Canine Health and Longevity Program

We value our canine friends and want them to have healthy, long lived, happy lives. One major focus we have is producing pups that have both health and longevity. Quality dogs aren’t produced by accident. It takes education, testing, and commitment. By testing, we can totally eliminate the risk of some diseases and greatly reduce the odds of acquiring other diseases. In order to achieve optimal health, we have created a Canine Health and Longevity Program. This is a two pronged program. First, as breeders, we do all we can to use superior genetics to produce pups. We also try to use current science and research to give those pups an optimal early start on life. Secondly, we encourage you, as an owner, to partner with us in continuing to raise your dog in an optimal environment. We try to educate you, so if you choose to, you can contribute to your dog’s health and longevity.

As a breeder:
Every breed of dog has health issues. It is better to face this fact than to pretend there are no issues. Not testing the parents is just irresponsible breeding.  We feel that breeders, who don’t test their parent dogs, are either ignorant of the issues or more interested in their bottom line than in their owners and the pups they produce. Yes, testing the parents isn’t a guarantee the pups will have lifetime health, but it gives the pups much better odds. It is very expensive to test, but we think both you and your dog are worth the investment. Many good breeders attempt to produce healthy pups, but we don’t know of any breeder going to the lengths we do to ensure graceful aging and longevity.

This our testing program.

Golden Retrievers Parents

Problem Test Name Testing
Hip Dysplasia PennHIP 3 x-rays Vet Practitioner

There are two main types of hip testing programs, OFA and PennHIP. OFA rates the dogs they say are breedable as fair, good, and excellent. Only 4% of the dogs are excellent. 50% of the OFA good dogs will get osteoarthritis as they age. This can be very painful and difficult to treat. PennHIP is a much more expensive test but their research indicates that 0% of dogs that have 0.3 or tighter hips will have osteoarthritis. We are using PennHIP and attempting to breed tighter and tighter hips in hopes that as your dog ages it will never get osteoarthritis.

Please be aware that 20-30% of the variation you see among dogs in hip scores is accounted for by genetics.  It means that 70-80% of the variation is from environmental causes, some of which breeders and owners can control.  that genetics accounts for only 20-30% of genetics.   Environmental component are growth rate as a puppy, food consumption, weight, sex, the type and amount of exercise, and other things

 

Problem Test Name Testing
Cataracts CERF or OFA eye exam Veterinarian Ophthalmologist

This can affect your dog’s vision.

Problem Test Name Testing
Elbow Dysplasia OFA Elbows 2 x-rays (right and left) Vet Practitioner

This can make movement painful or difficult.

Problem Test Name Testing
Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) OFA SAS Veterinarian Cardiologist or practioner

This cardiac condition can lead to sudden death, even at a very young age.

Problem Test Name Testing
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (Prcd-PRA) Prcd-PRA DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

PRA is a progressive blindness that occurs later in life. If breeders don’t screen for it, by the time it occurs in the offspring of their parents, the parents will often have produced many pups and already be retired from their breeding program. So waiting to have an affected pup to see if your lines carry this problem is a very bad idea. It should be tested for and is 100% preventable.  This type of PRA is seen more commonly in non-English golden retrievers.   At Optigen 8% of golden retrievers carry this disease.

Problem Test Name Testing
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GRA-PRA1) GRA-PRA1 DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

PRA is a progressive blindness that occurs later in life. If breeders don’t screen for it, by the time it occurs in the offspring of their parents the parents will often have produced many pups and already be retired from their breeding program. So waiting to have an affected pup to see if your lines carry this problem is a very bad idea. It should be tested for and is 100% preventable.  Antegene say 5% of goldens carry this disorder.   This disease is seen most commonly in English golden retrievers.

Problem Test Name Testing
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (GRA-PRA2) GRA-PRA2 DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

PRA is a progressive blindness that occurs later in life. If breeders don’t screen for it, by the time it occurs in the offspring of their parents the parents will often have produced many pups and already be retired from their breeding program. So waiting to have an affected pup to see if your lines carry this problem is a very bad idea. It should be tested for and is 100% preventable.  Antegene say 3% of goldens carry this disorder.

