One of the primary goals of the Maremma Sheepdog Club of America is education.
Additionally, the MSCA believes the protection and betterment of the Maremma breed through the use of health testing should be promoted.
The MSCA encourages all Maremma Sheepdog breeders to have dogs screened for hip dysplasia before breeding.
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the “ball-and-socket” hip joint and occurs in many breeds. It is primarily inherited, and development is believed to be influenced by multiple genes. The risk and severity of hip dysplasia may also be increased by environmental factors.
Dogs must be 24 months of age or older to receive final hip certification through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), or 4 months of age or older for a PennHIP diagnostic evaluation.
The radiographic appearance of the hips does not always correlate with clinical symptoms, and many dysplastic dogs show no outward signs until middle or older age when secondary arthritis may cause increasing discomfort.
The risks for heritable diseases can be greatly reduced through careful breeding practices, beginning with health screening examinations of the sire and dam before breeding.
Owners of Maremma Sheepdogs want them to have the best possible chance for a long and healthy life. Every breed is subject to hereditary diseases, and the Maremma Sheepdog is no exception. Failure to screen for heritable diseases before breeding could result in taking unnecessary risks for passing on genetic disease. Risk can never be zero, but health testing offers the best possible chance that the puppy will not develop these genetic diseases.
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