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Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Hunting/Farming/Taxidermy, any topic that may get heated debate.

WARNING things may get a bit rougher here than the other forums.

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Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:51 am

Now, I'll start by saying I tend to rant some (okay, a lot), but I hope not to offend anyone. Please, don't take offense to any statements I make, and feel free to offer your own opinions as well. My poor family has to listen to me go on and on about this, so I thought I'd share it with someone else besides them for a change. :lol:

For a long time now I have struggled (a lot actually) with the fact that people are actually willing to produce an animal that will not live a healthy, long life and they do so simply for the profit or the appearance of that animal. I consider is selfish and rather thoughtless as to the pain and suffering it causes millions of pets and millions of owners who have an animal die so young and suffer so much and all the vet bills and expenses, simply for a more "beautiful" "unique" or "cute" pet.

A few examples are here, some of the ones I have struggled with most as they seem to so obviously cause suffering in the animals that have them:
Albinos: A mutation found in almost every creature alive on earth, albinism is a an animal lacking melanin (or any coloration) throughout their body including their eyes. It is seen in people as well.
Albinos are beautiful, so very beautiful, but albinism can be linked to lowered immunity, shorter lifespan, skin cancer, hearing issues, vision problems, crossed eyes, light sensitivity, sunburn, bleeding disorders (in some forms), and albino animals also tend to be inbred which leads to a large number other issues such as shortened lifespan and a tendency towards cancer and other unhealthy mutations.
I do not think it is worth it to have an animal with eye issues, no matter what the coloring. Sight problem in humans is very hard on them, and while animals may not know what they are missing, it is unfair for them to have to suffer with a shorter lifespan, weak immunity or partial blindness. Some animals with his disorder may even have trouble feeding because of it.
HINT: Albinism is different then piebalding, or dark-eyed white as well as some other pigmentation mutations.

Waardenburg syndrome: Found in people, cats, and ferrets as well as other animals, it is one of the worse mutations as it can lead to mental retardation, deafness, trouble with balance or coordination, short lifespan and early cancer, cranial defects, broad skull, wide set eyes, lack of appropriate social skills, and more health problems then a normal colored animal.
This is terrible that people are breeding Panda, Dark-eyed White, Patterned White and Blazed ferrets knowing they can suffer such pain in their lives! To make matters worse, they don't tell people that their ferrets have this and so we lost two of our own ferrets to issues with it! Both were under one year of age when they showed symptoms of cancer, fatigue, and anemia. It was very, very sad what they went through and what we had to go through not having the money to help them. Breeding an animal that is 85% likely to be at least partially deaf is thoughtless, as nothing wants to suffer without the ability to hear sound.

Misshapen Fish: Goldfish are bred into shapes that distort their swim bladder. They suffer from deformed internal organs, trouble swimming in the proper position or feeding, and are far more delicate and prone to illness then a normal, healthy animal. It is only because people give special care to these animals that they ever survive with these mutations. Mutations are almost never beneficial to an animal and generally should not be promoted because of it.

Scaless Reptiles: Scales are the protection for these animals, what allows them to climb, to avoid cutting themselves. While it is not lethal, and snakes can live with it in the wild, I do not agree that such a vital part of an animal should be removed simply for the appearance of it.

Crested Ducks: This mutation leads to a hole in the skull of a duck and is a lethal gene, meaning that if two crested ducks mate then some of their ducklings will get two copies of the genes and will die soon before or soon after hatching because their brain comes out of their skull. This is highly disturbing and likely very painful. Those that do survive may suffer paralysis or other issues. These ducks can also be in danger of head trauma even with only one copy because of the hole in their skull. The skull is there for a reason, so I don't see why anyone would want a funny looking pet that had a hole in a vital bone.

