Did you know there are two genetic disorders prevalent in chihuahuas today. Heart murmur and luxating patellas. They are both genetically inherited...meaning if you don't breed dogs with them, who's parents didn't have them... and you keep doing that... one day chihuahuas would not be plagued with heart murmur and luxating patellas.
Translation? If people would take the time to have their dogs tested for these two disorders, and stop breeding dogs that have them... they would nearly disappear in the breed. The tests are easy to do, painless for the dog, and can be done easily by your vet during a yearly routine exam... almost never for any extra cost even. Yet there are still THOUSANDS of breeders in the US who know this and do not test for these disorders.
CLICK for Definition of heart murmur - OFA Definitions of Congenital Cardiac Disease
CLICK for Definition of patellar luxation - OFA Definitions of Patellar Luxation
Why should you care? As a dog owner, there is little motivation to encourage breeders to genetically test their dogs. That is until you are the unfortunate one who pays $200... $800... $2000 for a new puppy who you bring home, fall in love with, allow your family to fall in love with... only to notice a few months later the puppy occasionally limps on one of its back legs. Odd. It comes and goes tho, so its probably nothing. Then a few months later its more often... then a few months later, its nearly all the time. Then before long she holds her back leg up 24/7... then one day she sits down and screams. One day she doesn't stop screaming. What do you do? Either pay $1000-$3000 for a surgery to have her kneecap fixed or have your new beloved pet, barely a year old, put to sleep to ease her suffering. If this happened to you would you be able to afford the surgery to save your pet? How would you feel when you found out that entire horrible event could have been very easily avoided if your breeder had taken the time to have your puppy's parents tested? How does your family feel?
This scenario happens far too much around the country today... still. Even though we have tests for it, very few people are working to rid the breed of these disorders. Both are horribly stressful and traumatic for the dog... both destroy their quality of life, often end in the animal having to be put to sleep at a sadly early age, and breaking the hearts of dog owners Nationwide. It could all be avoided!
If its so easy, why aren't all breeders testing their dogs? Well... if you had an international champion dog, worth $5000, who already had sired 15 litters of puppies, who you were very attached to, who was an amazing dog, produced very high quality puppies worth loads of money, who you were showing and spending even more money to advertise and campaign the show circuit and you found out it had luxating patellas... what would you do? Would you be able to stomach having your dog neutered and becoming a pet? Would you want to openly explain what was going on? Admit what you knew to the owners of every puppy he had sired? Miss out on all the future profits from breeding him? Many breeders do not.