Hips and Elbows
As part of good breeding practices, it is important to have your breeding stock's Hips and Elbows evaluated and graded. This process involves a vet taking a series on X-Rays that is sent to the OFA organization for grading. As a general rule of thumb, dogs that have better ratings are less likely to produce offspring with dysplasia. Over time, our breed has been reducing the likelihood of producing dogs with dysplasia through the use of Hip and Elbow clearances as shown on the OFA site. In time, we hope to build upon this momentum to further reduce the occurrence of dysplasia in the breed.
Eye Exams (CERF)
Routine eye exams are extremely helpful in helping breeders and owners catch eye issues in their early stages. As such, most breeders will perform eye exams on a regular basis. These exams compliment the genetic tests that are available to us as breeders. More information about CERF can be found on the OFA site for CERF.
Full Dentition and normal bite are part of the Labrador breed standard. OFA allows breeders to register dentition into the OFA Dentition database.
Heart - Color Doppler Echo
Just as people can experience issues relating to the heart, Labrador hearts can experience issues relating to the hearts function. Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) is an example of a disorder that can be found in our breed. It is thought that TVD is genetic in nature and progress is being made to produce a test to identify affected dogs. Until these tests are available, a heart exam is used to identify conditions which affect breeding decisions. In the future, I expect that breeders will continue to use heart exams along with genetic testing as a method to control disease in the breed as we currently use this dual approach (e.g. CERF exams/PRA testing) in eye clearances.
Day Blindness (Achromatopsia Type 1)
Dogs affected by this condition loose the ability to see in bright light conditions at an early age. Day Blindness is a rarer condition in our breed. Optigen provides a genetic test for Day Blindness.
Centronuclear Myopathy (CNM)
CNM is a debilitating muscular disease that affects the Labrador Retriever. Purina release a nice writeup on CNM. There is also a whitelist of all that have been cleared as carriers is available for research
Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
DM is a debilating disease of the spinal cord which tends to affect dogs later in life. Visit the AKC Canine Health Foundation for more information.
Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
EIC is a genetically identifiable disease that affects the Labrador Retriever. The disease can create an attack during moderate to extreme exercise that causes the dog to collapse. More information about EIC can be found at the University of Minnesota.
Hereditary Nasal Parakeratosis (HNPK)
HNPK is a issue that affects the tissues surround the nasal skin. Nasal skin will become dry and may result in cracks. This condition requires daily maintenance to hydrate the skin or heal the cracks as they occur. Optigen produces a genetic test for this condition.
Narcolepsy is the sudden onslaught of extreme tiredness. In labs, periods of excitement can trigger the attack. Optigen provides a genetic test for the condition.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRCD-PRA)
PRA is a genetically inheritable disease that causes blindness as the dogs age. Optigen was the first company to produce a genetic test to help breeders identify the genes responsible and guidance surrounding breeding practices to avoid producing affected dogs.
Retinal Dysplasia (RD) / OculoSkeletal Dysplasia (OSD)
RD is a genetically inheritable disease that will cause the dog to fail a CERF examination. OSD is generally accompanied with RD and can cause skeletal malformations.
Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA)
The Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) was initially started to help breeders reduce the likelihood of hip and elbow dysplasia in their breed through an objective grading process. The registry has since been expanded to contain other clearances.
The CERF foundation was founded to reduce the amount of heritable eye diseases through eye exams given by members of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (A.C.V.O.)
Optigen is a company that provides genetic disease testing services.
The following companies and organizations are often used or referred to in regards to obtaining clearances.
This information listed below contains information regarding a number of clearances that are important to the breed. Links to further information is provided to gain better understanding of the condition and the importance of the testing.