Dwarfisim: This is something that really bothers me because I have seen first hand the agony it causes an animal. Dwarfisim in people is terrible to live with, no one would want it. And yet millions of animals are born with it every year. From short legged cats to dachshunds, Bulldogs, labrador retrievers, rats, goats, horses, donkeys, cattle, ferrets, rabbits and others.
There are two kinds. The kind that causes short legs in cats and dachshunds is called achondroplasia and while it is a bad mutation that causes an unnatural life for a pet, shortened bones, back issues, ect, it is not near as bad as the other kind.
Osteochondrodysplasia is linked with a large head, undershot jaw, crooked teeth (some animals must be fed special diets), abnormal bone shapes, poor or lack of growth, enlarged joints, sidways bowing forelimbs, spinal deviation, inability to naturally breed or give-birth (bulldogs almost always need a c-section, which is unnatural and to breed an animal that cannot naturally reproduce somehow seems wrong). Abnormal nasal passageways leads to constant difficulty in breathing (like always having asthma), a too large tongue that may uncomfortably stick out of the mouth, outward-turned feet, depressed or caved-in muzzle, loud breathing, excessive panting and difficulty regulating temperature (they may die if they over-heat), bulging eyes, distended abdomens, occasional spinal pain, delayed dental eruption, skin abnormalities (wrinkling, scaling, thinning, ect), patchy hair loss, abnormal behavior, heart abnormalities, megaesophagus, shortened lifespan, discomfort and pain, arthritis, trouble walking and jumping as a normal dog would, trouble eating or grooming as a normal dog would, issues with eyes coming out of their head, and many, many other issues.
With all of these things it is almost worse then cancer that any animal should suffer the pain and unnatural life of dwarifism. If you want a pug, bulldog, shih-tzu, ect, then perhaps rescuing them from a shelter instead of promoting the breeding of them would be better.
Horses and donkeys with dwarfisim suffer just as much, and while they claim cats can move like a normal cat, who would want legs that could not bend and move naturally? A cat lives to pounce and play, and short legs do not allow natural movement such as this. Short faces in Persian cats lead to a variety of health issues and makes breathing difficult.

Large Dogs: Like gigantism, overly large dogs like great danes and many other guard dogs tend to live a far shorter life with far more health problems then a wolf of the same size. They are slower to mature and grow and if exercised too much when young can suffer issues in that way as well.
Hip and elbow dysplasia, panosteitis (bone inflammation found in growing dogs of large breeds), bloat, torsion, dilated cardiomyopathy, aortic stenosis (a serious heart disease), spondylolitheses (malformation of cervical vertebrae that causes unsteady gait and weakness), Cruciate ligament tears, cherry eye, and arthritis.
I have seen first hand the pain being too large and misshapen can cause in large dogs. Our beloved Arby suffered from arthritis because of his dwarf like leg shape and he died at only 8 years of age. He was in great pain, to the point where he could barely stand or walk, he would need help to go outside to use the bathroom, he would hide his face because he didn't want to interact with people for fear it would only hurt him. He lost so much muscle. In the end, it was likely cancer that took his life, we aren't sure, but no matter what it was terrible to see such pain in a dog that is actually quite young for a canine.

Cornish X Chickens: Where do I begin. These chickens grow so fast and so large that they generally can't live past a year-old (normal chickens can live past 15 years, depending on what breed they are). They do not behave naturally because of growing too fast and weighing too much, eat way more then a normal chicken in an attempt to keep up with their bodies, are prone to heart-attack and organ failure, bruising diseases and viruses, leg issues and lameness (very often so I hear), abcess and swellings from their weigh pressing against where they rest, inability to perch off the ground (they can't jump, fly, run, or behave like a normal chicken), trouble breeding naturally, heat-stroke and trouble regulating temperature, some will not forage (depending on how they are raised and what variety they are), and prone to bacterial infections.
It really depends on how you keep them, but any animal that grows up three times as fast and three times as large as it naturally should is not going to be healthy. This is muscle, not fat, but that much muscle is not healthy either. I have heard so many stories, and keeping my own chickens I know just how much fun they are behaving naturally.
I'm not saying I don't enjoy eating chicken and eggs, but we should raise a happy chicken up until the day its butchered.

There, my ranting is over. I hope that less animals will suffer as we make more choices to breed more responsibly and select for more natural animals with less debilitating mutations.
Think of how you would handle these diseases and if you would want them or not. We are the ones selecting for these genes, so let us be responsible and caring and think of their health and happiness before our own amusement at their appearance.

