Chondrodysplasia – is requesting a vet check from a breeder worthwhile? - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Chondrodysplasia – is requesting a vet check from a breeder worthwhile?

Would it be worthwhile or helpful to request a letter from a breeder’s veterinarian stating that in his/her opinion, there are no signs of chondrodysplasia in a dam or sire at the time of the vet visit (assuming that a veterinarian might even be willing to provide something like that)?

Is there a minimum age in a Havanese where chondrodysplasia can be detected? Is there a period of time/ age where chondrodysplasia typically becomes evident in a Havanese? Is there a maximum age, meaning that if a Hav hasn’t developed chondrodysplasia by a certain age, that it would be unlikely that it will develop it at all after that age?

Are there any other precautions one could take other than an evaluation by a Veterinary Specialist in Orthopedics?

Is PennHIP health testing, typically performed by a Veterinary Specialist in Orthopedics or a regular veterinarian? If the PennHIP is completed by a Veterinary Specialist in Orthopedics, would that provide an opportunity to request an examination chondrodysplasia at the same time?

- - -

I have read the posts on this forum regarding Chondrodysplasia, including:

“…The most accurate and reliable method of diagnosing CD is by radiograph (x-ray) of the affected limb(s), or by bone biopsy of the growth plate. The x-ray should be reviewed by a by a qualified Orthopedic Veterinary Specialist.

A Veterinary Specialist in Orthopedics is the only professional that is qualified to "certify" a dog as CD-free. At this time there is no specific diagnostic evaluation for CD. The OFA does not recognize a specific x-ray protocol to identify CD in Havanese dogs.

While "soaping", (the process of lathering up your dog to see what is under the coat), is a great tool used by many breeders to evaluate the front and rear legs and structure of their dogs, it is not a reliable tool for diagnosing CD! Soaping can be very subjective, since the results lie in “the eye of the beholder", and mild cases of CD can go unnoticed by even the most experienced breeder…."

CD-need some advice

- - -

I found this website which seems to be thorough in explaining what to look for in soaped pictures:

Chondrodysplasia in Havanese

This is the first part (page one of the same post, but I put page two first since it provides an analysis of soaped pictures):

Chondrodysplasia in Havanese

Albeit, this is not an official, empirical resource and it is posted by a breeder, it does seem to provide detailed information.

I had requested soaped pictures from my breeder, but after reading this, I became more confused than when I started, and realized that I am in way over my head to even attempt decipher the soaped pictures.

- - -
I read this study, and although this was a small sample size, it still seems as if it might provide an indicator that it is an issue for concern amongst Havanese:

“…The initial screen involved the collection of detailed phenotypic data on 122 Havanese….”

https://academic.oup.com/jhered/arti...searchresult=1

Abstract
The Havanese is a toy breed that presents with a wide range of developmental abnormalities. Skeletal defects, particularly osteochondrodysplasia (OCD), are the most frequently observed anomalies. Cataracts, liver shunts, heart murmurs, and missing incisors are also common in this breed. Estimates of heritability and complex segregation analyses were carried out to evaluate modes of transmission for these abnormalities. A moderate heritability was identified and evidence for a single major locus was found. Novel statistical analysis methods were used to identify four traits that co-segregate: cataracts, hepatic abnormalities, OCD, and cardiac abnormalities. A canine-specific microarray was used to identify changes in gene expression in the liver that accompany the aforementioned developmental problems. One hundred and thirteen genes were found to be differentially regulated in the Havanese.

“…Abnormalities of the forelegs occurred most frequently with 44% of the population having bowed, shortened, or asymmetric forelegs….”

