Getting started with health testing can often be confusing and seem complicated. Here are some basics to get you started
OFA is a data base that collects information on the health tests done on each dog. It can be searched by test, breed, kennel name, sex etc. CHIC testing is the recommended minimum OFA health testing for each breed. Each breed has different CHIC requirements. For bulldogs CHIC requirements are cardiac, patella and trachea. You can find the OFA website at: www.ofa.org Cardiac testing can be auscultation or echocardiogram. Patella can be done during a regular health check up at the vet. Trachea is an x ray. Thyroid is a blood test. Avoid testing for thyroid if your bitch is within one month either side of heat or pregnancy, as it may alter the results and you could have to retest. Cardiac, Patella, Trachea and Thyroid can be done when your dog is over 12 months of age. Elbows and Hips are both x rays and done once your dog is 24 months.
Hyperuricosuria and Cystinuria are DNA tests that can be done at any age. You can do this at your home by ordering the kits online, it’s a simple cheek swab. Gensol (just HUU) and VetGen are two lab options.
The forms you need for each test are available on the OFA website. In order for your dog to qualify as a Bulldog Club Of Canada Health Ambassador, all health tests must be submitted to OFA.
2018 BCC Health Award Requirements and Tracking
In 2016, The Bulldog Club of America announced changes to their Ambassador of Health/Pioneer of Health qualifications. With their permission the Bulldog Club of Canada decided to continue to mirror their requirements. Any dogs having achieved Health Ambassador levels already will keep their certifications. Any health testing moving forward as of January 1, 2017 will be following the new matrix. . The purpose of the Ambassador for Health program is to promote betterment of the Bulldog breed through health testing by recognizing Bulldogs, owned by Bulldog Club of Canada members, which have met specific health testing requirements. The new program has 5 levels of recognition – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
Passing results are required on all eligible certifications except DNA based health screenings (passing results eligible for certification are defined by OFA). Any result will be accepted for DNA based health screenings. All results must be submitted to OFA and be verifiable in their public database.
OFA Congenital Cardiac (all certifications accepted, Echo preferred) OFA Patellar Luxation OFA Tracheal Hypoplasia OFA Thyroid OFA Elbow Dysplasia OFA Hip Dysplasia Eligible DNA based health screenings: Hyperuricosuria Type 3 Cystinuria DNA Marker
The requirements for each certificate level are:
Bronze – successful completion of any 4 of the eligible certifications/DNA screenings Silver – successful completion of any 5 of the eligible certifications/DNA screenings Gold – successful completion of any 6 of the eligible certifications/DNA screenings Platinum – successful completion of 7 of the eligible certifications/DNA screenings Diamond - successful completion of all eligible certifications/DNA screenings
Age Notes for the Ambassador for Health Award:
Congenital Cardiac, Patellar Luxation, Tracheal Hypoplasia & Thyroid – Dogs must be 12 months of age or older on the date of the examination. Hips/Elbow Dysplasia – Dogs must be 24 months of age or older at the time of the radiography. A veterinary cardiologist, other veterinary specialist, or any veterinary practitioner may perform OFA cardiac testing. Certification by Echocardiogram is preferred. In addition, any Bulldog receiving an Ambassador for Health certificate that has also participated in any BCA initiated or recognized research project will receive a Health Pioneer designation which will be included on their Ambassador for Health certificate.
General notes for the Health Pioneer designation:
OFA EYE is considered part of the Health Pioneer recognition since at this time the Ambassador for Health program is comprised of permanent certifications. A passing OFA EYE certificate that is current during the calendar year of the award is required. All tests must be submitted to OFA and be part of their public database.
Certificates for CHIC DNA repository and OFA Spinal Database may also be submitted for inclusion in the Health Pioneer designation. Proof of participation is required for any other BCA initiated health studies in order to be included in the Health Pioneer designation.
The Health Pioneer can also be applied for as a stand-alone certificate. However, OFA EYE certification will not be considered for the stand-alone certification.
The Bulldog that is applying for the Ambassador for Health award must be owned or co-owned by a Bulldog Club of Canada member in good standing. It is not necessary to be a Bulldog Club of Canada member at the time the tests were performed.
Certificates will be awarded to all Bulldogs whose owners have submitted a completed application and the required verification to the Health Committee prior to our January Annual General Meeting.
All awards are designed to be a one-time award for each recipient rather than a reoccurring, annual award. Additional levels can be applied for in subsequent years provided all required verification isprovided to the Health Committee. Each eligible Bulldog will be awarded a certificate suitable for framing which indicates the level of achievement and details the health certifications the dog has successfully completed. Certificates can be picked up at the Annual General Meeting or will be mailed out following.
