Inbreeding-related disorders are increasingly showing up in pet dogs across NCR. Hip dysplasia, respiratory or spinal problems, rectal prolapse (a medical condition wherein the walls of the rectum protrude through the anus and hence become visible outside the body), cryptorchidism (undescended testicles prone to cancer) are some conditions such dogs suffer from.
"Defects do not surface until they are three to six months old,'' says veterinarian Dr Pradeep Rana, veterinarian at Niti Bagh pet clinic. Hence, the breeders' hurry to sell off infant pups, though rules say you can't separate a pup from its mother before they are six weeks old at least. Once the symptoms begin to show, breeders and owners, too, abandon them.
Naughty, a five-month-old pug with rectal prolapse, was abandoned by a breeder at Dr Vijay Pathak's Ghaziabad clinic. The little one was lucky to find a home with a Delhi Police inspector, Vinod Pandey, who already has two German Shepherds. "I could see Naughty crying in pain and I just had to take him with me,'' says Pandey.
Kaiser was adopted by 23-year-old Tanushree Rao. "He is now three months old and besides the inability to breed, he is healthy, intelligent and naughty. He really is the light of our lives,'' smiles an indulgent Rao.
But these pups are among a lucky few. A greater number of such inbred dogs, showcased for their `pedigree', end up homeless. Vets rue that greedy breeders exploit pedigreed dogs mercilessly. "Inbreeding aggravates genetic conditions controlled by recessive genes in the parents. As a result, the genetic defects become more prominent in later generations,'' explains Rana.
Sudden rise in demand for a particular breed such as the Pug, following a mobile phone commercial often spurs unethical breeders to abandon the basic rules of breeding. Consequently, consecutive generations suffer severe deformities and diseases. "Many backyard breeders just buy a couple of dogs from the same litter and keep breeding them over and over again. One must ensure that the breeder has a minimum of four to five dogs from the same breed,'' says Dwarka-based breeder Paradeep Moses.
There's little regulation or penalty to put an end to such practices. "The Kennel Club of India (KCI) should refuse to register pups born out of inbreeding,'' says Pathak. But C V Sudarsan, secretary, KCI, Chennai says that if the parents are registered, the puppies are likely to get a certificate as well. The main criterion is that the litter has to be registered within 60 days. That's then before defects show up.