- - -
PetMD also had some helpful information:
Bone Deformity and Dwarfism in Dogs | petMD

- - -

This indicates that a veterinarian can provide some type of role in diagnosing chondrodysplasia:

“…If your Hav appears to have a 'crooked' front, your veterinarian will need to examine him to make a diagnosis. X-rays may be taken to confirm the diagnosis and to ensure there are no other abnormalities that require treatment….”

https://www.havanese.org/education/n...-health-issues

and so does this:
“…Your veterinarian will make this diagnosis based on your dog's physical appearance; x-rays may be taken to confirm the diagnosis, or to screen puppies less than 13 weeks of age for this condition…”

Osteochondrodysplasia - skeletal dwarfism | University of Prince Edward Island

- - -

I also found some information on Facebook posted by a breeder stating that when a puppy is eight-weeks-old, that it is a period of time during puppyhood which is representative and most similar for forecasting adulthood for the purposes of detecting chondrodysplasia. Does anyone know if there is any validity to that? I can’t find the link to that at this moment but will post it if I find it again.

Any information or insights would be most appreciated.

Last edited by smemft; 04-15-2017 at 11:37 PM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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One more tidbit:

I was looking into DNA testing at Optimal Selection? | Wisdom Panel

and saw that this test screened for:

Chondrodysplasia; mutation originally found in Norwegian Elkhound and Karelian Bear Dog

and

Osteochondrodysplasia; mutation originally found in Miniature Poodle

I called and spoke to a helpful woman at Wisdom Panel, she put me on hold and consulted with one of the veterinarians there. When she returned I was told that their trait testing, includes a screen/test for the FGF4 (Fibroblast Growth Factor 4) gene which is an indicator of chondrodysplasia in other breeds (meaning in addition to those stated above).

I found some further research by Kyöstilä K1, Lappalainen AK, Lohi H.

Abstract:
The skeletal dysplasias are disorders of the bone and cartilage tissues. Similarly to humans, several dog breeds have been reported to suffer from different types of genetic skeletal disorders. We have studied the molecular genetic background of an autosomal recessive chondrodysplasia that affects the Norwegian Elkhound and Karelian Bear Dog breeds. The affected dogs suffer from disproportionate short stature dwarfism of varying severity. Through a genome-wide approach, we mapped the chondrodysplasia locus to a 2-Mb region on canine chromosome 17 in nine affected and nine healthy Elkhounds (praw = 7.42×10(-6), pgenome-wide = 0.013). The associated locus contained a promising candidate gene, cartilage specific integrin alpha 10 (ITGA10), and mutation screening of its 30 exons revealed a nonsense mutation in exon 16 (c.2083C>T; p.Arg695*) that segregated fully with the disease in both breeds (p = 2.5×10(-23)). A 24% mutation carrier frequency was indicated in NEs and an 8% frequency in KBDs. The ITGA10 gene product, integrin receptor α10-subunit combines into a collagen-binding α10β1 integrin receptor, which is expressed in cartilage chondrocytes and mediates chondrocyte-matrix interactions during endochondral ossification. As a consequence of the *nonsense mutation, the α10-protein was not detected in the affected cartilage tissue. The canine phenotype highlights the importance of the α10β1 integrin in bone growth, and the large animal model could be utilized to further delineate its specific functions. Finally, this study revealed a candidate gene for human chondrodysplasias and enabled the development of a genetic test for breeding purposes to eradicate the disease from the two dog breeds.

Rest of the journal article is here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3783422/

This is all becoming an overwhelming jumble of information for me.

It seems that there are many unknowns and much to learn regarding this extremely complicated issue. I was just attempting to wade through some of this to see if there was something I could find to help me to become better informed in the process of selecting a puppy to adopt, and hopefully increase my chances of avoiding this.

Last edited by smemft; 04-16-2017 at 01:45 AM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 11:49 AM
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I wouldn't expect even the majority of vets to be able to tell you. I would hope that the majority of breeders have bred away from it by now.

The trouble with the FGF4 gene is that there is a doubling up of genes in one location that pushes other genes out of their normal places. That's where any extra health issues come from.

The main thing is that your breeder understands what to look for, and which individuals to breed away from. A show record should have no effect on this at all.

