Clean Run - November 2017 - 27

A collection of videos illustrating ETOs and related signs is available on the Clean Run YouTube channel
as well as at https://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_ID=357.
When searching for your next agility prospect, be sure the
sire and dam have no history of ETOs and have current CERF
exams. Genetic testing for ocular diseases known to occur in
the chosen breed should have been done. Ideally, in the future
the sire and dam will be tested for refractive errors and binocular alignment. Inquire whether there is a history of ETOs in
the line. If the breeder is uninformed about ETOs or the sire
and dam do not compete in agility, observe their behavior in
other jumping situations. Search online for videos of relatives
competing in agility and evaluate their jumping. Although an
isolated case of ETOs may not be significant, a history of ETOs
in multiple dogs that are related is quite significant, particularly
if the cause cannot be identified.
At 7-8 weeks of age, a developmental optometrist can examine the puppy via retinoscopy and binocular alignment tests.
More research is needed on the long-term benefit of screening puppies this early; however, it may be a wise choice if you
would like your puppy to become an agility dog.
Currently the best way to avoid ETOs is to first carefully evaluate the sire and dam and their close relatives, and second to
select a puppy with healthy eyes, good eye alignment, and
without myopia or astigmatism.
Much more research needs to be done on the various
causes of ETOs to determine better methods of diagnosis
and treatment. Strabismus may be treatable with the use of
eye patches. Disposable corrective contact lenses may be
an option for some dogs in the future. But, at this point, the
best option is prevention.

SUMMARY
ETOs are a jumping problem associated with vision impairment observed in some performance dogs. Although a specific
cause for the dog's vision impairment is not always found, that
does not mean the dog's vision is normal. The most characteristic sign is an inappropriately early takeoff point on jumps. This
is often accompanied by overjumping and sometimes by stuttering on approach to the jump. The affected dogs are usually
in good health physically and in most cases have had a sound
foundation in jump training.
ETOs do not resolve with retraining although the problem may
improve somewhat if confidence is built. It may be possible
to identify environmental conditions or handling strategies
where the dog's performance is adversely affected and those
should be avoided where possible. Fortunately, it may also be

possible to identify factors that contribute to improved performance and those should be sought out. Depending on the underlying cause, there is likely a hereditary component.
Prevention of ETOs through selective breeding should be a
primary goal. Research to date suggests the best way to avoid
ETOs is to choose a puppy with healthy eyes, good eye alignment, and no myopia or astigmatism, preferably from parents
who compete in agility whose jumping has been evaluated
and observed over time. For dogs that have already developed
ETOs, effective management is key, including training and handling adjustments along with realistic expectations. Since lack
of confidence exacerbates ETOs, maintaining confidence is the
single most important aspect of a dog's jumping program.

AUThOR'S NOTE
I hope this article raises awareness and improves understanding of ETOs in the agility community, and that veterinary ophthalmologists will be inspired to expand their knowledge of
testing for visual function.
I want to thank the following people who each contributed to
this article in some way.
I was beginning to suspect that ETOs were not caused by poor
training, structure, lack of confidence, or injury, but were the
result of some sort of vision problem that was possibly heritable, when I compared notes with Nancy Gyes. Although she
was across the country working with different handlers and
dogs, she was arriving at the same conclusion. I've consulted
with her and we've exchanged ideas about ETOs on many occasions since. Jean Lavalley's Seven was one of the first dogs
that made me realize ETOs were not a training problem. Many
of the dogs with ETOs I have worked with since Seven have
benefited from what I learned from her. Channan Fosty began a support group for owners of dogs with ETOs. Through
the group, I learned even more about what exacerbates ETOs
and what helps to minimize them. Nancy Kemna and Giuliana
Lund both have first-hand experience with dogs with ETOs
and provided valuable insight. Giuliana helped with the organization and editing of this article. Thank you also to Gina Day,
a human developmental optometrist who has been evaluating dogs using her expertise and tests not commonly available to veterinarians.
I am most grateful to the many, many students I've worked
with over the years and their dogs. It is because of them that I
am able to share what I've learned with you. D

Linda Mecklenburg has been participating in dog in agility since 1990. She has competed successfully with multiple dogs both nationally and internationally. Using her
experience with hunter/jumper horses and as a veterinarian, she now specializes in jump training for agility dogs. She has written two books on jumping, Developing
Jumping Skills for Awesome Agility Dogs and Mastering Jumping Skills Volume 1 (Volume 2 coming soon). At a time when most blamed ETOs on poor training or
poor structure, she published the first article that described ETOs in 2010. Linda teaches jump training for agility dogs both online and in private lessons. She is available
for consultations regarding early takeoffs free of charge. You may contact her at awesomepaws@aol.com or visit her website www.awesomepawsagilityacademy.com
for information on lessons and seminars.
November 17 | Clean Run

27


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzgyQuKlBqWXLxrSRSKVP03Glp8pWH6wM https://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_ID=357 http://www.awesomepawsagilityacademy.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - November 2017

Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover1
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover2
Clean Run - November 2017 - Contents
Clean Run - November 2017 - 4
Clean Run - November 2017 - 5
Clean Run - November 2017 - 6
Clean Run - November 2017 - 7
Clean Run - November 2017 - 8
Clean Run - November 2017 - 9
Clean Run - November 2017 - 10
Clean Run - November 2017 - 11
Clean Run - November 2017 - 12
Clean Run - November 2017 - 13
Clean Run - November 2017 - 14
Clean Run - November 2017 - 15
Clean Run - November 2017 - 16
Clean Run - November 2017 - 17
Clean Run - November 2017 - 18
Clean Run - November 2017 - 19
Clean Run - November 2017 - 20
Clean Run - November 2017 - 21
Clean Run - November 2017 - 22
Clean Run - November 2017 - 23
Clean Run - November 2017 - 24
Clean Run - November 2017 - 25
Clean Run - November 2017 - 26
Clean Run - November 2017 - 27
Clean Run - November 2017 - 28
Clean Run - November 2017 - 29
Clean Run - November 2017 - 30
Clean Run - November 2017 - 31
Clean Run - November 2017 - 32
Clean Run - November 2017 - 33
Clean Run - November 2017 - 34
Clean Run - November 2017 - 35
Clean Run - November 2017 - 36
Clean Run - November 2017 - 37
Clean Run - November 2017 - 38
Clean Run - November 2017 - 39
Clean Run - November 2017 - 40
Clean Run - November 2017 - 41
Clean Run - November 2017 - 42
Clean Run - November 2017 - 43
Clean Run - November 2017 - 44
Clean Run - November 2017 - 45
Clean Run - November 2017 - 46
Clean Run - November 2017 - 47
Clean Run - November 2017 - 48
Clean Run - November 2017 - 49
Clean Run - November 2017 - 50
Clean Run - November 2017 - 51
Clean Run - November 2017 - 52
Clean Run - November 2017 - 53
Clean Run - November 2017 - 54
Clean Run - November 2017 - 55
Clean Run - November 2017 - 56
Clean Run - November 2017 - 57
Clean Run - November 2017 - 58
Clean Run - November 2017 - 59
Clean Run - November 2017 - 60
Clean Run - November 2017 - 61
Clean Run - November 2017 - 62
Clean Run - November 2017 - 63
Clean Run - November 2017 - 64
Clean Run - November 2017 - 65
Clean Run - November 2017 - 66
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover3
Clean Run - November 2017 - Cover4
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