Table 20 offers some summary information about the dogs included in the Health and Disease survey database. The first section shows the spread of coat colors across dogs and bitches. Noteworthy is that black is the most prevalent coat color and there are more bitches than dogs in the survey.
Table 20 also provides a summary of the number of healthy and diseased dogs by sex and their current living or deceased status. As can be seen, over 80% of the dogs in the database are still living. Over half of these living dogs were reported to have no health issues.
One of the major accomplishments of the 1995 Health Survey was to produce a listing of genetic traits and diseases and then use the survey data to help make a prediction of the frequency and carrier rates for each of these diseases. Table 21 offers a review of the 1995 data along with new numbers from the 2005 survey data. The 2005 survey data includes much more information, because this table lists only those diseases and genetic traits that showed up on both surveys.
Dr. George A. Padgett, DVM was the one that helped compile and calculate the original statistics. The data and his methods were based on the Hardy-Weinberg Law was also published in his book titled; Control of Canine Genetic Diseases. The data in table 21 is based on this same approach and provides very similar data.
The right hand column in Table 21 indicates how some of the carrier frequencies may have fluctuated up or down between the two surveys. Before anyone tries to put too much importance on these fluctuations in the numbers let me paraphrase a couple of comments from Dr. Padgett’s book.
Surveys are not accurate.
Data is not always correct.
Modes of inheritance are not always known.
Hardy-Weinberg does not really apply.
Guesstimates are not absolute numbers,
They are just the best numbers we have today!
[Ed. The 1995 Survey report did not include an analysis of the formula used by Dr. Padgett to calculate his Guesstimate of Carrier Frequency values. However a plot of the data reveals the basis for his values and permits us to make new guesstimates based on the new data from the 2005 survey. Appendix 2 shows plots of the data from both surveys and confirms that they are both based on the same analysis.]
Table 22 offers some insight into the most frequently reported illnesses. The table lists any illness that had 20 or more occurrences in the database. You should ask, exactly how did all of the diseases that were reported get sorted? Many of the common diseases like TCC, Cushings and hypothyroid problems were pretty easy to identify and sort into these lists. But the data contained hundreds of alternative names, similar names and unrecognized names for reported illnesses.
To sort out all of these reported illnesses, the Disease and Illness index that was distributed along with the survey was used as a starting point. Each item on the list was assigned a unique three digit code that can be easily sorted by the computer. Each reported illness was then assigned to one of these illness codes. After attempting to assign codes to as many reported illnesses as possible, the complete list of illnesses and the coded index was reviewed by Dr. Marcia Dawson, DVM. Working with Dr. Dawson a few new illness codes were identified that needed to be added to the index. Dr. Dawson also provided invaluable assistance because she verified that all of the reported illnesses had been assigned to an appropriate illness code. The database file contains a complete list of the illness codes that were used as well as the original illness data from each survey form. Table 22 is therefore a report on the most frequently assigned illness codes.
In the 1995 survey analysis, Sue Martin noted that several of the related illness categories might be combined together, and that this would change the order of the most frequent illnesses. Using the 2005 data, similar results can be noted.
- Allergies: Combining the 5 related Allergy codes and the general “Skin” code would result in a total of 95 occurrences and raise this to the number 2 health issue.
- Periodontal: There were separate codes for periodontal disease and gingivitis, which if combined would result in 38 occurrences and raise this issue from number 12 to number 6 on the list.
- Temperament: There were three codes dealing with temperament; Aggression(g), Fearfulness, and Instability that when combined would total 31 and put this in the list of top ten items.
Table 23 addresses the variety of cancers that were noted in the 2005 survey. There were over 30 different codes dealing with very specific cancers, general cancers, and abnormal tumors or growths. If all of these codes are combined together the count would be over 250, so instead, table 23 offers a listing of the top 10 cancers reported in descending order that were noted in the survey data.