I invented "soaping" in the late '90s. It's not easy for a lot of people to do. You need two experienced people, and a good camera. Nike has examples of good soaped pictures on her web page. This is a dog that does not have CD without question:
Nikepage It is possible to make a bad dog look better than they really are, but not possible to make a good dog look bad. Sometimes it might take an experienced eye to tell if they are looking at an affected dog.

Almost anyone can put their hands on the front legs and tell if they are straight or not.

Unless you are a breeder, you are overthinking it. Just find a breeder you feel good about.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate this information, especially the example to look at; thank you. And what a helpful contribution (soaping); smart! I am not a breeder, just looking to adopt.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:56 PM
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As you probably know from my sig., Tom and Pam King are the breeders of two of my dogs, and the people who have taught me the most about this breed, though I have added to that knowledge by continuing to read and learn as much as I can from many sources.

As you have seen, there is still a lot we don't know about CD. The articles you cite are over 10 years old, and things have changed significantly for the better in that time AS LONG AS you buy from a reputable breeder. There are still a lot of CD dogs out there... partly because Havanese, even those with CD, have a longer life expectancy than many breeds. So many of the obvious CD dogs I see are older. I DO still see younger CD dogs, but they are from back yard breeders or are puppy mill (pet store or shelter/rescue) dogs.

8-9 years ago, when I was looking for my first Havanese, this problem was big. I specifically wanted a dog for sport, so it was CRITICALLY important to me that I get a dog with sound conformation and suitable temperament. I come from a background of training horses and working on a large breeding farm, so am well aware of how important these factors are in a performance animal. Flaws that you can live with in a pet are just not acceptable in a working dog. So I have been much pickier than your average Havanese buyer... probably pickier than many people looking for a conformation show dog.

I chose a breeder, THEN, with their help, narrowed down to a specific puppy. Over the course of a year, I narrowed my breeder choices down to two people. I ended up going with the Kings for two reasons. The very knowledgeable answers Tom gave to people here on the forum (and that Pam gave me when we talked on the phone) and that they were also the breeders of high quality sport horses. They know conformation and its impact on performance and soundness better than any other breeders I have met, even in the intervening years. That is not at all to say they are the only people producing quality dogs... there are lots of breeders who do. But their knowledge of conformation as it relates to function, not only as it relates to the breed standard, was really exceptional.

There are soaps of both of Kodi's parents on the Starborn website, so I knew they were straight. When I went down to meet Kodi's litter and make a final decision (I ended up leaving with a different puppy than the Kings had originally "earmarked" for me, because it was "love at first sight" for both of us ) Pam soaped Kodi for me, and we went over his structure together. When I got Pixel, it was a similar process. Pam and I worked closely to decide what puppy would be the best for me, and that included soaps of the parents (same sire as Kodi, but a different bitch) and soaping the puppies at 8 weeks.

My third dog, Panda, came from a local friend, and because of what I had learned from the Kings, I felt that I could assess the puppy's conformation myself. I did not have soaps available for the parents, but I had had my hands on the sire, and I trusted my friend that the dam was straight. (I never got a chance to meet her, as she was leased, and returned to her owner the day before I first saw the litter. I went down to help temperament test this litter, and help soaping them too, right at 8 weeks. I wasn't looking for another puppy at the time, but was SO impressed with Panda both in terms of temperament and structure that she "followed me home".

If the breeder you choose can't provide soaps of the parents and the puppy you are interested in, and you don't feel comfortable determining straight legs on the puppy, most breeders want you to have the puppy checked by your local vet within a couple of days of getting the puppy home anyway. So ask the vet to help you determine whether the puppy is straight. While CD mostly affects the front limbs, IMO, it's just as important for the dog to have a correct rear end assembly.

