As chairman of the Collegium Cardiologicum e.V. we want to comply with the request of the operators of this site to write an opinion. We ourselves are Labrador holders and have like all of you the common goal of encouraging the health of our dogs.
Tricuspid valve dysplasia is in our perception a heart disease in pedigree dogs that is so controversial and intensely discussed in chats, blogs and mail groups, as almost no other disease. The information on this site is very well researched and compiled extensively. Mrs. Prasser [editor's note: after wedding Mrs. Lemcke] and Mrs. Baumann incorporate the latest scientific findings in this information page and prepare them comprehensibly. We know that the authors have consulted regularly several colleagues of the CC e.V.. Of course, there are also formulated consequences for the future from the personal point of view that seem generally useful, but have not yet been evaluated. Therefore, we are glad to have the opportunity to explain it here.
As a representative of a company that deals with the hereditary heart disease in dogs we would like to give some advice at this point.
Before selection mechanisms of affected breeders to combat TVD are formulated, there must be identified how many Labradors are affected in the first place. There are, to our knowledge, only incomplete data sets from different countries, which are not connected to each other. Also, the CC has non-representative data in its DATABASE.
To achieve this goal, we believe, a collaboration of holders, breeders and associations responsible for the respective breed is essential and the main key to success.
The basis for a successful reply to the question "What is the average percentage of affected dogs within the population?" can only be the three-phase model. As an umbrella organization for the solution of such questions about the health of our dogs, the VDH e.V. in cooperation with Collegium Cardiologicum e.V. has developed this phase program.
In the first phase, robust figures are generated by mass screening of dogs. Since the perception of the frequency of TVD in Labrador in Germany is very different among the discussants and nobody has representative figures, this first phase of data collection is very important.
Thereafter, in the evaluate phase the true frequency of the disease in the study population is determined. The frequency of the TD and the determined severity levels are then the basis for the selection phase. Dogs, who are already suffering clinically at this stage, are immediately removed from the breeding in accordance with the TschGes.
[Because this part already leds to ambiguities, we want to add an editor's note: We also do think that the three-phase model of the VDH e.V. is an appropriate and necessary instrument for disclosure of potencial breeding dispositions. However, concerning the tricuspid valve dysplasia in Labrador Retriever this phase model of the VDH e.V. has not yet been applied.]
In the last 20 years we have advised a number of breeds VDH e.V. on issues similar to the TVD. Recently, in 2014 we successfully introduced the project DCM in the first phase in the Great Dane in cooperation with the DDC and initiated a satisfactory approach for everyone involved (from lover to breed warden).
Often the results of a race screening are astonishing:
The individual fate of Labradors that have severe TVD and suffer because of it, is of course very sad. Fact is, in our view as investigator, that the great majority of Labradors phenotypically (cardiac ultrasound) is not affected. Whether the TVD is more common than the natural rate of occurrence of heart disease in a population, we're unable to confirm because of the reasons mentioned above, but there is a proven breed predisposition and heredity without knowing the locus. Reason enough to elucidate further. Cooperation with the race responsible breeding associations is certainly the best solution. In order to realize it compromises from all sides are needed.
Dr. Jan-Gerd Kresken & Dr. Ralph Wendt from CC e.V.