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On September 25, 2012, USA Network renewed the series for a 16-episode fifth season,  but this was later reduced to 13.  It premiered on October 17, 2013.  Marsha Thomason was pregnant during the filming of season five and did not appear for the majority of the season. 
Although you may hear otherwise, the only known health problems proven to be associated with being a homozygous merle have to do with hearing and vision. Stories abound about vague "internal organ" problems (including heart, liver, and pancreas), or allergies, or immune system problems, or a shortened life span. The fact of the matter is that many of their normally pigmented kindred suffer from the same problems (and if you do have a double merle with any of these problems, odds are that the littermates do as well - most living double merles do not come from breeders where health is a primary concern). Double merles can be deaf (not all are, though) because of the lack of pigment in their inner ear (see above for an explanation of the causes of deafness ). It is possible for a dog with only one merle gene (heterozygous) to look just like a double (see below reasons for a dog to have excess white in its coat), but they will not have the eye problems (so if your dog's eyes do not show any defects, it probably is not a double).
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