Also remember that it depends a lot on what you are planning to do with the dog. A dog can have a less than perfect front, NOT have CD, and be a perfectly fine pet prospect, but you might not want that animal pounding over jumps continually, the way a dog who is a regular agility competitor would need to. With horses, when a vet is doing a "pre-purchase" (soundness) exam, they ALWAYS want to know the intended use of the animal. A horse that will just be used for pleasure riding can do just fine with conformation flaws that would put a horse slated for the grand prix jumper ring right out of the running.

So I guess the bottom line is, I wouldn't worry a lot about CD specifically if you are working with a reputable, experienced breeder. I would still take a look at the parents' and the puppy's conformation with an eye to what you plan to do with the dog. And talk to your breeder about those plans! But if this is the reason you want DNA testing on the parents... Don't bother. We STILL don't have a genetic marker for CD in Havanese.
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
As you probably know from my sig., Tom and Pam King are the breeders of two of my dogs, and the people who have taught me the most about this breed, though I have added to that knowledge by continuing to read and learn as much as I can from many sources.

As you have seen, there is still a lot we don't know about CD. The articles you cite are over 10 years old, and things have changed significantly for the better in that time AS LONG AS you buy from a reputable breeder. There are still a lot of CD dogs out there... partly because Havanese, even those with CD, have a longer life expectancy than many breeds. So many of the obvious CD dogs I see are older. I DO still see younger CD dogs, but they are from back yard breeders or are puppy mill (pet store or shelter/rescue) dogs.

8-9 years ago, when I was looking for my first Havanese, this problem was big. I specifically wanted a dog for sport, so it was CRITICALLY important to me that I get a dog with sound conformation and suitable temperament. I come from a background of training horses and working on a large breeding farm, so am well aware of how important these factors are in a performance animal. Flaws that you can live with in a pet are just not acceptable in a working dog. So I have been much pickier than your average Havanese buyer... probably pickier than many people looking for a conformation show dog.

I chose a breeder, THEN, with their help, narrowed down to a specific puppy. Over the course of a year, I narrowed my breeder choices down to two people. I ended up going with the Kings for two reasons. The very knowledgeable answers Tom gave to people here on the forum (and that Pam gave me when we talked on the phone) and that they were also the breeders of high quality sport horses. They know conformation and its impact on performance and soundness better than any other breeders I have met, even in the intervening years. That is not at all to say they are the only people producing quality dogs... there are lots of breeders who do. But their knowledge of conformation as it relates to function, not only as it relates to the breed standard, was really exceptional.

There are soaps of both of Kodi's parents on the Starborn website, so I knew they were straight. When I went down to meet Kodi's litter and make a final decision (I ended up leaving with a different puppy than the Kings had originally "earmarked" for me, because it was "love at first sight" for both of us ) Pam soaped Kodi for me, and we went over his structure together. When I got Pixel, it was a similar process. Pam and I worked closely to decide what puppy would be the best for me, and that included soaps of the parents (same sire as Kodi, but a different bitch) and soaping the puppies at 8 weeks.

My third dog, Panda, came from a local friend, and because of what I had learned from the Kings, I felt that I could assess the puppy's conformation myself. I did not have soaps available for the parents, but I had had my hands on the sire, and I trusted my friend that the dam was straight. (I never got a chance to meet her, as she was leased, and returned to her owner the day before I first saw the litter. I went down to help temperament test this litter, and help soaping them too, right at 8 weeks. I wasn't looking for another puppy at the time, but was SO impressed with Panda both in terms of temperament and structure that she "followed me home".

If the breeder you choose can't provide soaps of the parents and the puppy you are interested in, and you don't feel comfortable determining straight legs on the puppy, most breeders want you to have the puppy checked by your local vet within a couple of days of getting the puppy home anyway. So ask the vet to help you determine whether the puppy is straight. While CD mostly affects the front limbs, IMO, it's just as important for the dog to have a correct rear end assembly.

