Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flatcoats and Malignant Histiocytosis

This is a photo I took today of Randi. She is a 5 year old Flatcoated Retriever. Today would have been her mama's (Jackson) 13th birthday. Sadly, I had to put Jackson to sleep when she was 10 as she was suffering from an aggressive tumor (Malignant Histiocytosis) on the side of her head. The cancer, common in Flatcoats, had not spread to her lungs and she appeared to be in excellent physical and mental condition otherwise. I remember saying to Billy when I found the tumor, "I don't think I can spare her". I still don't.

Jackson's mama Tina was 11 when I had to put her to sleep due to an aggressive tumor (Malignant Histiocytosis) she had on her leg. It was too soon. I remember when my Vet got the lab results back and told me she had looked up MH in a veterinary reference book. "They called it the Flatcoat Cancer," she said. Tina outlived her dam and two of her littermates (none owned by me) and for all of them, it was too soon.

I look at Randi today and see how vibrant she appears and I am reminded how much she looks like Jackson and Tina. I see no reason why she, or any Flatcoat, can't live to be 18. Save for the Malignant Histiocytosis, my dogs never seem to have anything wrong with them when I have to put them to sleep. If we could eliminate this apparently genetically linked cancer so common in the breed, who knows how long they would live? We might live to regret it - hahaha!

Read more about Malignant Histiocytosis here.

Read about how closed registries (such as the AKC) affect genetic health in dog breeds here.

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