Common Occurrence Of Multiple Genetic Defects In Dogs And Cats

Uey is a sweet little dog. You can read about how he came by the name under the Pet Names tab from the home page, where you can also read some really interesting stories about how pets got their names.  Or, just click on

Uey is a good example of what happens when genes go awry in an embryo. Interestingly, when DNA goes bad, it frequently makes several mistakes at once.

Just to look at him, you’d think he was an excellent example of a purebred Pomeranian. He has a beautiful coat, holds his head and ears erect, and his tail…well, then there’s his tail. He doesn’t have one. Not a short one. Not a nub. Nothing.

Birth defect number one.

I spoke to the surgeon who neutered him. He was cryptorchid, meaning one of his testicles was not descended into the scrotum.

Birth defect number two.

The surgeon reported that she was unable to find a second testicle. She explored the abdomen, she found a vas deferens, followed it out to its end, but there was no testicle there. She even had another doctor in the operatory come and look. Neither one of them could find a testicle.

Birth defect number three.

It is not unusual for multiple birth defects such as these to appear in an individual pet. When your pet’s doctor recommends that you not breed a dog with a birth defect he is not only encouraging you to be a soldier in the war against pet overpopulation, he is being responsible in limiting breeding to those specimen animals who are examples of the best. Breeding animals with even one birth defect (and possibly more hidden ones) lowers the quality of an entire breed.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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