Also remember that it depends a lot on what you are planning to do with the dog. A dog can have a less than perfect front, NOT have CD, and be a perfectly fine pet prospect, but you might not want that animal pounding over jumps continually, the way a dog who is a regular agility competitor would need to. With horses, when a vet is doing a "pre-purchase" (soundness) exam, they ALWAYS want to know the intended use of the animal. A horse that will just be used for pleasure riding can do just fine with conformation flaws that would put a horse slated for the grand prix jumper ring right out of the running.

So I guess the bottom line is, I wouldn't worry a lot about CD specifically if you are working with a reputable, experienced breeder. I would still take a look at the parents' and the puppy's conformation with an eye to what you plan to do with the dog. And talk to your breeder about those plans! But if this is the reason you want DNA testing on the parents... Don't bother. We STILL don't have a genetic marker for CD in Havanese.
- - -

I had read about the prevalence of CD in Havanese-it seemed REALLY high-and there seemed to be no testing for it aside from the specialist referred to above.

I am only seeking pets and their activity would pretty much consist of indoor play (I have hardwood floors and stairs though), outdoor play, and regular walks on the beach (when they are older). I bike a lot (4-5 times per week; up to four-hour rides sometimes) and I am moving to the ocean in around a month. I have started doing research to look into any potential possibilities for a safe way to bring my future Hav/s along with me for a bike ride on the beach. Riding on the sand is much more difficult of course than the rides on the paved trail that I use now, so my bike rides will surely be cut way down in duration.

I just want to take all of the precautions that I can to try to get healthy dogs. From what I had read, it seemed as if there wasn't much treatment, if any, for CD and it sounded like there might be a possibility of walks consisting of stroller use in the unfortunate event of a more severe case.

I had read that hardwood floors can be tough on a dog's hips with all of the sliding also. On one of my Havanese Facebook pages that I follow, someone had posted a video where a breeder was encouraging the pups to climb the stairs. In response, another person had left some negative commentary stating that pups that young should not be climbing stairs, not as a safety concern, but rather due to undeveloped hind legs or something of that nature?

Other than the additional complexity of getting my son into private school, this research and preparation for my future Hav babies is really getting into the realm of becoming comparable to that of my son's arrival and rearing. Oh no...PLEASE tell me that getting a skilled dog trainer is not as difficult as getting a child into private school!!!!

I am a psychotherapist and just recently, momentarily pondered MAYBE going through the process of the training for a therapy dog and just dabbled into a little research on that a few days ago. If that process is even private school"ish"...FORGET IT!!! I think that I might be too old for all of that again.

Just as a sidebar: In the hopes of thwarting any, further, potential negative commentary towards me, I am NOT seeking to adopt my future Havs with anywhere near a primary purpose of becoming therapy dogs. I don't work with children anymore, only adults. Not that a therapy dog wouldn't be extremely therapeutic to adult populations as well, such as trauma work and seniors. The therapy dog route was NOT an intention in my initial inquiry...it has only recently become a highly unlikely "maybe."

Again, I am deeply appreciative that you have taken the time out of your day to provide such a detailed, informative, and educational response; thank you.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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One more thing, have you ever seen that Bing search engine overload commercial? That is what I feel like with all of this Havanese information. I have these HUGE pieces of paper with dog genealogies and health tests (and gaps) of their lineages for dams and sires I am considering. I think that my psychotherapist friends might be staging a Hav intervention:




(sorry there is an ad, but you can skip over after 4-5 seconds)
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:58 PM
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I have NO idea why you would think that wanting a dog to do therapy work would draw negative comments... Nor do I know what other negative comments have been made to/about you. We tend to really do our best to be positive and helpful here.

