking a stud dog, the heat cycle of the bitch, breeding and implanting of the eggs. I left off at palpating for pregnancy and doing a ultrasound for confirming a pregnancy.

Pregnancy confirmation can be done by palpation a experienced person should be able to palpate the fetuses between 20-30 days after last mating. A blood test and ultrasound can be done at 25 days.  Pregnancy or gestation is usually 56-66 days with a average length of 63 days.

I did take Glory to work with me on June 4th to have her palpated for pregnancy. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a 100% conformation that she is pregnant. My boss felt her uterus which you can’t do normally so that might be a good sign or it could mean she is in a false pregnancy. She was just a little to chubby to get a good feel. She isn’t eating like she should which is another good sign but again might be hormones from a false pregnancy. Glory is also being really affectionate which is another good sign that she is pregnant. Then on June 8th 29 days from when Thunder bred Glory a ultrasound was done. If you missed the post about the results you can read it here. I will also tell you the results which confirmed a pregnancy.

So where are we at with Glory’s breeding?

We are at week five out of a 8-9 week pregnancy. At this point I can defiantly tell that Glory is pregnant. Her belly area is rounder, her boobs are getting bigger, if you didn’t know her you would think she gained a ton of weight, lucky for her (and me) it is pregnancy weight.

I have a app on my phone called WhelpHelp. It is a app that you put in the breeding date and it will tell you what should be happening on certain days. On June 11th, 32 days into her pregnancy it told me that I should start to increase Glory’s food ration but not to overfeed. Excessive weight gain should be avoided. The fetuses are now fully developed miniature dogs. It’s been fun following along with this app to see how correct it is and so far it’s been pretty accurate.

Glory is being fed Pro Plan Sport this is a performance food which means it has higher calories than normal maintenance food. I will continue her on this food and increase the amount of food I feed her. She needs extra calories to support the growth of the fetuses and to produce milk to support the puppies after birth. I will keep letting her get some exercise so she stays somewhat in shape.

Glory’s abdomen will continue to enlarge during the 6-7 weeks of pregnancy then around the 8th week of pregnancy her mammary glands will enlarge and milk may appear on the nipples.

Stayed tuned for Part 3 where I talk about whelping a litter. 28 days left!

Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 1

Where Are We At With Glory’s Breeding? Part 1

I’m told I’m to be resting.

I’m going to back track a bit to the beginning for a moment so those who haven’t been following along since the beginning know the phases of Glory’s breeding and will finish with where we are at now and what comes next.

I have been planning this breeding with Glory since last December 2014. Glory has had her health clearances done a head of time so I didn’t have to get any of that done. The tests I have done on Glory are genetic tests that should be done before you even think about breeding. Genetic diseases can be passed on to the offspring . You need to research your breed of dog and what genetic diseases they can come down with, what tests are available and have them done so you know what you are working with when breeding your dog.

(This is a condensed list, I plan on doing a reproduction series in the future that will explain more about what each test involves)

The genetic tests that are recommended for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are:
• OFA Hip and Elbow Radiographs
• CAER (OFA Eye Certification Registry) formulary known as CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation)
• DM (Degenerative myelopathy ) a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs.
• EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) muscle weakness, incoordination which can lead to life-threatening collapse after small amount of exercise.
• prcd-PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) disease of the eye that caused the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time.

Other tests that can be done are:
• Shoulder and Knee Radiographs
• Cardiac exam
• Long coat gene
• ED/SF (Congenital Ectodermal Dysplasia/Skin Fragility Syndrome) a skin disease that is self limiting- which means if you produce an affected puppy it will most likely die within hours of birth.

Once you do the genetic tests on your dog you need to look for a stud dog that complements your dog in structure, temperament, working ability and other desirable qualities. You then need to compare the genetic tests and breed accordingly .

After you pick your stud, line up the breeding then you wait for your bitch (female dog) to come into heat (estrus). Female dogs come into heat usually twice a year every 6-8 months (except Basenji and Rhodesian Ridgeback that cycle once a year).

The heat cycle according to Wikipedia: Dogs
A female dog is diestrous and goes into heat typically twice every year, although some breeds typically have one or three cycles a year. The proestrus is relatively long at 5–7 days (9 days), while the estrus may last 4–13 days, with a diestrus of 60 days followed by about 90–150 days of anestrus. Female dogs bleed during estrus, which usually lasts from 7–13 days, depending on the size and maturity of the dog. Ovulation occurs 24–48 hours after the luteinizing hormone peak, which is somewhere around the fourth day of estrus; therefore, this is the best time to begin breeding. Proestrus bleeding in dogs is common and is believed to be caused by diapedesis of red blood cells from the blood vessels due to the increase of the estradiol-17β hormone.[13]

Once the breeding takes place and the bitch ovulates her eggs it takes 24-72 hours for the eggs to mature, for this reason if doing natural breeding you should do multiple breedings to have the male dogs semen there at the right time for fertilization. Once mature and fertilized the eggs float around in the bitches uterus until about 17-21 days when they start to implant into the lining of the uterus. At this time their placenta develops and are called fetuses. Pregnancy confirmation can be done by palpation a experienced person should be able to palpate the fetuses between 20-30 days after last mating. A blood test and ultrasound can be done at 25 days. Pregnancy or gestation is usually 56-66 days with a average length of 63 days.

Right now Glory is at the implanting stage. She is at day 17 of her breeding. During this time we don’t want to stress her out so she is relaxing and hopefully implanting little poopy puppies. Next week I may take her to the clinic to be palpated and then a ultrasound the week after.



We are joining Linda at 2browndawgs and Jodi at Heart Like A Dog for this great blog hop.

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