Thanks for putting up with me. icon-smile
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Jan 24, 2016 4:00 pm

I think a lot of it is just a history of poor breeding in the breeds. Dwarf rabbits live longer than larger rabbits. Doxie's are among the longest lived breeds. Bernese Mountain Dog only live 6-8 years on average, they don't have any of your listed deformities. Maybe you'd say it''s giantism to be around 100 pounds but there's a long list of dogs that size and explain the Leonberger who weighs more and can live up to 15 years?

Every breed has a list of common health problems Huskies are prone to Degenerative myelopathy, juvenile cataracts, dry eye, arthritis, zinc-responsive dermatosis.

Crested ducks, so just don't breed them together. That's like if you breed two gray chihuahua's together you get balding so sane people just don't breed them together rather than try to do away with all gray in chihuahua lines, though they have actually found they can test for the balding gene so if tested clear you could now breed two blues. If they research and find the gene responsible for the skull issues then it's possible you could safely breed two crested ducks together in the future too. They're already working on something similar to help with the breeds issues. Not DNA but they can do tests and only breed the ones without issues and still keep the looks. http://www.european-poultry-science.com ... TAxNA.html

Vast majority of albino pets seem to do just fine and live normal lifespans, like albino mice, rats, wallabies etc.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby Whisper » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:45 pm

I think most of it just depends on how you breed them, with the exception of crested ducks and mutations that can be avoided by not breeding two animals with the same mutation. If you continue to inbreed every animal, they are going to have a few problems, cause every one is going to have the similar genes and diseases they are more susceptible to. Like TamanduaGirl said, dwarf rabbits do live just as long, and are just as healthy, in most cases. I breed Hollands, and they are very healthy. However, they have many birth defects, peanuts being the one caused by the dwarf gene. I haven't heard of the albin gene affecting animals in a negative way before. I have found them to actually have a higher energy level than most colored anima,s.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:18 pm

I did not mean to make it sound as though all large dogs are unhealthy, most certainly not. I have done lots of research on dog breeds and currently am collecting information on their health issues and life span. However, the fact that some large breeds are unhealthy and others are healthy points towards poor selection and the fact that people continue not to correct said issues is sad. 8 years was not enough for us with our dog. :icon-frown:

Even ducks with a single crested gene have issues, which is why I am against it. So often people breed lethal genes into animals and do not care, but I think every animal should be treated as though it matters, even if it is only a baby. For example, double merle dogs don't have a "lethal" gene but they are often put down at birth because of their deafness.

As for dwarf rabbits, we kept a rabbit and have friends that keep rabbits, and they are far healthier then other dwarf species, just as dwarf rats are. The only reason I mentioned them is because it is a gene that can lead to health issues that could be avoided if they simply were not selected for, not because dwarf rabbits have a shorter lifespan.

Albino animals often live a normal lifespan, which is one of the reasons why it is such a struggle. I love their appearance and their personalities are great, but to think that they should not have all they can possibly have seems unfair. Sight problems, increased risk of cancer, possibility of lowered immunity, it just doesn't seem quite fair to select for these issues even if it doesn't prevent a natural lifespan.

I do not mean to say that people who breed these animals are not caring, cautious, and thoughtful, but there are so many who aren't. There are SO MANY bad genes and unhealthy breeds because people desire appearance above health. If you look at feral animals you will see that with-in just one or two generations almost all these mutations vanish. This is because they are not beneficial and often harmful to the animal they are bred into.

We pet-sat a dachshund who was full of energy and a lot of fun. She was also fast and a good jumper, but she would hurt her back and she had to be put down at a relatively young age because of either bloat or a blockage.

It is just hard to think people spend millions of dollars to look for cures that could be avoided if people weren't so determined to try to keep a specific look in an animal. I LOVE all the variety in animals, but I also love to see them live to their fullest, exhibiting all the behaviors they were made to exhibit and living a long life that is as pain free as possible.

I certainly appreciate any input though. I'm still studying all this, so its all a learning process. icon-smile
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:30 am

I've known a lot of people with albino animals though and don't remember any with any of those problems. There may be an increased risk but seems like the increased risk is small. One reason this might be is the selective breeding for healthy albinos. Another may be species dependent where some species have more issues with it than others. For things like cancer just a bit of caution on the owners parts would help. Any lighter coat color increases the skin cancer risks. But Quasi was all white and almost no skin pigment(white chi x hairless crested) he spent tons of time in the sun all his life and no problems but The dog I had before him was a golden tan double coat and got skin cancer in her mouth. She did spend more time outside in her youth than he did though.

