Health testing - How important is it?

How important is Health Testing? Each individual breed has specific health issues that show up in lines and can be produced in offspring, the Havanese are no different. Ongoing research and proper health screening will help reduce such health issues in our breed. An eye test and patella check are the very minimum you should do.

CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) A CERF eye exam should be done yearly, the reason being that some eye diseases can occur at different ages. It’s recommended that you CERF your Havanese until 9 yrs of age. This exam is done by instilling drops into the eye to dilate them prior to a certified veterinary ophthalmologist examination. Eye certification (CERF#) is only valid for 1 year from date of examination, another reason why this test needs to be done annually. Should your Havanese be shown to have a genetic eye disease you would want to remove them from a breeding program. Oftentimes local dog clubs put on CERF clinics or visit your local veterinarian ophthalmologist to make an appointment. For further information visit the CERF website: http://www.vmdb.org/cerf.html

Patellar Luxation – The patella or knee cap is part of the stifle joint and during patella luxation the knee cap will pop out of place. Patella luxation can be diagnosed as early as 8 weeks old however may not be present at birth but the anatomical deformities that cause these are present. There may also be other cause for the development of luxations. A patellar examination is done by your veterinarian while your Havanese is awake. The luxation could be bilateral or unilateral (showing up in either the right or left leg or both). There are four grades of patellar luxation, from grade 1 to a grade 4. With Havanese that are going to be used in a breeding program you would want “Normal” results on both right and left legs. Patellar Luxation is considered an inherited disease therefore any dogs that have patella luxation should be removed from a breeding program. Patella luxation can be checked by your veterinarian and results can be sent into OFA for certification. For more information visit the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) website: http://www.offa.org/index.html

Below is a list of health tests that will allow your Havanese to get a CHIC # Canine Health Information Centre “CHIC” is breed specific and for each breed it is customized for specific health testing. In order to get a CHIC # through OFA for the Havanese the following testing is required: 1)Hip Dysplasia – OFA,PennHip,OVC,GDC evaluation 2) CERF - Eye Clearance – CERF evaluation 3) Patellar Luxation – OFA Evaluation 4) BAER Test for Congenital Deafness. For further information regarding the CHIC program visit the website at: http://www.offa.org/index.html

The HFC’s goals are to educate and promote healthy, happy, sound Havanese. With proper health screening we will reach these goals! Written by Penny Will - previously published in Dogs In Canada Breedlines Nov 2008

Authored by: 
Penny Will