Health and Genetics
Our Jack Russells are our trustworthy friends and companions - we do not want to see them in pain or overcome by illness. However in reality this happens. We all try to prevent illness by improving diets, increasing exercise and overwhelm them with love. Information on how to identify illness and disease is vitally important in our constant strive to keep our Jack Russells healthy and fit.
The unknown factor in all forms of life is the genetic makeup of each individual. It is important to choose your Jack Russell, while still a puppy, to limit the possibility of genetic defects and causing problems at a later stage. By knowing what to look for you can identify possible genetic defects and avoid these animals.
We would be providing information on a regular basis to equip you with the information to ensure a healthy and problem free Jack Russell relationship.

Health
   Your Jack Russell and ear infection
   Your Jack Russell terrier is like many other dogs prone to various types of infection. Infections are however easily identifiable and treatable.
   One of the most common infections currently around is ear infection. Since your Jack Russell cannot tell you that he/she is in pain, you should be able to recognise the symptoms of an ear infection. Here are the basics of this illness.
   Causes
   Ear infection is more common amongst dogs with droopy ears, such as Labradors, Bassets and Cocker Spaniels, or dogs with hairy inner ear flaps such as Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers. This is because ear infection is usually caused by the accumulation of wax, thick or matted hair in the ear canal, debris or a foreign body. Bacteria and yeast are also common culprits of smelly ears, while a tumour or impaired drainage of the ear also occurs in some dogs. Your Jack Russell is however also at risk so it is important to know the symptoms:
Symptoms
Symptoms of an ear infection include:
   • Constantly shaking or tilting of the head
   • Scratching of the ears
   • Red and inflamed ears with an unpleasant smell
   • A black or yellowish discharge from the ears
   To treat an ear infection effectively, your vet will have to know the exact cause of the infection. You should, therefore, take your Jack Russell to the vet if you recognise any of the above symptoms. If an ear infection is left untreated, it can harm the eardrum and close the ear canal. Surgical reconstruction of the ear canal may then become necessary. Also, constant shaking of the head and scratching of the ears can lead to broken blood vessels.

     

   Diagnosis and treatment
   Your vet will diagnose an ear infection by:
   • First checking that the eardrum is still intact (some medications can cause hearing loss if they are administered to a ruptured eardrum)
   • Checking the eardrum for foreign bodies (sometimes sedation is necessary to do this)
   • Taking a sample of the material in the canal and examining it under a microscope to determine whether bacteria or any other organisms are causing the infection
   If the vet suspects that your Jack Russell has middle ear infection, the diagnosis and treatment may include lab tests, X-rays and even surgery. Treatment of an ear infection usually includes medication and cleaning your Jack Russell's ears daily for one to two weeks. Your vet will show you how to do this. It is essential that no water come near your Jack Russell's ears during this time.
   Prevention
   You can save your Jack Russell the pain and irritation of an ear infection by practising good ear hygiene. Clean your Jack Russell's ears weekly with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleansing solution. If your Jack Russell has hairy ears, a regular visit to the parlour or veterinarian for some grooming is also important. Remember that as with humans, ear pain can drive your Jack Russell 'insane'.
Source: H. Perold

     

Genetics
   Genetic Defects
   Since the gene pool of good quality Jack Russell Terriers are relatively small the evidence for any genetic defects should be closely monitored. No known hereditary disorders are known in this country.
   Isolated genetic defects that should immediately cause concern include:
   • Overshot and undershot jaws,
   • Crooked legs - legs not straight,
   • Incorrect pigmentation, grey on black,
   • Blue and grey eyes,
   • Both testicles not full descended,
   • Liver noses.
   Due to the limited gene pool inbreeding is a major concern. The following breeding combinations should never be allowed
   • Father and daughter,
   • Mother and son,
   • Brother and Sister
   If line breeding is followed it should be closely monitored. Any signs of genetic disorders should immediately be noted by the breeder and acted upon.