Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Health Testing?

Why are some breeders still not health testing?   I just don't understand it.  If you truly love a breed, why would you not do everything possible to breed the very best pups?  There are so many great testing options available these days, tests to help us to breed the healthiest puppies in our selected breeds, and avoid passing on inherited health issues.

Testing is not inexpensive, but nothing about raising quality dogs is inexpensive, and health testing is a great investment.  Many breed clubs have set the standards for the most basic tests for their breed, and the dogs who pass those tests are given a CHIC number.  All dogs used for breeding should have a CHIC number, but sadly that is not the case.  For Dalmatians, the CHIC requirements are a BAER hearing test, hip xrays, and EITHER a thyroid panel (not just the simple T3/T4 test) OR eye certification.  These results are registered with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) and the results are available on line for other breeders or puppy buyers to view.  Dogs who have completed the testing receive their CHIC numbers.

Additional testing and information include elbow xrays, cardiac exams, patella exams, Degenerative Myelopathy testing (a DNA test), and a complete dentition database, as well as a number of other tests specific to certain breeds, such as tests for Dilated Cardiomyopathy, PRA, and Copper Storage Disease.  New tests are being developed all the time.  Hopefully in the future we will also see valid tests for Epilepsy and Renal Dysplasia, health issues that can affect all breeds.

Although these tests all cost money, they are an investment in the future of our beloved breeds, and money well spent.   If you are looking for a purebred puppy, work with a breeder who health tests all breeding stock.  And remember that mixed breed dogs can have the same genetic health issues as purebreds.

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