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Fair to provide health tests for dogs

Friday, August 31, 2007 | 6:35 p.m. CDT; updated 2:10 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Heart and eye exams might be tests you would consider for yourself, but what about for your dog?

The All Breed Health Fair and Fun Day, in conjunction with American Kennel Club Responsible Dog Ownership month, will offer these tests and more Sept. 8 at the Columbia Canine Sports Center at 4506 I-70 Drive S.E..

“This is the first time we’ve tried to do this,” said Rosemary Teel, president of the Columbia Missouri Kennel Club. “We’ve always done something rather small. We have a lovely facility to do it in now.”

The sports center is a 28,800 square foot steel-framed, membrane covered building that opened in April.

Owners can bring their leashed dogs with their current vaccinations to the clinic for Canine Eye Registry Foundation tests, cardiac exams and thyroid and patellar luxation testing. Patellar luxation is a joint disease common in small dogs.

Veterinarians and specialists from MU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and other veterinarian clinics will perform the tests, some of which will be less than the regular cost.

“I have two springer spaniels, and it gives me an opportunity to check up on some of the potential issues,” said Ginger Huxley, one of the owners of the canine sports center and a member of the Show Me Agility Club and kennel club. “It’s a good opportunity to get everything done in one spot.”

Pre-registration is required for the tests and must be sent to Robin Nuttall, vice president of the agility club, by Sept. 4. Nuttall can be reached at robinjn@mchsi.com.

Health tests are especially helpful to dog breeders and competitors, Nuttall said. If dogs have health issues, they can pass the same problems on to their puppies. The health problems can also affect a dog’s performance in competitions.

“There are some health issues that some breeds have more problems with than others,” Teel said. “Boxers have inherited heart conditions frequently and labs have problems with hip and elbow dysplasia. These are things that maybe the average pet buyer is not aware of.”

Pet owners can check the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals Web site, offa.org, to see statistics regarding a breed’s common health problems. People interested in buying a purebred puppy may also check to see if a breeder’s dogs have had health tests, Nuttall said.

Other questions can be answered at the fair, which is hosted by the agility club and kennel club.

Veterinarians at the fair will tattoo and implant microchips for dog identification, while vendors, including the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Dog Scouts of America and various other local businesses, will also be on hand. Admission is free.

For $5, children can ride in a wagon pulled by dogs. An obstacle course for dogs will also be available for $5. The sponsors will donate all proceeds to the Central Missouri Humane Society and Columbia Second Chance, Nuttall said.

“We’re hoping regular people can come and enjoy some time with their dogs,” she said. “And help Second Chance and the Humane Society.”


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