Romie & Rococo’s Story


In January, when I phoned Cindy, I was looking for a dream – that is what breeders do.  I had done all my health tests and proudly  posted them on my kennel website.  My female is a Canadian BISS Champion and her first litter gave us three wonderful healthy puppies, one of which I kept as a future prospect for my breedng program.  For the second breeding, the multi-championed male I chose had the bloodlines I love, beautiful coat and disposition. Cindy had done all  the usual health tests on her stud. It was the perfect wedding. We were so excited!


On March 25, two puppies, a male and a female, were born. They were gorgeous.  But after three weeks I noticed that the puppies seemed to be struggling in their attempts to move around, and at one month old, I was increasingly concerned with their lack of coordination and “clumsiness”.  I spent many sleepless nights– I researched the internet, telephoned and emailed other breeders, and as a result,  was led to believe that my puppies might be “swimmers”. I followed the swimmers protocol sadly, to no avail by spending time doing massage, physio and water therapy with them many hours a day. Eventually a breeder forum that I had contacted suggested that my two puppies might be affected with Bandera’s Syndrome, and when, with great apprehension, I watched an online video depicting struggling puppies affected with the disease, my suspicions were confirmed.

The story that follows is the saddest as there is no cure for a puppy affected with Bandera’s Neonatal Cerebellar Ataxia. Their brain is normal except for a mutation in a receptor for a neurotransmitter in the cerebellum, so they cannot learn motion skills. Day by day I was watching these innocent little angels struggling with every breath to move, never reaching their goals. I could see the frustration in their eyes… eating, drinking and elimination becomes very difficult for these puppies. They could never have a good quality of life.  During those darkest hours, we  found out about research at the University of Missouri: NOW A SIMPLE BLOOD TEST will tell you if your dog is a carrier or not.  A simple test for a few dollars.  If only I had known!

In the past, Coton de Tulear breeders did not have accurate testing. But now we do.  So we just want to urge you to test your breeding dogs.  There is no use finger-pointing.   There is no excuse for another Bandera’s litter.  The future health of the Coton de Tulear is in the hands of its breeders.

Diane Benaroch, Cotonfield Cotons, Abbotsford BC, Canada