Casa Lago Portuguese Water Dogs

All of our adult dogs and each puppy we have whelped have been registered with the AKC, as well as Microchipped with the AKC Home Again Recovery Program.

We believe in health issues and have tested each of our “live-in” dogs with every available test for their ages. Each of our dogs has their CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation) exams yearly. Every puppy in our last four litters was CERF’d at 5 to 6 weeks of age to detect early eye problems. We have not had any problems nor do we expect any, however, we will continue our program of early CERF examinations. CERF exams primarily look for signs of PRA, but also diagnose early eye changes that may be easily treated.

At two years of age, all of our breeding stock either has had or will have their OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) x-rays for hips and elbows completed. Hip Dysplasia in PWDs as well as in other breeds is a health issue that prevents breeding of certain stock. The Georgie Project ( is currently studying PWDs and hip dysplasia and is finding some interesting facts.

Our breeding stock has had their Optigen DNA Evaluations and have been rated as “A” or “A1”. Optigen Ratings are “A”, “B”, or “C”. More information on this test can be found at PRA is a condition that causes blindness in dogs. There is no cure. PWDs have a late onset which means that some dogs exhibit symptoms late in life by losing their night sight. Most of the time, PWDs do not become totally blind from PRA because they just don’t live long enough.

Vada has been GM-1 (Ganglyosidosis or Storage Disease) DNA tested at NYU and deemed Normal; meaning that she does not carry the gene and cannot pass it on. Storage Disease is a condition in which the liver and kidneys do not filter the poisons from the system, but send the poison to the brain, causing increasing lack of coordination and eventually death by about 9 months of age. There is no cure for Storage Disease, but it is a simple recessive gene and you would not breed two Carriers. Mykie was not DNA GM-1 tested because the test wasn’t available when she was of breeding age. At that time we had to rely on Dr. Bell’s Pedigree Analysis. She was originally rated as an “N-95” and after she had hr litter was re-rated a “L”, which means that she was litter-tested clear of the gene. Since she was no longer of breeding age, we felt the NYU test for her was unnecessary.

Some of our dogs are enrolled in the Georgie Project. It is a project that is doing intensive studies of many factors in PWDs. We take yearly x-rays and blood drawings to detect many factors about Portuguese and other breeds of dogs. The Georgie Project is learning vast amounts of information regarding many facets of canines, and we’re happy to be a part of it. The Georgie Project is discovering more information on Addison’s Disease, an auto-immune disease. It is now believed that every PWD in every line in every breeding has a 2 % chance of coming down with Addison’s Disease. There are many other factors (both environmental and genetic) that must combine to create an Addisonian Dog. None of our dogs, and none of our puppies, have contracted Addison’s to this moment in time.

Cancer is the number one killer of all dogs in every breed. Mammary cancer, such as Mykie had, is fairly easy to cure if found early enough. Hemangiosarcoma, such as Frankie died from, is a fast growing cancer that is almost undetectable until it is too late. A recent article states that this type of cancer is the cause of 7% of canine deaths. The PWDCA Cancer Committee feels that this type of cancer is the major killer of PWDs, although autopsies are not mandatory. There is no DNA test for canine cancer and a new study recommends ultrasound exams every 5 months on each dog. Certain types of cancer can be cured if caught early enough; surgery, chemo, diet, and holistic medicines are available.

General Health Concerns For Portuguese Water Dogs
The PWDCA is making great strides to eradicate genetic conditions in our breed. It is recommended by the PWDCGC, through its affiliation with the PWDCA, that all potential puppy buyers ascertain the available tests (PRA, HD, and GM-1) have been passed by both the sire and the dam of the puppy. A breeder should willingly produce the test results of the breeding pair, although this does not guarantee that the puppy will be clear of health problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disease which results in gradual blindness in an Affected dog. A DNA test to determine clears/carriers became available in January, 1999. Your breeder (or will be happy to supply further information. Prior to this new diagnostic tool, ERGs (Electroretinograms) and Relative Risk Analyses should have been performed on all breeding stock over two years of age. CERF-AII PWDs should be examined annually to diagnose other eye abnormalities. The ophthalmological results are submitted to the Canine Eye Registration Foundation to obtain a number.
Hip Dysplasia (HD) are degenerative muscular-skeletal conditions affecting the dog's ability to walk, run, jump, etc. The severity of which could impair the dog's total movement as he matures. X-rays of the hips and elbows are sent into the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for analysis. Animals that pass are given a number and rating of Fair, Good, or Excellent. Portuguese Water Dogs cannot be OFA'd until they are at least 24 months of age.

Gangliosydosis or Storage Disease [GM-1] is an imbalance of the immune system which causes neuromuscular degeneration and death at an early age if Affected. The PWDCA worked long and hard to devise a DNA test to determine the dog's status through NYU. All dogs used for breeding should be individually tested for GM-1. The certificates indicate: N -Normal, C.-Carrier, A -Affected.
The PWDCA is currently funding research to isolate and eliminate the following health concerns: Cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition, can be fatal to young puppies. This condition has been diagnosed in our breed within the last two years. Symptoms of Addison's Disease, an autoimmune disorder which could be hereditary, are often mis-diagnosed. Treatment of an Addisonian dog is costly.
A breeder, through his pedigree research, will be able to provide you with necessary health history of his litter. Much thought must be given to choosing the breeder of your puppy.

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