 

Problem Test Name Testing
Improper Coat.  It can be hard to tell in a young puppy what it will look like as an adult. Improper Coat IC13 DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

We test for Improper Coat on select dogs.  Sometimes a dog can have the appearance of a Comfort Retriever as a puppy but have a different look as they get older.   When we think we have a litter at risk for not having the proper coat type we DNA test.

 

ddc

 

Problem Test Name Testing
Curl Gene.  It can be hard to tell in a young puppy what it will look like as an adult. Curl Gene DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

We test for the curl gene on select dogs.  Sometimes a dog can have the appearance of a Comfort Retriever as a puppy but have a different look as they get older.   When we think we have a litter at risk for not having the proper coat type we DNA test.

 

Problem Test Name Testing
Ichthyosis Ichthyosis (ICT-A) DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

Ichthyosis is a skin condition that it cant be cured and there is  no good treatment for.   It should be tested for and is 100% preventable.

As of yet there is no genetic testing where we can eliminate the risk of cancers.  All of our parent dogs must be healthy (including never have had cancer) to be  in our program.  There was an interesting report published in International Canine Biology by Carol Beuchat PhD that seemed to show a correlation between height of the dog at the withers and mortality rates from cancer.  The larger dogs had a higher risk.  We are hoping this helps give our dogs a little edge of being at a lower risk for cancers than a standard golden retriever.

Poodle Parents

Problem Test Name Testing
Hip Dysplasia PennHIP 3 x-rays Vet Practitioner

Although, in general, mini poodles don’t have hip dysplasia, the quality of their hip conformation is very important, since they will be bred to a golden retriever, goldendoodle, or comfort retriever®. The tighter their hips the better chance we have of producing a tight hipped dog with reduced risk for osteoarthritis.

Problem Test Name Testing
Cataracts CERF Veterinarian Ophthalmologist

This can affect your dog’s vision.

Problem Test Name Testing
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (Prcd-PRA) Prcd-PRA DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

PRA is a progressive blindness that occurs later in life. If breeders don’t screen for it, by the time it occurs in the offspring of their parents the parents will often have produced many pups and already be retired from their breeding program. So waiting to have an affected pup to see if your lines carry this problem is a very bad idea. It should be tested for and is 100% preventable.

Problem Test Name Testing
Luxating Patella OFA Patellas Palpation Vet Practitioner

This is a disorder where the knee cap pops out of place. It can cause pain and limited mobility.

 

 

 

Problem Test Name Testing
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWd) vWd DNA Breeder or Veterinarian

This is a bleeding disorder.

Goldendoodle and Comfort Retriever® Parents
Since goldendoodles and comfort retrievers® are poodle x goldens crosses, we test for all of the above golden and poodle diseases that are appropriate.

Other Longevity Measures

 

coeffient of inbreeding

Our goal is to very low COI’s to give our dogs have best odds for long lives. COI stands for Coefficient of Inbreeding.  Essentially, it measures the common ancestors of dam and sire, and indicates the probability of how genetically similar they are.  Dogs with higher COI’s live on average two years less than dogs with low COI’s.    You can review study’s report based on golden retrievers at:  http://www.undeniablegoldens.com/COI.html


We strive for puppies with excellent temperament. Temperament is very dependent on the parent’s temperaments. Our parents have excellent temperaments. Proper rearing and upbringing is critical in helping the pup develop good socialization skills. We raise our dog optimally to give you the best temperaments possible. We temperament test our pups to assure they are a good fit for your family. A 4 on the Volhard scale is the kind of dog that makes the perfect pet. A 4 dog is the best choice for the first time owner and rarely will fight to become the head of the family “pack”. They are easy to train and rather quiet.  These dogs are good with elderly people and children, although they may need protection from the children. Take this pup to obedience classes, and you’ll be the star without having to do too much work! A dog like this will quickly make his way to your heart and you will be willing to do what it takes to keep your dog healthy and happy.

