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Health Testing

Hawkersland Labrador Retrievers prides itself on breeding healthy happy dogs, prioritising temperament, type, quality and working ability as these traits are all very important, and so too is soundness.

The Labrador Retriever Club strongly recommends that all breeding stock is evaluated for Hip Dysplasia & inherited eye diseases using one of the schemes.

Hip and Elbow Testing

An increasing number of Labradors are suffering from hereditary joint related conditions as a result of indiscriminate breeding.    Many of these risks can be removed through ensuring you buy your puppy from a breeder where both parents have undergone the BVA Health Test Schemes. There are several different types of screening schemes that can aid breeders in the detection of some inherited diseases or, in the case of DNA testing schemes, the presence or absence of disease genes. 

Please click to visit the BVA website to find out more about the Canine Hip/ ElbowSchemes and BVA eye Tests

The OptiGen prcd -PRA Test

 The OptiGen prcd -PRA test is a DNA-based test that helps you avoid one form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). PRA refers to a group of diseases that cause the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time. The result is declining vision and eventual blindness. “ prcd ” stands for “progressive rod-cone degeneration” which is the type of PRA known in several breeds.

PRA Disease

The genetic disorder, prcd -PRA , causes cells in the retina at the back of the eye to degenerate and die, even though the cells seem to  develop normally early in life. OptiGen's genetic test assists in making the diagnosis. It's important to remember that not all retinal disease is PRA and not all PRA is the prcd form of PRA.

Inheritance

Prcd -PRA is inherited as a recessive trait. This means a disease gene must be inherited from each parent in order to cause disease in an offspring. Parents were either “carrier” or affected. A carrier has one disease gene and one normal gene, and is termed “heterozygous” for the disease. A normal dog has no disease gene and is termed “homozygous normal” – both copies of the gene are the same. And a dog with two disease genes is termed “homozygous affected” – both copies of the gene are abnormal.

It's been proven that all breeds being tested for prcd -PRA have the same disease caused by the same mutated gene. This is so, even though the disease might develop at different ages or with differing severity from one breed to another.

Although prcd -PRA is inherited, it can be avoided in future generations by testing dogs before breeding. Identification of dogs that do not carry disease genes is the key. These "clear" dogs can be bred to any mate - even to a prcd -affected dog which may be a desirable breeding prospect for other reasons.

The Genetic Test

The OptiGen prcd test is done on a small sample of blood from the dog. The test analyzes the specific DNA mutation causing prcd-PRA. The OptiGen test detects the mutant, abnormal gene copy and the normal gene copy. The result of the test is a genotype and allows separation of dogs into three groups: Normal/Clear (homozygous normal), Carrier (heterozygous) and Affected (homozygous mutant).

Possible results using the OptiGen prcd test
Genotype Risk Group Significance For Breeding Risk of prcd Disease
Homozygous Normal Normal/Clear Can be bred to any dog, extremely
low risk of producing affecteds
Extremely low
Heterozygous Carrier Should be bred only to Normal/
Clear to remove risk of producing
affecteds
Extremely low
Homozygous Mutant Affected Should be bred only to Normal/
Clear to remove risk of producing
affecteds
Very high

Please click to visit the OptiGen website

Our Breeding Strategies

We can use these screening tests to enable us to have a responsible breeding programme that priorities the health and soundness of our puppies. As with most breeds problems occur from time to time. HOWEVER, puppy buyers must try to understand that there are no guarantees when you buy a puppy. Conscientious breeders try to reduce the chances of inherited problems in the puppies they breed by using the health schemes available at the time.

 

Please click... A history on Dog Genetics for further information on the formation of dog DNA