Aruff Ranch AKC Siberian Huskies


Health and OFA Testing

We do health test our dogs and register the results with the OFA ( We test for Hip Dysplasia, Eyes, Cardio and PRA.

All dogs must past these tests in order to be used in our breeding program.


Hip Dysplasia: Although overall Siberians are very healthy, they rank # 158 out of 164 breeds with Hip Dysplasia. They still have a chance of producing a dysplastic pup the chances are lessened by having the parents, grandparents, sibling's etc. tested by the OFA and by not using dogs with a less then fair rating. Ratings come back as Fair, Good or Excellent anything below Borderline, Mild, Moderate or Severe should not be used in any breeding program.


Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen in dogs. Gender does not seem to be a factor, but some breeds are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Large and giant breeds are most commonly affected. Rarely, small breed dogs can also be affected, but are less likely to show clinical signs.


The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally (known as malformation), gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints.


See also Penn Hipp



Inherited eye defects are also a health concern in the Siberian Huskies.


These are juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and progressive retinal atrophy.


Juvenile Cataracts:


The term “cataract” refers to any opacity of the lens of the eye. Dogs of either gender can develop cataracts, and some breeds are especially at risk. Cataracts are more common in older animals but can be present at birth or develop very early in life. Cataracts affect a dog’s vision and can be progressive, in some cases leading to blindness.


Causes of Cataracts in Dogs.


In dogs, cataracts typically have a strong hereditary component. Other contributing causes include nutritional deficiencies, low blood calcium levels, exposure to toxins, diabetes mellitus, radiation, electric shock and blunt or penetrating trauma. Cataracts can occur spontaneously for no known reason. The actual biological cause of cataracts is a change in the protein composition or arrangement of the fibers of the lens of the affected eye.


While cataracts always affect a dog’s vision, they do not affect its health. Most dogs adjust to their vision deficiencies extremely well. Surgical treatment for cataracts is highly successful, and the prognosis for dogs with cataracts is excellent if the condition is identified and treated early. Owners should know that not all cataracts are progressive, and not all affected dogs need surgical correction.


Testing does not show dogs who are carriers of the recessive gene for Juvenile Cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. If a carrier dog is bred with another carrier dog, they will produce a certain number of pups who will get cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. There is no way to tell if your dog is a carrier.



Corneal Dystrophy:


Confusion often arises over the use of the term "corneal dystrophy" in dogs. Technically, "corneal dystrophies" are diseases of the cornea that are bilateral, non-inflammatory and inherited. The confusion arises because the term "corneal dystrophy" is sometimes used to refer to a disease with similar clinical signs but is not hereditary. A more appropriate term for the non-inherited conditions is corneal degeneration.


Siberian Huskies have a form of corneal dystrophy which is properly called "crystalloid corneal dystrophy." it is inherited as a recessive trait and appears round or horizontally oval. It begins as a diffuse, gray haze in the anterior stroma and may progress to crystals or gray-brown smudgy deposits in the anterior stroma, or involve the posterior part of the stroma or the entire stroma. This form of dystrophy usually begins between 5 and 27 months of age.


The opacities usually progress but in some cases they remain static. Their progression may be very slow and may or may not lead to blindness. The mode of inheritance varies among breeds and in many breeds it is unknown. In the Siberian Husky, Corneal Dystrophy has been shown to be a recessively inherited trait with variable expression.


Corneal dystrophy is usually seen in young adult dogs and may affect females more than males. Vision is seldom affected and no effective therapy for the condition exists at this time. Recent genetic tests are suggesting that a recessive gene with variant expression transmits this disorder.


Testing does not show dogs who are carriers of the recessive gene for Juvenile Cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. If a carrier dog is bred with another carrier dog, they will produce a certain number of pups who will get cataracts or Corneal Dystrophy. There is no way to tell if your dog is a carrier.



Progressive Retinal Atrophy:


PRA is a genetic, inherited disease present at birth and results in blindness as the dog matures. PRA slowly adds a film over the lens of the eye similar to cataracts. This film restricts and eventually stops the flow of light into the eye. The Siberian Husky has a unique type of PRA that is only found in Siberians and man. This type of PRA is called XLPRA (X Linked PRA) since it is transmitted through the "XX" chromosome of the female. It will cause a loss of night vision followed by a loss of day vision, eventually blindness. The recessive gene for XLPRA is situated on the "X" chromosome of the female. Females who inherit a defective gene on the "X" chromosome from one parent and a normal gene on the other "X" chromosome from the other parent, will not be seriously affected. They will be carriers with very subtle retinal defects and no loss of vision. The male puppy from a carrier dam will receive either a defective gene or a normal gene, depending on what chromosome was copied in the DNA replication. If he has the defective gene, the dog will be affected with PRA since males carry an "XY" chromosome. The disease in males can be devastating with loss of vision as early as 5 months of age.


