Thoughts on IVDD Testing
I know there are two sides to this issue and they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum and I am not sure that I can be the moderate in the belief, since that's not my nature, but I will try, (Unless we talk Gamecock football and then all bets are off :)
Unlike a health concern that the BSS was evaluating years ago and it turned out to be a rabbit hole with no rabbit at the end of the tunnel. We were not seeing an increasing number of Boykins with a clinical issue and dying on the operating table. And there was not estimated to be as many Boykins that carried the VWB gene that I know of.
I have been told that as many as 50% carry 1 or 2 copies of the CDDY Mutant which could be over 15,000 Boykins, however, we only know of less than 100 Boykins that have had a negative clinical issues, (yes, I understand it's a terrible and heartbreaking outcome that I wouldn't wish on anyone) but the math does not add up. But a negative outcome from a DM Affected Boykin is not a walk in the park either.
I have tested all of our Boykins, including our newest member Show Me Hazel Nut which is Normal for CDDY and 8 of 12 have a single mutant for CDDY. Only one of our Boykins is even slightly taller than the rest, Most are 16" to 19" and under 40 pounds. Results from this test are just one thing I look at when I look at who to breed but I am not shying away from breeding a Boykin with the mutant but I likely will breed a Normal to an At Risk but it's a breeding by breeding decision. Genetics experts DVM suggest that it should be an issue we breed though and not around because many small legged breeds also carry this gene and it's party of what makes the Boykin the LBD that doesn't rock the boat.
I want to be an educated breeder and the more Boykins that we test for CDDY, the greater chance that the research will lead to additional factors that will be able to identify which Boykins are at a significant risk for a negative clinical outcome, If we only test Boykins with a clinical issue, I doubt they will ever be able to identify additional factors that will shed more light on an outcome. I think one things that would be a huge plus is to have more Boykins that owners with no intentions of breeding, test their Boykin for CDDY since there is nothing to loose by testing. ( it helps the owner to be more aware of what to potentially watch for and it gives ones doing the research a larger random pool to evaluate and gives the Boykin Spaniels Foundation more data to evaluate. The test can be done by at least 3 labs but UCDAVIS is doing a study and the test is only $45 any day of the week, not that I am promoting one lab over the others but I like adding data that can be added to a study.
We have owned 5-6 breeds over the years.and the Boykin Spaniel by far is our favorite. All breeds have health issues so don't shy away from the Boykin Spaniel. One thing I would say about the Boykin Spaniel and the Society and Foundation, health of the breed is of utmost importance and we are all trying to improve the health (outside some breeders that do 0 health testing, they need to go to another breed)
Final thoughts on overall health testing, we have come a long ways in improving the overall health of the breed over the last 25 years that I have been involved with Boykins and a huge thanks to the foundation for supporting research and generous reimbursement for out of pocket cost of testing, If a breeder is not testing with the cost reimbursement, they need to go away,