 

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In order to produce dogs  with excellent temperaments we have our own staff of  dog trainers.  We use their skills to help evaluate each and every puppy we produce.  We want to make sure all puppies are good fits for their new homes.  Our trainers are here to provide pre-home going training and to help problem solve if problems arise.  Most problems are very easy to remediate if  caught early and addressed properly.  We want all of our dogs to become valued family members that are cherished and loved.   We think dogs like this will be properly cared for and unlikely to become a shelter statistic.  Our contract also requires that we be contacted if the owner can no longer keep a dog.  Sometime circumstances beyond the owner’s control can happen and we are there to make sure the dog doesn’t become a casualty in unfortunate circumstances.

us military

We start working with the puppies from age 3 days on an Early Neurological Stimulation Program (ENS).  This program was developed by the military to improve the performance of dogs. This program increases the puppy’s performance in later life.  It helps them to cope with stress better, problem solve better and are healthier with stronger immune systems.

We have a very strong focus on properly training and socializing  our dogs and puppies.  Dog trainers and humane society experts have discovered that behavioral problems are the #1 cause of death in dogs.  Owners get tired of their adult dogs exhibiting these behaviors…  Dr. Nicholas Dodman

calmpet

GoldenQuest exposes the puppies to a variety of sounds in an attempt to desensitize them to noises that can often scare puppies and dogs.  We start the sounds at a low volume and increase the volume over time.  GoldenQuest repeats this procedure over weeks during the puppy play times to make the noises associated with pleasurable experiences.  Some of the sounds we expose your puppy to are fireworks, thunderstorms, a baby crying, washing machines, vacuums, and hair clippers.  We want to give your puppy every possible advantage.

We have an excellent preventative medical care program. This includes having an effective worming and vaccination program. We want all of our dogs to go to you in tip top condition. We want your dog to be healthy and feel good. This gives your dog an edge if he happens to be exposed to any medical risks. It also helps your dog to show his excellent temperament. Dogs that are sick or don’t feel well can have behavior issues. Part of our preventative care program is vaccinating your dog with Neopar by neotech, the best parvo vaccine on the market. Parvo is a very dangerous disease that, if contracted, has up to a 50% death rate. We do all we can to provide superior protection and immunity for your pup.

Longevity studies have shown that early spay/neutering may increase life span. It decreases the pup’s risks for cancers. A study was done on the oldest living dogs and they were all altered early. In addition the pup owner is saved the responsibility and risk of monitoring their dog post surgery. We also believe that spaying/neutering decreases the risk of the dog being stolen as a breeding dog.
All pups go to homes with their dewclaws removed. Dewclaws can be accidentally torn or the nail, if not trimmed regularly, can grow and impale the dog, causing an infection. Dewclaws aren’t functional and they are a maintenance headache. We feel removing them saves the owner work and the dogs risks of injury.

Smaller dogs live longer. We expect that by decreasing the dog’s size we will also be increasing their life expectancy.


We collect and freeze our young dog’s semen. Then we track them over their life. We assess their health and longevity. We also keep track on the dog’s offspring’s health. Sometimes it takes 10-15 years to get a full history on a dog and by that time the dog can no longer sire litters. The nice thing is frozen semen keeps essentially forever. So when we determine we have a dog with great health and longevity, we can go back to his frozen semen and produce pups. If a dog develops health issues or has a short life span we can avoid using that semen. Having frozen semen is a great tool to have in our health and longevity program.

We believe that Karbo Powder is an immune booster. It has helped alleviate the dangerous symptoms of diarrhea and dehydration in newborns caused by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, environmental stress, and especially disease parasites such as worms, coccidia, and giardia. We start feeding it as soon as the pups start eating solids

Life’s Abundance is the best dog food we have ever found.  Life’s Abundance is made of premium grade ingredients. In addition, they don’t put additives and preservatives in their dog food. Life’s abundance is calorie dense, so a bag lasts a long time. In addition, because they only need to eat a little, there is much less stool to pick up. Life’s Abundance is on the cutting edge of nutrition research. They have high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, flax meal, brewer’s yeast, and direct-fed microbials (probiotics).   Microbials help with absorption and can promote intestinal health and a strong immune system.

