For the Health Of It!
Testing for health is one of the cornerstones of any sound dog breeding program. With the advancements in science, breeders have an amazing array of tools at their disposal. It is important for the breeder and the families that adopt puppies from the breeder understand the key tests that are required for each breed. However, even when breeders do absolutely everything right, Mother Nature can still throw us a curve ball and produce dysplastic puppies for example. Just like two seemingly healthy people can produce an autistic child.
Labradors have a number of tests that are considered required these days. The minimum is:
- OFA Hips. This test is for hip dysplasia and x-rays are done at a minimum of 24 months old for "final" conclusions. An alternative to OFA Hips is the PennHip test. Although not as popular it is considered by some to be a more accurate measure of future hip problems.
- OFA Elbows. This is a test for elbow dysplasia x-rays are done at a minimum of 24 months old for "final" conclusions.
- Optigen PRCD-PRA eye test. This tests for Progressive Retinal Atrophy which is a cause of blindness in our Labradors.
- CERF is an annual eye exam that tests for any abnormalities in the eyes.
- Heart auscultation is considered the minimum but echocardiogram is considered the gold standard for understanding heart abnormalities.We do this test to identify any heart abnormalities but specifically tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD) which Labradors are prone to inherit.
- Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC). This is a relatively new test and is not without its detractors as not everything has been figured out with this test; however, as a responsible breeder it makes sense to breed around EIC for the overall goodness of the breed.
- Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM). This is a relatively new test that has been used a lot by field Labrador breeders, but more and more conformation breeders are adding this test to their tool kit.
About Frances O. Smith, DVM, PhD
Dr. Frances O. Smith, DVM, PhD, became a Diplomate of the College of Theriogenology in 1986. Since that time she has been in private practice as a small animal practitioner, specializing in canine reproduction at the Smith Veterinary Hospital in Burnsville Minnesota. Dr. Smith is the only board certified theriogenologist in private practice. Her expertise in genetic counseling, chilled and frozen semen and reproductive infertility of the male and female canine are known throughout the United States. Dr. Smith frequently speaks to breed groups, veterinary associations, and the general public.
Dr. Smith breeds Labrador Retrievers under the registered kennel name Danikk and competes in hunt tests, conformation dog shows, obedience trials, and occasionally field trials. She is an approved hunt test judge. Currently she serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc, where she is the health committee chair as well as holding the position of President of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) – the foremost animal health data base in the world. Dr. Smith is a nationally recognized lecturer and author and has served Minnesota as a member and President of the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
For fun, Dr. Smith rides horses, gardens, volunteers, and spoils her granddaughters.
Category : Health