Registries serve the purpose of maintaining databases on specific health problems. Breeders then can be knowledgeable about which dogs are free of a particular disease and incorporate them into their breeding programs. Use of registries can minimize the incidence of heritable disease. Certain registries such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) are considered to be "closed" registries. This means that information on only those dogs considered normal or free of disease is disclosed. Other registries, such as the Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC) are considered "open" and information on both normal and affected dogs can be obtained. For many years now, the FCRSA has endorsed the use of registries for clearances on hips and eyes. Today, additional disease registries have been developed, most notably for our breed, for patellar luxation and thyroid disease. All of these registries need information on normal and affected dogs to understand if progress is being made in decreasing disease. It is very important for owners of dogs who radiographically appear to have hip dysplasia to send in these x-rays for OFA evaluation for this reason. Due to the nature of some of these diseases, some puppies in a litter may eventually be evaluated as clear for this disease while their littermates may not. The "cleared" littermates may be free of disease, but they may still carry the genes for disease and perpetuate the disease if bred.
Prudent breeders will encourage all of their puppy buyers to engage in the disease registry process to know the true absence or extent of disease in their breeding program. At this point in time, this is our only recourse to preventing the occurrence of heritable disease. The future holds promise for blood tests that can determine presence of disease causing genes. Until that time, these registries are our most important armament against genetic disease.
ORTHOPEDIC FOUNDATION FOR ANIMALS (OFA)
2300 Nifong Blvd.
Columbia, MO 65201-3856
Fax: 573-875-5073 http://www.offa.org/
As of July 1, 1996, the AKC only accepts OFA evaluation results for dogs that are positively and permanently identified at the time of testing. A microchip or tattoo is an accepted means of identification. It is recommended that these identification numbers be noted on any x-rays submitted to the OFA.
Elbow Registry: The purposes of the elbow registry are: to provide a standardized evaluation of elbow joints for canine elbow dysplasia, whether due to an ununited anconeal process, fragmented coronoid process, osteochondrosis or any combination thereof; and to serve as a data base for control of elbow dysplasia through selective breeding. Dogs must be 24 months old. A breed registry number will be assigned to those dogs determined to have normal elbows.
Patellar Luxation Registry: The dog must be 12 months old. Obtain the application form and procedures from the OFA if your veterinarian does not already have them. The veterinarian will palpate your dog's knees to determine if luxation is present. The application form is filled out according to findings and sent to the OFA with a $15.00 fee. It is recommended that dogs deemed normal be periodically re-examined as some luxations will not be evident until later in life. There is no charge for these re-certifications at a later age.
Hip Registry: The dog must be 24 months old although preliminary evaluations between ages 4 and 23 months can be done. Although not required, the highest quality radiographs are usually obtained under general anesthesia. A fee of $15.00 must accompany the application form and radiographs. Three veterinary radiologists will interpret the x-rays and determine a score of either excellent, good, fair, borderline, mild, moderate or severe. Certificates will be issued only to those dogs deemed excellent, good or fair.
Thyroid Registry: The dog must be at least 12 months old. A certificate and breed registry number will be issued to all dogs found to be normal. Age will be stated on the certificate since the classification can change as the dogs ages and autoimmune disease becomes evident. The fee is $15.00. No charge will be made for re-certification at a later age. It is recommended that reexamination occur at ages 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 years. As of 1997, only two laboratories have been approved to process samples.
Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory
Michigan State University
New York State College of Veterinary Medicine
Contact the OFA to receive the Canine Thyroid Registry application. The approved laboratory you choose to use must be contacted BEFORE collecting the blood sample.
Congenital Heart Disease Registry: Certificates will be issued to normal dogs aged 12 months or older. The breed registry number will indicate the age at examination and the type of examiner (C-cardiologist, S-specialist, P-practitioner). The fee is $15.00. There is no charge for entering a dog found to have a cardiac abnormality into the OFA data bank. There is no charge for subsequent re-certification. Examination is to include auscultation of the heart by a Board certified American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Specialty of Cardiology veterinarian. Other veterinarians may be able to perform these examinations, provided they have received advanced training in the subspecialty of congenital heart disease.
This is a registry for hip dysplasia. Only PennHIP-certified veterinarians are qualified to radiograph dogs using this method. The cost will vary per veterinarian and the actual evaluation fee of $25.00 will be included in the total charge. See the section on canine hip dysplasia for more information.
This is a registry for heritable eye disease. Only American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists are qualified to perform the examination. A form is then completed and sent in to CERF with a small fee. Your dog's AKC registration name and number as well as tattoo or microchip number are required. A CERF number is issued for one year at a time. Annual CERF examinations are recommended as certain eye diseases become apparent only over time.
The GDC was organized in 1990 for the purpose of operating open registries of genetic diseases in dogs. It presently maintains registries for orthopedic and eye diseases as well as registries for several specific breeds of dog. The goal of these registries is to collect as much information as possible on related dogs in order to determine the risk of disease transmission when planning breedings. Contact the GDC to have the appropriate application forms sent to your veterinarian.