Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders

Here is a link to the AKC website for breeders with litters during the COVID19 pandemic:



The Havana Silk Dog is a very healthy breed, on average living well into the teen years.  The Havana Silk Dog Association is very proud of the fact that it is one of the few registries in the world that has established a certification process for registration that requires all breeding dogs to pass designated health clearances in order to register a litter.  This is not because we have a large number of health problems in the breed, but rather because we desire to AVOID any health issues from becoming a problem in the future.  Being pro-active and screening all breeding dogs for potential health issues will go a long way toward preserving the health of this wonderful breed.

We encourage the reporting of any health issues to HSDAA. Use the  Health Issue Report Form to report any health issues.  All health report forms should be sent to: Suzanne LaCosse at

Pro-active health starts at the litter level, with all 8 week old puppies being screened for congenital patella and cardiac function.  Later on, after 12 months of age, breeding dogs are also screened for hips, patellas, cardiac, and eyes and submit soaped photos.  They also have a DNA profile recorded and submit DNA to the CHIC DNA Repository for research purposes and must also have an OFA BAER# to prove normal hearing.   Below is a description of each health screening that is performed in order to help prevent problems from developing in the breed.

Patella – screening for luxation due to poorly formed joints.  All puppies are screened prior to sale for congenital patella luxation. Breeding dogs must have patellas rechecked after a year and submit the results to OFA.

  • It is important to understand however that adolescence and heat cycles can influence joint laxity.
  • No HSD has ever required patella surgery.  OFA statistics report 98.7% normal patella screenings as of 5/2011.

Cardiac – all puppies are screened prior to sale in order to assure there is no evidence of congenital heart defects.  Congenital heart defects are extremely rare and no Silk has ever required heart surgery for a congenital heart defect.  Breeding dogs must have a cardiac screening after one year of age, with results submitted to OFA. Annual screening is strongly recommended for ALL dogs.  There has been some evidence of mitral valve disease in older, neutered dogs.  OFA statistics report 100% normal cardiac screenings as of 5/2011.

BAER – most, if not all, breeders screen their puppies for hearing prior to their leaving for their new homes and all certified (breeding) dogs are screened.  The incidence of unilateral hearing is extremely low and there is no incidence of bilateral deafness in the breed.  OFA statistics report 99.7% normal hearing as of 5/2011.

CERF– all breeding dogs are screened for vision.  There is no evidence of vision impairing disease in the breed.

Hip Dysplasia – poorly formed hip joint that may lead to osteoarthritis in older age. No evidence of osteoarthritis has been observed in the breed.  Radiographs of older dogs’ hip joints have shown no significant osteoarthritic changes.  OFA statistics report 88.7% normal hip screenings as of 5/2011.  Consultation with OFA has revealed that we are seeing looseness in the hip joint but no degenerative joint disease (true hip dysplasia).  Looseness can be caused by hormones, sedatives used during radiographs and also by improper radiographic technique, thereby actually forcing the joint out of place.  There have been no reported cases of arthritic hips even in old age; rather, the breed has proven to be active and mobile into the teen years.

Soaped Photos – It is impossible to evaluate the structure of a dog through a long coat, therefore it is critical to look at the dogs structure, which requires taking pictures of the dog when wet with the hair slicked to the body.  Doing this allows for the evaluation of straight legs, proper proportions, shoulders, structure and angulation of the dog.  All certified dogs are required to provide soaped photos.



As of late, the subject of vaccinations has become very controversial in the canine community. Many dog owners still follow the old school veterinary practice of yearly boosters of combination vaccines. Some owners believe in no vaccines at all. Other veterinaries and owners believe an approach somewhere in the middle is in the best interests of dogs. We strongly encourage all Havana Silk dog owners to become familiar with this issue, to discuss it with your veterinarian and breeder and to research the topic so you can make the best informed decision on the protocol you will choose for your dog. 

Puppy Vaccination Side Effects

This article gives a list of reactions puppies and dogs can experience when they receive certain vaccination.

How Long Does Your Pet’s Rabies Vaccine Last?

This Article gives the schedule for giving your puppy/dog their first rabies vaccination and when to give them follow-up vaccinations.



Dr. Dodds is a well-known and much respected doctor and researcher in the field of canine health. This link will lead you to a list of articles and research projects of great value to any pet owner wanting to consider the pros and cons of vaccinating and our pets.


Now that Spring has sprung, a comprehensive seasonal allergy guide that breaks down the specific allergy triggers that dogs, even specific breeds, may be prone to, including: foods, grasses, and other environmental factors. Many dog owners are unaware that many symptoms our K9 family members face can oftentimes lead back to an allergic response.
See the link to a guide that details the various steps to take to ensure that you and your dog are prepared and that they receive relief as we head into spring!


This link connects one with information on eye disease genetics, eye exam, eye disease glossary and additional eye facts. It is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals which offers the information. The OFA is a great source for information on a variety of diseases and health concerns relating to our dogs.


