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Scroll your way down to find lots of interesting articles about genetic health

problems in Papillons. All articles are in PDF's and easy to read online or print.

By Andrea Meloon RN - PCA Genetic Research Committee & Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones - Professor-Comparative Ophthalmology

INTRODUCTION : When it comes to eyes, clearly there are different situations that arise and initially cause alarm until further examination. Being a nurse for the last 42 years has helped me take better care of our dogs. There is still something new to learn everyday both in the human and canine world.


By Leona Domino

INTRODUCTION : PRA is a general term for a number of eye diseases. These diseases have included certain features. One is that the diseases begin at a very specific time in each breed. The diseases progress at a very predictable rate. The dogs that are affected with the disease become blind at an age very specific to the breed. Some become blind early, some late. The end result is blindness.

By Stanley A. Sohn, D.V.M.

INTRODUCTION : This article is intended to offer some useful, thought-provoking information about anesthesia.
By definition the word anesthesia means without pain. There are many ways to produce this state in our dogs. The method used is governed by the type of procedure to be performed. The basic types in veterinary medicine are local, epidural, and the most common is general.


As based upon an article written by Clare Rusbridge BVMS Dipomate ECVN MRCVS

and maintained by the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club

Reprinted with permission from :  ( October 2009 )

SYRINGOMYELLA is a condition whereby fluid cavities develop within the spinal cord. Some refer to syringomyelia as "neck scratcher’s disease" because scratching in the air near the neck is a common sign.

CHIARI MALFORMATION is where the back of the skull ( posterior fossa ) is too small resulting in a gap between the skull and the first cervical vertebrae (atlas) in which the cerebellum is herniated out.

Revised September 2007 by C.A. Sharp

​INTRODUCTION : Everyone has heard the phrase, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water." But do dog breeders ever stop to consider how this admonition applies to them? Certainly not the novice who righteously declares that he will never, ever, keep anything that has even the possibility of producing the smallest genetic defect

By : Elaine S. Zech  - Printed in the Top Notch Toys Magazine in May 2009


​INTRODUCTION : In general terms, the Papillon Breed is considered a healthy toy breed, frequently living until age 13 to 17 years of age. Papillons are very intelligent, athletic, and friendly. Papillons are the top performance dog from the toy group,frequently starring in obedience and agility; some Papillons excel in tracking and herding as well.


By : Ronald D. Schultz


​INTRODUCTION :  For many veterinary practitioners canine vaccination programs have been "practice management tools" rather than medical procedures.  Thus, it is not surprising that attempts to change the vaccines and vaccination programs based on scientific information have created great controversy and unique methods of resistance to the proposed changes have been and are being developed.  For some practitioners the issues are not duration of immunity for the vaccines, nor which vaccines are needed for the pet, instead it is felt that every licensed vaccine should be given to every pet on an annual or more often basis.

By Karen M. Tobias DVM


​INTRODUCTION : Portosystemic shunts are a common topic of conversation amongst breeders and owners of small and toy breed dogs.  Congenital portosystemic shunts are being diagnosed with increasing frequency, and many breeders and veterinarians are questioning whether heredity may play a role in the spread of this disease

By : Janet Retenmaier-Heath, DVM, MS 


INTRODUCTION : Patella luxation or femoropatellar instability is a common cause of lameness in dogs. There are varying degrees of the abnormality from a mild instability within the trochlear groove to a complete, irreducible luxation of the patella. Clinical lameness associated with the various degrees may range from intermittent clinical signs to

By : Janet Retenmaier-Heath, DVM, MS 


INTRODUCTION : A luxated patella is a condition in which the kneecap slides out of place. Instead of gliding within the natural groove in the upper bone of the knee joint (the femur) it becomes displaced either to the inside or the outside of the joint.  The displacement, or luxation, can be temporary or permanent, and it can be partial or complete.

By Dr. Simon Petersen-Jones


INTRODUCTION : Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the name given to a group of conditions that are inherited and result in a progressive loss of vision leading to blindness.  The disease targets the photoreceptors in the retina.  These are the cells that convert the picture formed on the retina at the back of the eye into electrical messages that are conveyed to the brain, the retina being the equivalent of the film in a camera.

By George Packard


INTRODUCTION : High anxiety about genetic diseases comes with the territory for anybody who is considered to be a responsible breeder these days. In fact, if you are breeding dogs, and you aren't worried about genetic disease, you'd better hold off on that next mating until you've done your homework.

By : Jerold S. Bell 


INTRODUCTION : There is a tendency for breeders to breed to the male who is the top-winning dog.  This can also occur with a popular dog that has OFA excellent hip conformation, or has produced no epileptic offspring in matings to epileptic dams.  Regardless of the popularity of the breed, if a large portion are breeding to a single stud dog, ( the popular-sire syndrome ), the gene pool will drift in that dog’s direction and there will be a loss of genetic diversity.  Too much breeding to one dog will give the gene pool an extraordinary dose of his genes, and this will include whatever detrimental recessives he may carry, to be uncovered in later generations.  This can cause future breed-related  genetic disease through what is known as the founder’s effect.

By : Jerold S. Bell 


INTRODUCTION : Genetic defects are controlled by single, or a handful of genes, compared with the estimated 40,000 to 100,000 genes in the dog genome.  Prudent breeding practices dictate that you  do not throw the puppy out with the bath water in genetic disease control.  With the development of gene probe identification of defective genes and tests for carriers of defective genes, practical genetic counseling can be provided to dog breeders.

By : Jerold S. Bell 


INTRODUCTION : Knowledge of the pedigree spread of defective genes allows researchers to determine the population at risk for genetic counseling.  With the exportation of animals, and semen, we need a global view of genetic epidemiology.  Most breed clubs can provide researchers with computerized pedigree databases for population genetic studies.


By : Jerold S. Bell 


INTRODUCTION : As breeders, you engage in genetic "experiments" each time you plan a mating. The type of mating selected should coincide with your goals.  Outbreeding brings together two animals less related than the average for the breed. This promotes more heterozygosity, and usually more variation in a litter.  A reason to outbreed would be to bring in new genes or traits that your breeding stock does not possess.  Outbreeding can also mask the expression of recessive genes, and allow their propagation in the carrier state.

By : Jerold S. Bell 


INTRODUCTION : Polygenic disorders have been difficult for breeders to manage.  Examples are hip dysplasia, many congenital heart defects, and epilepsy.  To manage them, they must be considered as threshold traits.  A number of genes must combine to cross a threshold producing an affected individual.  If phenotypically normal parents produce affected offspring, both should be considered to carry a genetic load that combined to cause the disorder.



   While Papillons are generally a healthy breed, there are known genetic problems that affect

   some individuals.

   The goal of this Committee is to enlighten the breeding community and the general

   public about the types of problems that can occur, in the hopes we can all work

   together to reduce their incidence. 

 PCA Health & Genetic Committee       

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