While much is still not completely known regarding this debilitating disease, Ridgebacks are one of the dog breeds that the OFA recommends genetic testing be done for breeding dogs. This is a late onset disease; many dogs affected do not develop symptoms until at least 8 years of age. For this reason, it is better to test the breeding "stock" rather than offer a health guarantee for the puppies. Dogs who test "normal" (n/n, no copies of the gene), or "carrier" (a/n, one copy of the gene) have minuscule to no chance of developing the disease themselves, and their offspring will not be "affected" (meaning that although a carrier may pass on one copy of the gene, the gene could potentially carry, but the offspring will not be "affected" themselves). Dogs who test as "at-risk" (a/a, two copies of the DM gene) do have a chance of developing the disease. This does not mean they definitely will. However, we now test all of our breeding dogs for DM since this is a potential growing problem in the gene pool. Litters with both parents showing test results of n/n or "normal" have no chance of having any copies of the gene and the entire litter will be "clear by parentage".
Read more on this disease on the official OFA website: https://www.ofa.org/diseases/dna-tested-diseases/dm
This advice is given solely as a means of educating individuals; all vaccinations, heartworm prevention, and general medicine should be discussed with a licensed Veterinarian before administering.
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