An overview of Information on deafness is given in this article. It gives information on BEAR testing to which tells you if a dog has hearing in both ears, known as Bilateral hearing. When one is looking to buy a puppy or dog, it is good to request the results of the puppy’s/dog’s BAER test. Genetics and inheritance of canine deafness is explained, at this link, and includes a list of dog breeds with reported congenital deafness.

The following link will take you to an article on the genetics of deafness in dogs. It contains a list of over 100 breeds with reported deafness, giving a list of studies on certain breeds. Genetics and the role it plays in deafness is also given, with charts showing the possibility of outcomes when breeding dogs with some form of deafness.

Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is defined giving a number of causes. Clearance of the disease is not given prior to twelve months or older. The types of exams are listed with a description of each. Cardiac murmurs are looked at including the effects of heart rate, heart rhythm and exercise.

Colorado State University – Veterinary Teaching Hospital gives the definition and types of heart disease.

Spay Neuter Information

When reading this article, pay attention to all the health considerations one should discuss with their veterinarian. There are orthopedic, cancer, behavior and other health issues which all need to be evaluated prior to spaying or neutering your dog. A very significant issue is considering the age at which a dog can be spayed/neutered without causing unnecessary health problems for your dog.

Cushing’s Disease

What is it? What are the symptoms? What are the causes of Cushing’s disease in dogs? How is it diagnosed? What are the treatment options and what are the ways of managing this disease? All of these questions are discussed in this article.

Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs

This article looks at the symptoms, types of, getting your dog diagnosed and the different treatments available to dogs with Cushing’s syndrome.


Kidney Disease (Congenital) In Dogs

This article gives us a breakdown of the renal diseases, those existing at birth and those which are developmental, in dogs. Information is listed for symptoms and types, causes, diagnosis, treatment and living and management. 

Kidney Stones in Dogs

In this article we learn what Nephrolithiasis, in dogs, is with an explanation of the condition. Symptoms & types, causes, diagnosis, treatment, living & management and prevention are all discussed.

Kidney Failure in Dogs (Long Term)

Kidney failure is more common in cats than in dogs. However, it is not nonexistent in them. Again we are informed about symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, living & management and prevention which are related to dogs.

Patella Luxation:

This article gives the definition of Patella Luxation with a breakdown of the four types and the classes of dogs (toy, miniature, large and giant) effected by each type. Clinical signs, grades and diagnosis are also discussed.

Hip Dysplasia:

The definition, grade classifications, screening procedures and treatment options (both drug and surgical) are all looked at in this article.


In this article we are given a brief introduction, cause, signs, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for Chondrodysplasia.


This gives us a very informative breakdown of the stages a puppy goes through on the way to adulthood. It gives the behaviors commonly experienced at the different stages of development. 




This article explains the facts and figures for mammary tumors in dogs. It tells the staging and diagnosis of the tumors. Information about the stages of tumors and prognostic factors are also given.




Discussed in this article are a wide range of subjects involved in Mammary Gland Cancer. Some of the subjects discussed include the definition, types, symptoms and diagnosis of Breast Cancer in dogs. Treatment options and their risks are listed. Suggestions on how to find a qualified veterinary oncologist and any current clinical trials are also discussed.

Dogs and Cancer: Get the Facts

A veterinarian answers 10 commonly asked questions concerning how dogs are effected by and treated for different types of cancer.

Caring for a Dog with Food Allergies

This article contains a list of questions and answers about what you can do to help your dog, if she/he has food allergies.

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment

By Anna Burke

 In this article, Anna Burke, discusses the types of allergies in dogs. She offers us a look at Skin Allergies and Food Allergies with examples, symptoms and treatments for each. Acute Allergic Reaction, their symptoms and treatments are also discussed. This information is helpful in determining if our dog is suffering from allergies and what can be done to help them.

House Training Adult Dogs

 This article gives many reasons why dogs soil in the house, some being physical and some emotional. It also gives some great ideas for determining the cause for the house soiling and ways of correcting the issue.

Leukemia in Dogs

 Causes, symptoms and treatment are discussed in this article. Leukemia is a result of genetic mutation in the bone marrow structure. It can be acute or chronic in form.

 Leukemia (Acute) in Dogs

 This three minute read gives an overview of the symptoms and types, causes, diagnosis, treatment and living and management.

Our Top 5 Natural Remedies for Dog Ear Infections

 If you like natural remedies for your dog’s ear infection, this is the article for you. Types of infections and their symptoms are given.

 Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

This AKC article goes through the symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention of a number of ear infections. It also talks about the added issues experienced in floppy eared dogs.

 Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs – Treatment and Diagnosis

 The Northeast Veterinary dermatology specialists give the history of a dog treated for Sebaceous Adenitis. It includes the treatments used.