It also varies by species as mentioned before. Albinism is not linked to deafness in cats but 18% of white boxers are deaf and they aren't even albino. So do we stop albanism in all species just because of what can happen in some others? You could stop all albinos but breed just white furred animals but there's no guarantee that white will be healthier than albino as is the case with boxers. Actually white coat in dogs increases the chance of deafness no matter the breed. No more white dogs at all?

The crested ducks would be one of the worst examples since it does cause such serious problems but the thing is when they first showed up people didn't know what was going on inside along with it. By the time it's found out they are all over and the average person still doesn't know that about them. The good breeders would but the really good breeders likely could reduce or even eliminate the problems associated with it with some effort and maybe a bit more research to help.

I think if you can say all of x-mutation will have serious and detrimental health issues then it shouldn't be bred for, like those horrible twisty cats. However the Munchkin Cats were allowed in most of the cat registries as a breed because it was determined it doesn't inhibit them in any significant way and they don't develop the same issues as doxies. There's a small increase in the incidence of a couple issues but you really could say that of most any breed.

All breeds are mutations since not like their wild counter parts. and each breed has it's own increased risks over others. So I see it as okay to breed a mutation if it does not increase the risk of something serious significantly. There will always be some debate on what's "serious" and what percentage is "Significant."
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:34 am

Scaleless reptiles occur naturally in the wild, and surprisingly, the majority of them seem to do just fine with the same amount of scarring as their scaled relatives. I have no problem with people breeding scaleless reptiles. Scales are for protection, and in captivity, our animals are already protected by us. No serious reptile owner will ever feed their snake live food due to the risks involved (unless absolutely necessary), so a scaleless animal will not be getting bitten by its food either. To be without scales is not changing the way of life of the animal. It behaves exactly as it should.

A reptile that does not have scales is not suddenly prone to getting cuts either. Many people use the argument that now that they don't have scales they're going to cut themselves all up. Keep in mind, skin is durable! Skin doesn't just tear anytime it touches something sharp.

The silkback bearded dragons do require a bit more attention where humidity is concerned. In my opinion, as long as the keeper is made fully aware that they need to adjust their husbandry for this, it is not cruel either. They are not suffering. Bump the humidity some, and they'll be good to go.

So scaleless is generally a healthy captive mutation. The ethics of it can be debated, sure, but as far as it being cruel to breed them--it is not. Lots of people think it's cruel, but they're forgetting what the real definition of cruel is.

The same holds true for color morphs of various animal species. While an albino snake in the wild is likely to be eaten, an albino snake in captivity is not (obviously, lol). I think it's fine to have captive colors. These animals have the exact same quality of life as their "wildtype" brothers and sisters.

Issues would only arise if we were putting them back into the wild, which obviously we're not going to do. In which case, mother nature would quickly kill off all the pretty colors we made and revert back to the wildtype colors.

I'm speaking mostly about reptiles here though.

(as an aside, Piebaldism is a form of partial leucism. Leucism is when ALL pigment is removed, not just melanin.)

In mammals, there are some things that to me should obviously be avoided--lethal combos, combos that leave an animal blind or deaf, etc. There are more issues seen in the dog/cat community due to unhealthy, irresponsible breeding that we can point to.

I personally think the different breeds ought to be preserved. There is beauty and history behind each breed, even if we don't personally see it. I personally do not think it is right to subject an animal to a c-section each time it is having puppies. But I'm not saying that means we need to just stop breeding english bulldogs outright either. While I think it is certainly important to keep the breed intact and alive, I also think breed standard can certainly be shifted to fix some of these problems. Years ago, english bulldogs were able to give birth without surgery. That was something that developed recently. So yes, breeders should be searching for problems to fix that. If it means changing the look of the breed a little, then yes, that's fine. But some people just think each one of these dogs needs to be neutered/spayed. Easy for them to say when an english bulldog isn't their choice breed, isn't it? It certainly isn't mine, but I get it.

