The Cockapoo dog isn’t actually a pedigree breed, but a hybrid – a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle, or second and subsequent generations of the same crossing. Hybrid dog types as a whole are very popular in the UK at the moment, and the Cockapoo is the most popular of them all – in fact, they are so popular in the UK that they’re the 4th most popular dog type overall, beating over 200 pedigree breeds to reach their position.
There are a huge number of great reasons behind the popularity of Cockapoos – they are small to medium-sized, excellent with children, very easy to train, and above average in the intelligence stakes too. They also benefit from a coat that tends to be very low-shedding, which helps to increase demand among dog lovers who commonly suffer from allergies to dogs, as a coat of this type spreads less dander and so, is less likely to trigger allergies.
One of the other core factors that have helped the Cockapoo to secure popularity is the inherent hybrid vigour that mixed breed dogs possess. This helps to boost their genetic diversity by crossing two dogs from different breed gene pools, and means that Cockapoos are less likely to inherit any hereditary health defects that can affect either of their two parent breeds.
However, Cockapoos can and sometimes do inherit health problems from their parents nonetheless – and one of these is called gallbladder mucoceles, which is a condition that as you might expect, affects the normal functions of the dog’s gallbladder.
There is a DNA test available for Cockapoos to enable their owners to find out their dog’s status for this condition, which is important information that anyone wishing to breed from their own Cockapoo should find out.
It is quite unusual for a DNA testing protocol to be put in place for a non-pedigree dog type like the Cockapoo, and Cockapoo breeders are advised to make full use of them prior to breeding, to help to ensure that subsequent generations and the breed population as a whole do not suffer from further presentations of the condition in question.
In this article we will explain the basics of what gallbladder mucoceles in the Cockapoo is, how it is inherited, and how to get a Cockapoo tested for the markers of gallbladder mucoceles. Read on to learn more.
Gallbladder mucoceles affects the dog’s gallbladder, and leads to it becoming abnormally swollen or distended due to a build-up of a type of mucous produced in the gallbladder itself, which in turn causes pain and inflammation, and can ultimately lead to the gallbladder rupturing.
Cockapoos affected with gallbladder mucoceles will usually display a wide range of different symptoms, although this can be very variable from dog to dog. These symptoms tend to include sickness and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and an excessive need to both drink and to urinate.
Affected dogs will often display jaundice, and will generally be lethargic, unhappy, and reluctant to exercise.
One of the reasons behind why gallbladder mucoceles has become a recognised hereditary disorder within a hybrid dog type (which is quite uncommon) is because gallbladder mucoceles in the Cockapoo is passed from dog to dog by means of autosomal dominance (with incomplete penetrance).
The majority of hereditary canine health conditions are autosomal recessive – which means that unless both parent dogs are either carriers of or affected by the condition in question, their offspring will not inherit the affected form. This is one of the reasons why hybrid breeds like the Cockapoo have lower risk factors for most hereditary health issues than pedigree dogs, because the crossing of two unrelated breeds means that unless a health condition is common to both of them, it will not be passed on.
However, an autosomal dominant condition only requires faulty DNA from one parent dog, which is how gallbladder mucoceles has been determined to be a risk to Cockapoos.
Gallbladder mucoceles in the Cockapoo is an autosomal dominant condition with incomplete penetrance, and this means that inheriting the markers of the condition from one parent may be enough to cause it in their offspring, but some dogs that inherit the gene fault in question will be lucky enough to be unaffected by it.
Because gallbladder mucoceles in the Cockapoo is an autosomal dominant condition, a dog with the affected form of the condition should not be used for breeding, as there is a strong possibility that they will pass the condition onto their own young.
Both parent dogs should be tested clear prior to breeding, in order to negate the risk of their litter inheriting the condition.
To get a Cockapoo tested for gallbladder mucoceles, you simply need to ask your vet to take a whole blood sample or buccal swab from your dog, and to send it away for testing to a designated laboratory to get a definitive result.
As mentioned, Cockapoos are very common and in great demand in the UK, which means that there are lots of Cockapoo breeders to choose from for persons seeking to buy a puppy of this type. Cockapoo breeders who can demonstrate a commitment to breeding healthy dogs and health testing parent stock prior to breeding to reduce risk factors will have a competitive advantage, and will also be able to rest assured that they have done everything possible to ensure the ongoing good health of their breed lines in perpetuity.