The Flat-Coated Retriever Health Manual Preface

Since its inception in late 1995, the Sharon Myers Health Committee has been devoted to maintaining and improving the health of the Flat-Coated Retriever. To do this, a three step project was initiated. The first step was to develop and process a general health survey in order to understand the health status of our breed. This took nearly a year, but proved to be the most successful survey in terms of response of all the AKC breeds to date. The overall response rate was 84.6% with 1,991 dogs in the United States being reported on. The participation of FCRSA members was crucial to this effort. This manual is step two of the project and it is based on results of the survey. It contains papers devoted to the various cancers that predominate in our breed as well as orthopedic conditions, epilepsy, bloat and other major problems. It also includes articles by Dr. George Padgett and Jennie Willis which help explain how critical it is to apply genetic insights to breeding and purchasing decisions. In addition, you will find information on how to contact various United States canine health registries and many of the leading veterinary centers. Our goal was to provide you with current information, but veterinary science changes rapidly and we encourage you to add to this manual as more is learned about canine disease.

The Sharon Myers Committee could not have completed this project without the assistance of Dr. Thomas J. Burke, Professor of Small Animal Medicine at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Dr. Burke was gracious enough to review the contents of the manual to ensure that the information included is accurate. We’d also like to give special thanks to Dr. George Padgett for allowing us to reprint several articles that we feel are crucial to a sound breeding program. Jennie Willis, a geneticist, has also allowed us to use one of her articles on genetics that we think will be helpful to you. There are many others. The common characteristic of all of these people is that they want to help improve canine health, including that of the Flat-Coated Retriever. We know that you as owners and breeders of the Flat-Coated Retriever do as well. Please use this manual as the reference we intended it to be. You and your personal veterinarian can then better work together to confront some of the diseases that afflict our dogs.

Doris Ehret, Chairperson
Sharon Myers Health Committee
December 1997