It can be easily prevented by testing the dogs intended for breeding. Results will come back as Clear, Carrier or Affected and should be bred accordingly.


PRA is a recessive gene that is found in all dog breeds. It can be found in any size, breed, gender, including the good old fashioned mutts. As long as both parents carry the gene. However there are breeds where it is more prominent.


PRA does not cause discomfort nor is it the cause of any other neurological or heath issues. Most dogs adapt to their lack of vision, and live happy, normal lives. Fenced yards and never leaving the house without a leash is very important. Also, rearranging furniture or moving to a new home will cause the dog to become disoriented until he becomes used to the new layout.


All of our dogs or their parents have been tested and are Clear for PRA. Insuring a puppy from us will not get PRA.


Other Conditions Mistaken for PRA

Not all vision loss in Huskies are caused by PRA. There are reports of acquired (not inherited) retinal changes that have been mistakenly diagnosed as PRA. Since the DNA test for PRA is completely accurate and specific, it can be used to differentiate the inherited form of PRA from the acquired retinal abnormality. A dog clinically diagnosed with an acquired retinal abnormality that is similar to PRA will not test affected for PRA.





Siberians are also more prone to irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea than many other breeds. Feeding them the proper food with good probiotics will usually stop or limit it.




Anyone purchasing a puppy should be aware of this parasite, it lives in almost every dog or puppy. Coccidia are tiny parasites that live in the cells of a dog's intestines. IT IS VERY COMMON in dogs/puppies to have this parasite and when a dog/puppy is stressed (such as moving to a new home, shots, worming, shipping, etc.) this parasite may surface. So the puppy can leave for their new home showing no signs at all, even be negative by doing a fecal exam, then show signs a few days later at their new home.


Symptoms: Loose stools, usually with mucus but not always. Coughing, acting depressed, not eating or drinking. Sleeping a lot more than a normal puppy should.




Giardia are protozoa that live in the small intestine of most mammals. Giardia are found throughout the United States and in many other parts of the world.


Most infections with Giardia are asymptomatic. In cases which it occurs, younger animals are usually affected, and the usual sign is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be acute, intermittent, or chronic. Usually the infected animals will not lose their appetite, but they may lose weight. The feces are often abnormal, being pale, having a bad odor, and appearing greasy. In the intestine, Giardia prevents proper absorption of nutrients, damages the delicate intestinal lining, and interferes with digestion.


The cysts can live several weeks to months outside the host in wet, cold environments. So lawns, parks, kennels, and other areas that may be contaminated with animal feces can be a source of infection for your pet. You should keep your pet away from areas contaminated by the feces of other animals however this is not always easy.


As many as 50% of all Siberians carry one or both of these in their intestines


Their immune system will usually keep coccidia or giardia in check but if their immune system gets suppressed they may get one or both of these and the pup may get diarrhea. They will then need 7 days of Metranidazole or Albon to "wash" the excess out so their immune system can get it back into check.


Food: Changing food/water too quickly or overfeeding. Never change your puppy’s food/water in the 1st week. Do not feed Science Diet or any other hills/prescription brand.

Bottled water is best for the 1st week and gradually mix in your water to not upset a puppies delicate intestinal balance.


Stress: Moving to a new home is a scary, life changing event for pups and can be stressful. They have been taken away from everything and everyone they know. This should subside within 24 hours, Make it easier on your puppy and keep him home (other than the vet if you already have an appointment) for the 1st week.





Even though all puppies need to be socialized at an early age, it is best to avoid taking your pup to the park, walks in the neighborhood, or around other unknown pets until it has been fully vaccinated and has a fully developed immune system (16 weeks of age). Until your new puppy has a full set of vaccinations, its immune system is not properly equipped to handle diseases. Your puppy could easily get worms, parvovirus, coccidia or giardia from contaminated ground. I have made every effort to insure that your puppy will not be exposed to any disease. Unfortunately, these diseases can live in stray animal feces and on the ground for many days, even years and can be easily transmitted to a puppy.


Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoid contact with other animals and unknown places prior to full vaccination of your puppy. Have those people who handle your puppy wash their hands before handling. Since parvo can also be carried on the bottom of your shoes, it is a good idea to keep shoes that you wear outdoors from contacting any area where the puppy sleeps or plays. Seek veterinary treatment IMMEDIATELY if your puppy has come in contact with any of these diseases as they can possibly cause death in your puppy.  

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