“Benelli,” or “Benny” for short, was 5 years old in 2007 when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right front leg. The gregarious Rottweiler, titled in conformation, obedience, carting, and as a therapy dog, seemed to have a bum leg from the start. At 18 months old, Benny, painfully lame, had surgery for elbow dysplasia.
Terrier breeders who have had dogs that suffer from primary lens luxation (PLL), a painful, genetic eye disorder that often leads to blindness, shared relief when the gene mutation was discovered last fall by researchers at the University of Missouri, and the Animal Health Trust and the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom. By mid-September a DNA test was available for PLL, allowing breeders to test dogs to determine which ones are carriers, affected and normal.
Chihuahua breeder Frieda Kane found her 5-year-old female, CH Guichon's Tika Toy ("Tika"), shaking out of control. Kane felt her heart beating fast as she ran to the dog. "I had just let the dogs inside, and she was missing. When I found her, I thought she was choking, so I picked her up. Then, all of a sudden, she went limp in my arms. I thought she had died," recalls Kane of Durham, N.C.