Breeders should work together to start up lineages that are free from these defects. We can health test these days. With new technology and advancements in science, there is not much excuse for breeders who produce unhealthy dogs again and again. Our shih-tzu died from a liver shunt, and upon hearing this, our breeder cut her line--neutered and spayed each one of her shih-tzus. While I think a better solution may have been to discover which dog(s) in her program carried the bad genes, she just didn't want to deal with the heartbreak of producing more unhealthy animals--which is totally fair, and I respect her decision. She contacted her other customers as well and informed them of the liver shunt our puppy died from so that they would be aware.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby Whisper » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:49 pm

In rabbits, I don't think the dwarf gene affects anything. I think that weakness is caused by the max factor gene, which was Introduced by a rabbit brought from Germany to improve the form of Hollands. Some rabbits survive this, and are genetically weaker.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:12 pm

Ash wrote:Scaleless reptiles occur naturally in the wild, and surprisingly, the majority of them seem to do just fine with the same amount of scarring as their scaled relatives. I have no problem with people breeding scaleless reptiles. Scales are for protection, and in captivity, our animals are already protected by us. No serious reptile owner will ever feed their snake live food due to the risks involved (unless absolutely necessary), so a scaleless animal will not be getting bitten by its food either. To be without scales is not changing the way of life of the animal. It behaves exactly as it should.

A reptile that does not have scales is not suddenly prone to getting cuts either. Many people use the argument that now that they don't have scales they're going to cut themselves all up. Keep in mind, skin is durable! Skin doesn't just tear anytime it touches something sharp.

The silkback bearded dragons do require a bit more attention where humidity is concerned. In my opinion, as long as the keeper is made fully aware that they need to adjust their husbandry for this, it is not cruel either. They are not suffering. Bump the humidity some, and they'll be good to go.

So scaleless is generally a healthy captive mutation. The ethics of it can be debated, sure, but as far as it being cruel to breed them--it is not. Lots of people think it's cruel, but they're forgetting what the real definition of cruel is.

The same holds true for color morphs of various animal species. While an albino snake in the wild is likely to be eaten, an albino snake in captivity is not (obviously, lol). I think it's fine to have captive colors. These animals have the exact same quality of life as their "wildtype" brothers and sisters.

Issues would only arise if we were putting them back into the wild, which obviously we're not going to do. In which case, mother nature would quickly kill off all the pretty colors we made and revert back to the wildtype colors.

I'm speaking mostly about reptiles here though.

(as an aside, Piebaldism is a form of partial leucism. Leucism is when ALL pigment is removed, not just melanin.)

In mammals, there are some things that to me should obviously be avoided--lethal combos, combos that leave an animal blind or deaf, etc. There are more issues seen in the dog/cat community due to unhealthy, irresponsible breeding that we can point to.

I personally think the different breeds ought to be preserved. There is beauty and history behind each breed, even if we don't personally see it. I personally do not think it is right to subject an animal to a c-section each time it is having puppies. But I'm not saying that means we need to just stop breeding english bulldogs outright either. While I think it is certainly important to keep the breed intact and alive, I also think breed standard can certainly be shifted to fix some of these problems. Years ago, english bulldogs were able to give birth without surgery. That was something that developed recently. So yes, breeders should be searching for problems to fix that. If it means changing the look of the breed a little, then yes, that's fine. But some people just think each one of these dogs needs to be neutered/spayed. Easy for them to say when an english bulldog isn't their choice breed, isn't it? It certainly isn't mine, but I get it.

Breeders should work together to start up lineages that are free from these defects. We can health test these days. With new technology and advancements in science, there is not much excuse for breeders who produce unhealthy dogs again and again. Our shih-tzu died from a liver shunt, and upon hearing this, our breeder cut her line--neutered and spayed each one of her shih-tzus. While I think a better solution may have been to discover which dog(s) in her program carried the bad genes, she just didn't want to deal with the heartbreak of producing more unhealthy animals--which is totally fair, and I respect her decision. She contacted her other customers as well and informed them of the liver shunt our puppy died from so that they would be aware.