With permission from Dan Brandy, I would also like to share one of his posts explaining The difference between Cystinuria and Hyperuricosuria (HUU) By Dan Bandy
This is going to be a long post, but I think it is important to try to clarify some information in regards to Hyperuricosuria (a.k.a. HUU) and Cystinuria. HUU & Cystinuria are 2 separate conditions caused by different genetic mutations. The conditions may be managed by different dietary restrictions & different medications. With the exception of increased water intake & frequent opportunities to urinate, what may work in the management of stones caused by HUU will not necessarily work in the management of stones caused by Cystinuria. PREDISPOSITION – a tendency to suffer from a particular condition. AUTOSOMAL RECESSIVE - A genetic condition that appears only in individuals who have received two copies of an autosomal gene, one copy from each parent.
HYPERURICOSURIA (HUU) is a condition characterized by increased levels of URIC ACID in the urine brought on by an inherited metabolic defect. Uric acid is produced as a result of the breakdown of PURINES; purines are found in elevated levels in some, but not all, proteins. The presence of increased levels of uric acid in the urine of HUU affected Bulldogs results in a PREDISPOSITION in those individuals to form bladder (and less frequently kidney) stones composed of urate or uric acid. Because uric acid is not very water soluble it can precipitate out of urine to form crystals & eventually stones. The genetic mutation responsible for HUU has been shown to be the same in all affected breeds tested to date. So, the mutation responsible for HUU in Bulldogs is the same as the mutation responsible for HUU in Dalmatians, Black Russian Terriers, Jack Russel/Parsons Terriers, Giant Schnauzers, etc. This mutation has been shown to follow an autosomal RECESSIVE mode of inheritance.
An interesting factoid about urate or uric acid stones is that they do not show up on x-rays. So if urate stones are suspected other means of diagnoses, such as ultrasound or analysis of urine for urate crystals, are necessary. Once present, urate stones can sometimes be dissolved with a combination of urine pH modification & other treatments. Low PURINE diets can be beneficial in lowering the level of URIC ACID in the urine of individuals affected by HUU. It is not necessary or beneficial to restrict overall protein intake for the HUU affected dog, rather they should be fed diets that are low in purine content. You can find a lot of information on low purine diets from Dalmatian specific web sites as Dalmatians are considered homozygous for HUU (all Dalmatians have 2 copies of the gene mutation that causes HUU). The drug ALLOPURINOL may be used in the treatment of urate stones.
CYSTINURIA is a condition characterized by increased levels of CYSTINE in the urine brought on by an inherited defect in the filtration/resorption processes in the kidneys of affected individuals. The amino acid cystine occurs in most proteins and can also be produced by the body through the conversion of methionine. Methionine is found in some proteins, seeds/nuts & cereal grains. The presence of increased levels of cystine in the urine of cystinuria affected Bulldogs results in a PREDISPOSITION in those individuals to form cystine bladder and/or kidney stones. Because cystine is insoluble (will not dissolve) in acidic environments & urine is usually slightly acidic, it has a tendency to precipitate out of urine to form crystals which can eventually form stones. There are different mutations responsible for cystinuria in different breeds of dogs. At this time no research has been published identifying the specific causal gene mutation for cystinuria in Bulldogs. Research into cystinuria in Bulldogs is underway at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine under the direction of Dr. Paula Henthorn. Her research has shown that cystinuria in Bulldogs appears to be androgen dependent & therefore neutering of cystine stone forming males may prevent recurrence of stone formation. The article “SLC3A1 and SLC3A9 Mutations in Autosomal Recessive or Dominant Canine Cystinuria: A New Classification System” in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, co-authored by Dr. Henthorn, presents some detailed information about the different inheritance patterns that have been identified for cystinuria in different breeds to date. Though cystine stones will appear on x-ray, they are often very faint in comparison to some other types of stones. Once present, cystine stones cannot be dissolved by diet & urine pH modification alone. Low total protein diets may be recommended to help prevent cystine stones, though their long term use can lead to other health problems including cardiac issues. The drugs THIOLA and d-penicillamine may be used to help dissolve cystine stones. Obviously this isn’t information that I just know. I have been researching both conditions & would encourage anyone who is interested in them to do the same. If we are going to talk about these & other issues that are present in our breed, we should all be certain of & specific about the information we are providing. Recently it seems like the details of the 2 conditions are sometimes getting scrambled in posts & discussions. Here is a visual chart explaining how pairing dogs that are clear, carrier and affected affects breeding choices.
Please reach out to me if you’d like any help getting started or have questions.
Tammy McAllister Bulldog Club of Canada - Director of Health firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to Consult a veterinarian before giving any medications to your dog
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