We submit all of our health testing results to OFA so they are availble for the public to see. OFA has partnered with parent clubs of all breeds to offer what is called the CHIC program. Our dogs at Alue are fully health tested above CHIC standards for the Standard Poodle breed. For Standard Poodles those tests include hip dysplasia PennHIP or OFA testing, eye exam by a certified ACVO opthamologist, and an elective test of either thyroid, cardiac, or SA skin punch.
Here is a list of tests that we do at Alue and a bit about them.
- Hip Dysplasia: OFA grades hips based on a set list of criteria and radiographs are reviewed by a team of three vets. If a dog passes with excellent, good, or fair hips, a dog will recieve an OFA number and will be recorded in the website. If a dog fails with borderline, mild, moderate, or severe HD, unless an owner marks permission for failing hips to be listed, the results will not be listed on OFA. PennHIP is a science, measurement based hip exam that looks at three different xrays to develop their score. Both tests have their merits and I have used both tests with my dogs.
- Elbow Dysplasia: OFA will grade both elbows for degenerative joint disease (DJD). ununited anconeal process (UAP), osteochondrosis (OCD) and fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP). OFA will rate elbows normal for passing or grade 1-3 for failing results. You can have one passing elbow and one failing elbow, so that is something to keep in mind as well.
- CERF Eye Exams: Eye exams are extremely important in breeding animals. Eye exams can only be done by board-certified opthalmologist. Eye exams need to be done yearly for them to be considered up to date in the OFA database.
- Cardiac: At Alue our cardiac exams are Congenital; all that means is that our regular vet listens to their hearts and if they find no evidence of a heart murmur or any abnormalities, they give the dogs a "normal" and in the database they are marked as being done by a practitioner. For an OFA number, your dog must be 12 months of age, but you can get a preliminary exam done for your information. Failures are graded on a scale from 1-6.
- Patellas: Patellas are another orthopedic exam that isn't required for Standard Poodles, but it's another test that I believe we should do. Your dog must be 12 months of age for an OFA number.
- Thyroid: Thyroid exams are a blood draw that gets sent off to OFA approved labs. You will not get an official OFA number until your dog is older than 12 months of age. The test look at these three things; Free T4 (FT4) .Canine Thyroid Simulating Hormone (cTSH), and Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies (TgAA).
- Dentition: Dentition is another elective test we do. Dentition counts adult teeth and makes sure they are all erupted and notes any missing or retained teeth.
- Degenerative Myelopathy: DM is a DNA disease that causes gradual paralysis of the spinal cord. Breeding carriers is a personal decision that should be taken seriously, but there is nothing directly wrong with breeding them as long as you are careful and research your pedigrees.
- Neonatal Encephalopathy: Affected puppies will be weak, uncoordinated, and mentally dull from birth. Seizures develop in most affected pups at 4-5 weeks of age. Attempts to control these seizures with medication have proven futile, and the pups die or are euthanized before they reach weaning age. Therefore testing is absolutely necessary in breeding pairs.
- Progressive retinal atrophy, progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA-prcd): This is a late-onset genetic disease that affects eyesight in Standard Poodles. Evidence in affected dogs can first be seen around 1.5 years of age for most breeds, but most affected dogs will not show signs of vision loss until 3 to 5 years of age or later. Due to the fact symptoms won't appear until adulthood, testing before breeding is necessary.
- Von Willebrand Disease I (VWDI): VWD is an inherited bleeding disorder where affected dogs have less than half of the normal level of an essential protein needed for normal blood clotting. Affected dogs may bruise easily, have frequent nosebleeds, bleed from the mouth when juvenile teeth are lost, and experience prolonged bleeding after surgery or trauma. Less often, the bleeding may be severe enough to cause death. Due to the severity of the possible outcome of this disease, breeding pairs need to be tested.
UC Davis VGL
UC Davis developed a test for genetic diversity, and it is some very exciting stuff! We as a breed are shooting for dogs to have either 0 or negative IRs; the higher the IR, the more inbred your dog is. Click here to go to UC Davis and read all about the test. All my dogs are tested and public in the Betterbred database and I truly believe all breeders need to look into this test and how it helps our breeding programs! You can also go to the Standard Poodle breed page on Betterbred and look at the information and definitions of each term while also seeing every public tested dog in the database and look at their profiles! All you have to do is create a free profile.
Standard Poodles are a rather highly inbred breed because they come from about 5 top producing dogs from Jean Lyle at Wycliff kennel. She was a very successful breeder in the 1950s and all Standard Poodles come from these dogs. You can read here about Wycliff percentage and where our breed bottleneck comes from.
Day Blindness/Retinal Degeneration (DB/RD)
This is a test that is very very important to me. One of my past fosters actually had day blindness and it's a heart breaking disease. Day blindness is a disease that affects vision in bright lights. In Poodles the mutation causes a more complete retinal degeneration in the affected dog such that they eventually lose cell function resulting in vision loss under all lighting conditions. With day blind affected dogs, owners need to be very vigilant when outdoors and indoors they need to try to not move furniture and make sure that there are wide paths for the dog to walk in the house. Getting goggles for outdoors can help give your dog confidence in the sunlight to be a normal dog. While it hasn't been proven, it is thought via the cases we have seen that it runs more prevalent in multi lines (though it has been seen in solid dogs) so I firmly believe multi breeders need to be utilizing this test. It can only be purchased through Wisdom Panel formally Optigen.
This is a new genetic test available through Paw Print Genetics; it is another test for eye health and is unrelated to other PRA tests and the Day Blindness test (I cannot stress this enough). So what is this disease? This is a late on-set inherited disease in which affected dogs usually will show clinic signs by 7-12 years of age. Affected dogs will begin to lose eye sight in dim lighting (unlike Day Blindness) and the disease eventually progresses to loss of all vision.