Everyone wants a healthy, happy dog, and we do everything we can to make sure that all of our dogs have completed the recommended health testing before we use them for our breeding program.
The current recommendations for health testing in Parsons are CERF, BAER, and OFA Patella. At Snow Wind Farm we have the following tests done on our dogs.
Canine Eye Registration Foundation ( CERF ) Test CERF testing is done once a year from as early as 8 weeks of age to as late as 8 years of age. The initials of CERF stand for the Canine Eye Registration Foundation. This is a painless test which is done once a year to rule out any heritable eye disease. We only include dogs in our breeding program that are tested and found to have normal eyesight.
Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response ( BAER ) Test BAER testing is only done once in a dogs lifetime. It is a test that detects electrical activity in the cochlea and auditory pathways in the dog's brain. The test can be done at 8 weeks of age . We only include dogs in our breeding program that are BAER tested and found to have normal hearing in both ears.
OFA Patella Luxation The patella, or kneecap is part of the stifle joint. When a patella luxates it pops in and out of place, either in a medial or lateral position. This popping will cause the dog to take a few hopping steps, sometimes holding up one of the rear legs to try and pop the kneecap back into place. Surgery can be done to correct luxating patellas however it is expensive and it takes quite some time before the dog can resume normal activity. We only include dogs in our breeding program that have had their patellas checked by our veterinarian when they are one year of age; those results are then registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
OFA Hip Evaluation All of our males that are old enough have completed an OFA Hip Evaluation. X-rays of the dog's hips are taken by a veterinarian to rule out hip dysplasia. Although hip dysplasia is not common in Parson Russells, we still feel that testing is the only way to know for sure. X-rays are sent to the OFA, and evaluated and given a rating as to Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor. All of our males have hips rated as Good or Excellent.
Primary Lens Luxation PLL is an eye problem that is well known in many Terrier breeds. The dog's lens is held in place in the eye by fibers known as zonules. If these zonules stretch or break, the lens can fall out of place, or luxate. When this happens it often requires immediate veterinary attention to remove the displaced lens and prevent painful secondary glaucoma, and sometimes loss of vision. There is now a DNA test for this disease. Test results will signify that a dog is either clear, a carrier, or affected. We are currently in the process of testing all of our dogs for PLL, and the results will be posted by their names as they are received from the OFA.
Late Onset Ataxia (LOA) or Spinocerebellar Ataxia
This disease affects the cerebellum which, together with the vestibular system control coordination and movement in a dog. Initially subtle signs of clumsiness and an occasional sway of the body may be noticed. As the disease progresses the clumsiness becomes more pronounced and the dog will have a great deal of difficulty walking due to lack of coordination in the legs.
Just in the Fall of 2012 one test has become available for this disease. That test is ordered through The Animal Health Trust in England. The other test for SCA is ordered through the OFA website. We will be testing all of our dogs for both forms of Ataxia and we will post the results on their respective web pages. We should have the results from the first 8 tests returned to us by the end of December 2012.
To learn more about the Animal Health Trust click on the button below.