I totally agree with that! icon-smile I LOVE the history behind breeds, and for a long time now I've wanted to help fix breeds up so they could be healthy and historic.
Also, since you've pointed out some good facts about scaless reptiles, I have to say I can second guess myself on whether they are unhealthy or not. I'm just being cautious, as so many mutations can have detrimental affects but so many also don't. I love the curly coats in our dogs, which is a mutation. I also love my beautiful red Corn Snake, she is GORGEOUS.

The reason for deafness in white dogs is Waardenberg's, albinism I don't believe causes Wardys in animals. Wardys is found in blue eyed, white cats, but I don't think in albino cats. However, in people with albinism they say that bright light hurts their eyes and they have rapid eye movement which makes seeing difficult. For this reason, I believe most mammals with albinism likely have similar issues. People with albino turtles claim they have difficulty eating, and breeders of pet albino birds say they are fare more delicate then those that are not albino.
It is strange, however, how often albinism shows up in the wild since they can't survive there. I still haven't figured that out.
They did a test and found animals with melanism tend to have higher immune functions, meaning melanin is likely linked to immune functions. I also read somewhere that creature with complete albinism in their whole body (not just on the skin and eyes) cannot survive. However, since I don't remember the source I'm not sure how true this is or if it only applies to certain species.

I'm glad that the cat registries are so careful about what they select for. I actually heard some registries won't allow Scottish Folds because of the health problems associated with it. The gene that causes fold in their ear also leads to the development of osteochondrodysplasia. All Scottish folds have this disorder, whether they show symptoms or not- the fold in their ears is caused by a cartilage deformity that also affects their joints. It is a painful and debilitating affect.

However, I understand why people love the breeds they love. We have have poodle mix dogs and some people claim that they are unethical because a large number of puppy-mills breed them. However, they are the most beautiful, friendly, perfect, amazing dogs in my opinion and I'd stand up for them any day. I certainly understand people who stand up for their favorite animals.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:56 pm

I didn't know that about folds. Since it's the disease that causes the ears I don't see any way around making that one better. I never liked their look myself but I know some do.

I love the ringtiled/curl tail cat mutation though. I met one once as a stray. She held it piggy like or curled over her back most of the time but could use it normal too. She was a random stray but I put up posters and she was claimed. I was sad not to keep her but my cat at the time would accept no others. I wish they had kept pursuing the American Ringtail as a breed but it seems they stopped for some reason so you'd only find one by a fluke.

It's not actually odd for wild albinos. It's a recessive gene. Animals with only one copy of the gen can survive fine. They can be prolific they look normal. But that means a large population of het for albinos can happen then the hets start breeding with other hets because of the larger population and that makes offspring with 2 genes, homogeneous albinos, and those are the ones that wont survive well since the gene is no longer dormant since doubled.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby Ash » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:16 pm

Complete albinism is lack of pigment on the skin as well as the eyes. I'm not sure how much more albino you can get, lol. I've never heard of albinism being a lethal. They may be more sensitive to the sun, but then you just adjust your husbandry of said animal. Kind of like the silkback bearded dragons requiring higher humidity requirements.

Couldn't agree more with this statement made by TamanduaGirl:
So I see it as okay to breed a mutation if it does not increase the risk of something serious significantly. There will always be some debate on what's "serious" and what percentage is "Significant."


A great example of a breed with issues is the lundehund. Lundehunds often suffer from gastroenteropathy--they can't take in nutrients from food they eat, so will essentially starve to death even on a full stomach. This is obviously a very undesirable trait. But fortunately the lundehund community is small and tight, so they are working together to try to solve this issue. Instead of ending the breed (I would be very sad to see it go), they are trying to figure out if this is something ALL lundehunds carry, or something that can be bred out. If they can identify carriers, then they can get rid of the disease altogether eventually. But it takes time. In the meantime, the best they can do is provide carefully-balanced diets to try to avoid these issues (once again, husbandry changes to accommodate a unique animal). I want the lundehund breed to thrive, and I really support the breeders that are trying to figure out this issue in their dogs.

I think, in general, issues with certain breeds of dogs, cats, etc. have arisen because of ignorance. For a while we did not have the understanding of genetics that we do today. So problems arose, but we didn't understand that they could be fixed. Nowadays people are starting to be more educated about the issues involved in their chosen breed.