I know many, MANY people who have certified therapy dogs, including many people with Havanese. (including a number of people on the forum) Dogs with the right temperament (and that is, again, something you'd want to talk to your breeder about) LOVE their work. Not all therapy dogs enjoy the same KIND of therapy work... I have a friend with Great Danes, and her dogs work as "reading dogs" at the library, and allow kids to lean against them as they read... wouldn't work well with a Havanese. OTOH, I know a number of Havanese that work as therapy dogs in nursing homes and rehabs. After seeing Kodi with our elderly relatives, I think he'd really like doing that. But we're too busy with training and competition these days... Maybe when he retires! We also have a gal on the forum with a half-Havanese who accompanies her to work every day as a SLP. Ollie helps her with her students! I didn't CHOOSE my dogs looking for "therapy dog" temperaments, but I know that there have been several puppies in litters I've seen at the King's that Pam has said, "I think he'd make a great therapy dog!". Same is true in litters bred by friends around here. I think there are more Havanese that would make good therapy dogs than not, actually.

Yes, you want to be careful of too much wildness on hardwood floors, but all three of mine have grown up on hardwood floors, and tile in the kitchen, and none of them have any hip problems. I would not encourage a young Havanese puppy to go up or down stairs by themselves. Likewise, you want to be VERY careful not to let them jump off of anything they can't get ONTO by themselves. It is true that concussion from jumping can damage the growth plates... Which can lead to limb deformities that can look a lot like CD. (but aren't) So you DO want to be careful of developing bones. OTOH, they are not made of china. And they ARE playful puppies. You want to be careful not to stress developing joints, but not freak out every time one bounces over a log in the back yard or on and off the couch. When it comes to stairs, I kept mine gated off, so they weren't on the stairs without me there to supervise. They should be confined when you aren't closely supervising them anyway as puppies! Very careful learning to go up and then learning to go down. Never allowed to rough-house or wildness on the stairs.

The prevalence of CD at one time WAS much too high, though the sample size in that study was fairly small as well, so I'm not convinced that the percentages started were accurate for the entire breed. But all good breeders are well aware of the problem, and have worked hard to remove it from the gene pool. But as I posted before, while I don't want a dog with CD, I also don't want a dog with OTHER limb abnormalities... CD or not. There are no absolute guaranties when you re dealing with living creatures, whether it's a puppy or a child. All of us do our very best to produce healthy children, and sometimes things STILL go wrong. That is true with puppies too. So no breeder can absolutely guarantee you that nothing bad will happen to your puppy. What you DO want to know is that your breeder will stand behind that puppy, and help you. Whether it is with medical bills in the case of a genetic defect, or with advice and a shoulder to cry on when it's an accident or something that "just happens" with your puppy or dog.

As far as bike riding is concerned, I know there are baskets that can go on a bike and hold one SMALL Havanese, but not two. The only thing I know of that will hold more than one are the "bike trailers". And I have NO idea how hard they would be to tow through sand (or if it were even possible) You'll have to report back to us on your research on that!


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by smemft View Post
One more thing, have you ever seen that Bing search engine overload commercial? That is what I feel like with all of this Havanese information. I have these HUGE pieces of paper with dog genealogies and health tests (and gaps) of their lineages for dams and sires I am considering. I think that my psychotherapist friends might be staging a Hav intervention:


All Bing search overload commercials - YouTube


(sorry there is an ad, but you can skip over after 4-5 seconds)
I think WE need to do an intervention!!!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Rehab for my "Havanese Syndrome"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by krandall View Post
I think WE need to do an intervention!!!
Ha ha!!! I actually did laugh out loud on that one!!!! This may actually need to happen since it seems possible that I might not have any friends left if I don't get a puppy in the foreseeable future. Most are really tired of hearing all of my Havanese talk...thank goodness for the forum!

And who knows, things could escalate after the move and I have a more time. If I pull out of this, perhaps I might open a Havanese rehab as I surely cannot be the only one. Imagine the irony of having a Havanese therapy dog at a Havanese rehab?!?!

I must return to the crucial business of researching crates. Now if you would just write a Havenese book, think of all of the Havanese Syndrome you might spare people from?! All you would need is to print out all of your forum posts and have someone categorize them by subject matter...seriously.





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