Like any breed of dogs, Labradors have certain more common genetic health issues. With careful breeding you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a pup being affected by them.
All our bitches are health checked and exceed the basic requirements of the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme. We are starting to do further tests , including DNA tests, to ensure our pups have the lowest risk of any common Labrador health issues.
Hips – The current breed average for Labradors is about 15, and all our girls scores are well below this – our pride and joy Roxy has 0/0 hips , and all our girls are below 10. Whilst obviously being in the UK we are covered by the UK Kennel Club this table from the American Kennel Club is quite helpful for non professionals as it uses words like good and excellent as opposed to numbers. It obviously doesn’t have the precision of precise scores however. We are very happy to show you original test certificates for any of our dogs at the time of a puppy viewing. These even have a breakdown of how the individual hip score is made up. You can find details here or on the BVA web site where they publish a pamphlet on the subject.
Elbows. Until recently not all breeders have considered elbows as important. This is now changing and we have tested three of our girls (all 0).
Eyes. There are two main testing schemes in use in the UK. The BVA scheme, where results are recorded at the Kennel Club against individual dogs. This is a public record, and we do this for all our dogs. The second is the European eye test. We understand that this is just as valid (in that very similar examinations are carried out by skilled eye vets), but the Kennel Club don’t record the results on an individual dogs records. One of these tests is essential for all breeding dogs and needs to be carried out annually.
A BVA Eye test is not the same test as prcd-PRA. The BVA test has to be done annually and the genetic (DNA)tests below are only done once in a dogs lifetime. If you choose to buy a pup from us in the future they CANNOT inherit any of the conditions below.
prcd-PRA (progressive rod-cone degeneration, Progressive Retinal Atrophy). This genetic disorder causes the degeneration of retinal cells in the eye: firstly, rod cells are affected, thus leading to progressive night blindness. Secondly, degeneration of the cone cells results in complete blindness of the dog, even in full light situations during the day. Owners of dogs first notice their dog becomes night blind but this progresses to total blindness. This can occur from the age of 3 years of age.
CNM (Centronuclear Myopathy) causes muscle weakness because of a deficiency of muscle fibres. CNM reduces muscle tone and generalized muscle weakness, abnormal postures, stiff hopping gait, exercise intolerance & increased collapse when exposed to cold. In Labradors the first signs is abnormal stiff gait which progresses to generalized weakness by about 5 months of age.
EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) leads to a defect in nerve communication during intense exercise. In affected dogs certain factors can trigger the collapse including type of exercise temperature and excitement. Dogs clinically affected by EIC may show signs of leg weakness followed by complete collapse after 5-20 minutes of strenuous activity. The severity can vary greatly. Severely affected dogs may collapse with mild exercise, other dogs only exhibit collapse (occurring at irregular intervals). First clinical signs are visually noticed between 5 months and 3 years of age, but can appear later in life.
DNA tests. We only plan to breed such that pups are not going to suffer from these three conditions.
SD2 – Skeletal dysplasia 2 is a genetic disease in Labrador Retrievers that causes an early halt in growth of long bones. In contrast to other forms of dwarfism (pituitary dwarfism), the result is disproportioned dogs with shortened front limbs and raising dorsal line. Torso length and depth is not altered. Based on the latest knowledge, affected dogs do not exhibit further symptoms like malformed genitals or neuronal diseases as in pituitary dwarfism.
The Kennel Club provide much information regarding health testing, and you can find it here.
Further information can be found on the BVA web site (http://www.bva.co.uk/canine_health_schemes/Canine_Health_Schemes.aspx)