I personally adore shih-tzus. Yes, they have issues with their faces being so flat. They can't be out in the sun, be overexerted, fly on airplanes--but to me that just means one needs to modify their husbandry. What works for one breed of dog isn't going to work for another. If there are other more extreme breathing problems cropping up, then that's a problem and those lines need to be worked with closely (careful breeding to isolate the issues), or just ended completely. But a dog getting short on breath because it's out in the sun for a while and is exerting itself is still going to be a perfectly happy animal indoors. So the regular, breed-standard shih-tzu is going to be okay.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:16 pm

Oh and I've worked with mini donkeys and should point out they are natural if that's what you are referring to as a "dwarf" donkey?
Here's a good read on it: http://www.quartermoonranch.com/origin.html

Miniature horses are also not dwarfs. It's frowned on to have dwarf minis.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:32 am

TamanduaGirl wrote:Oh and I've worked with mini donkeys and should point out they are natural if that's what you are referring to as a "dwarf" donkey?
Here's a good read on it: http://www.quartermoonranch.com/origin.html

Miniature horses are also not dwarfs. It's frowned on to have dwarf minis.



No, don't worry. I know that dwarfs are not excepted in donkeys or horses, which I am so glad for. The reason I mentioned it is because some breeders looking for money only have bred it into them to try to get smaller animals. There is information out there on how to avoid such animals when buying.
I love mini donkeys, I want to be able to get one in the future. icon-smile
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:36 am

TamanduaGirl wrote:I didn't know that about folds. Since it's the disease that causes the ears I don't see any way around making that one better. I never liked their look myself but I know some do.

I love the ringtiled/curl tail cat mutation though. I met one once as a stray. She held it piggy like or curled over her back most of the time but could use it normal too. She was a random stray but I put up posters and she was claimed. I was sad not to keep her but my cat at the time would accept no others. I wish they had kept pursuing the American Ringtail as a breed but it seems they stopped for some reason so you'd only find one by a fluke.

It's not actually odd for wild albinos. It's a recessive gene. Animals with only one copy of the gen can survive fine. They can be prolific they look normal. But that means a large population of het for albinos can happen then the hets start breeding with other hets because of the larger population and that makes offspring with 2 genes, homogeneous albinos, and those are the ones that wont survive well since the gene is no longer dormant since doubled.


I meant it was odd that albinos could crop up in so many species. Why does the mutation keep appearing in completely unrelated species? When did that recessive gene first get into their genetic code? Its the same with melanism, leusism (I hope I spelled that right icon-smile ) and pied animals. Reptiles, birds, mammals, fish, they all get the same mutations in their genes but they obviously couldn't have gotten them from one another.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:17 pm

It doesn't have to be introduced. It's a mutation. The gene just needs to get damaged and mutate. I don't know that it's any more common than other mutations. It's just a very obvious one once it's doubled. Exactly what causes that gene to get damaged though? *shrugs* That's kind of like asking exactly what causes genes in cells to mutate and become cancer or genes to mutate and cause learning disabilities. Other than damaged DNA we don't really know, aside from some contributing factors for some things but not exactly a specific cause.
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby naja-naja » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:04 am

i keep reptiles, and i can say that albino and scaleless animals have no health issues what so ever, adult specimens of both have been discovered in the wild in several species, so clearly the disadvantage isn't that great. any difficulty posed by these traits in a wild setting are more than offset by the artificial advantages that zero predators, ready supply of food, climactic control and veterinary care provided in captivity. truly damaging morphs (platinum line leucistic reticulated pythons, super jaguar carpet pythons, several ball python super forms and combinations, super motley boas etc etc) are usually avoided by breeders or if accidentally produced are used as feeders and so never enter the pet or breeding market.
i don't know about the other mutations you described, but note that dwarfism in reptiles is usually a naturally occurring phenomenon, usually associated with island populations, examples include boas that get 4-5 feet long instead of 8 foot plus, and reticulated pythons that reach 6-10 foot instead of 15--18 foot.
1.4 burmese pythons
0.1 indian pythons
0.1 boa constrictors
1.1 macklott's pythons
1.2 reticulated pythons
0.1 blue tegu

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