As a responsible breeder we do all we can to ensure we breed healthy and sound dogs. This includes the below health tests.
Hip and Elbow Testing
Labradors as a breed have a pre-disposition to hip and elbow dysplasia. Around 1997 the ANKC brought in mandatory hip and elbow scoring to help reduce the incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia in Labradors.
X Rays are taken of the dogs hips and elbows and professionally scored by an accreditted facility.
Hip and elbow scoring is an important guideline for breeders to help reduce the possibility of hip or elbow dysplasia in their breeding program. No amount of hereditary defect testing of parents can ever guarantee 100% that your Labrador puppy will be structurally sound but your chances are vastly improved if puppies are bred from low Scoring parents.
How to interpret the scores
Each hip, left and right, is given a score. The lower the score the sounder the hip. So 0:0 (which is left and right) is perfect or even 4:4 is near perfect. The right and left hip score are added together to get the total score out of 53. The breed average at present for the Labrador breed (as each breed average is different) is approximately 12. To breed it is recommend using dogs whose total hip score is lower than the breed average.
Elbow dysplasia is a far more serious heriditary defect affecting Labradors. Like hips each elbow, left and right, are scored. The score for elbows is only from 0 to 3 with 0 being a pefect score, 1 being mild Elbow Dysplasia, 2 being moderate Elbow Dysplasia and 3 servere Elbow Dysplasia. Each additional point above 0 reflects a millimetre of variation (or gap) in the elbow joint. Dogs with elbow scores of 2 or higher should not be breed with.
DNA testing is used to test for hereditary diseases. It allows for an accurate diagnosis of the disease status of a dog - clear, carrier or affected. This information allows breeders to select breeding dogs to ensure no puppies are affected by the disease.
Progressive Rod Cone Degeneration - PRA
PRCD is the progressive degeneration of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the dog’s eye causing degenerative abrasions of the retina, resulting in blindness. PRCD is a late onset form of PRA.
The initial symptom of PRCD is usually night blindness which usually progresses to day blindness quickly. PRCD regularly leads to total blindness, for which there is no treatment or cure.
This disease is rated as a moderate degree of severity as it is not a fatal disease, thought it can decrease the quality of life. (Ratings from ASAP Laboratory)
Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
Affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise but 5 to 15 minutes of strenuous exercise the dog become weak and then will collapse. Weakness starts in the rear limbs but then progresses rapidly to the forelimbs, resulting in a generally weak, wobbly gait. Dogs ultimately collapse and are unable to continue exercising. After 10 to 20 minutes of rest they return to normal.
This disease is rated as low degree of severity as it generally poses no health concerns. *
See paper to the right for more information about EIC.
How to interpret results
The results are indicates as Normal, Carrier of Affected.
NORMAL (CLEAR or - /-) This result indicates that the disease is not present in the dog. A normal dog will never pass on the disease to their offspring.
CARRIER (-/+) This result indicates that one copy of the disease gene is present in the dog. They are a carrier of a recessive genetic trait. A carrier will not exhibit disease symptoms and can be enjoyed without fear of developing a medical problems. The only consequence is when breeding the dog there is a possibility of transmitting the trait to offspring. If mated with a normal dog no offspring will be affected by the disease.
AFFECTED (+/+) This result indicates that two copies of the disease gene are present in the animal. The animal may show symptoms of the disease. It is not recommended to breed with affected dogs.
Note - Only affected dogs have the disease and carriers do/will not. Knowing your breeding dog/bitch is a carrier is essential for breeders to ensure they do not produce puppies that are affected. See below.