 

body-condtion-sm

We believe in growing our puppies slowly.  The goal is to produce a slow rate of growth for puppies between the ages of birth and four months. The purpose of the slowed growth rate is to permit the healthiest possible development of bones and joints. Rapid growth and overweight has been linked to a greater incidence and severity of orthopedic disease such as hip and elbow dysplasia (Kealy et al, 2000), and panosteitis. Faster growing pups are also more likely to sustain soft tissue injuries during play or exercise. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that heavier pups may be at increased risk for developing cancer later in life, and may have a significantly decreased life span as compared to trim puppies (Kealy et al, 2002).

We recommend feeding NuVet Plus to all of our dogs.  It is a high quality product that incorporates a precise formula of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbs and antioxidants that performs synergistically to bring together all the vital ingredients required to improve your pet’s health and keep them healthy. NuVet Plus® is made using only 100% All-Natural, Human Grade ingredients that are formulated in a FDA Approved Pharmaceutical Laboratory. Ingredients are compounded to maintain their integrity and bio-digestibility for complete cellular infusion.

Ms4

 

We microchip and tattoo all pups before they go to their homes.   We want for you to keep your microchip information up to date on your dog.  For this reason we use a microchip company that doesn’t charge you for any corrections and updates to your database.  1/3 of all dogs get lost in their lifetime. 30% of lost dogs are never found. Many of those dogs end up being euthanized in shelters. Dogs with microchips have a 97-100% recovery rate. We love our dogs and do our best up front to ensure if lost you will be reunited with them.
As an owner:

Home Going Instructions: up to 90% of dogs that go to homes get stress diarrhea.   We have an excellent preventive program.  Make sure you follow our program, so you and your dog don’t have to worry about this problem.
Weight Control: keep your dog at a healthy weight. An obese dog has a shortened lifespan by 2 years and 2x the risk for hip problems.  At every vet visit, assess your dog’s weight and make adjustment to diet as necessary.

Quality Food: Life’s Abundance is a superior dog food that can be one more tool in our longevity program.  Please continue them on this product.  We believe that growing a dog slowly (not too much food too fast) decreases the risk of hip dysplasia.

Immune Booster: NuVet is a great immune booster to give your dog an added nutritional and immunological edge. Think of it like an enhanced vitamin pill.  Please continue them on this product.

Exercise: We all know that exercise is important for health. This is true for dogs, too. Avoid stressing a pup’s bones by over exercising as a pup. If the pup tells you its tired, let it quit the activity. Do all things in moderation. Over exercising or under exercising can increase your dog’s risk of hip dysplasia.  Once your dog quits growing, around 1 year, you can slowly increase exercise and build up to things like jogging or running if you want your dog to join you. Remember that exercising is both healthy for you and your dog, so enjoy your time together.

Avoid Poisons and Toxins: Just be aware of the risks, so you can avoid these chemicals. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/top-10-dog-poisons
Regular vet visits: Your vet will give preventive vaccines and meds and monitor your dog’s health.
Avoid risky behaviors: Don’t let your dog roam freely. Secure your pup when driving in the car. Don’t drive with your dog in an open truck bed. This is all common sense.
Our wish is that you will partner with us in giving your dog the best odds of having health and longevity. We want you and your dog to have many happy years together and hope that both of you will age gracefully together.

 

Adaptil

Female dogs secrete special pheromones while nursing their offspring. Called “appeasing pheromones or DAP”, they act to comfort and reassure puppies in times of stress.  We spray Adaptil DAP in your puppy’s crate when shipping in order to decrease your puppy’s stress response to shipping.