The Great Dane Club of America and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has implemented a list of different tests that should be performed on all dogs that are going to be bred PRIOR to breeding. These include OFA Hips, OFA Thyroid, OFA Echo
(heart echocardiograms are to be performed as a prescreening for DCM) and OFA Eyes. I also perform OFA Elbows, OFA Patella’s and OFA Shoulders as a requirement for prescreening for my breeding program.
These tests are done prior
to breeding in order to better detect any problems that can be passed onto the offspring in which a general practice veterinarian may not always be able to detect. These tests are more in-depth and provide a better look at the health of the dog intended to
All results are submitted to OFA are made public on the OFA (www.ofa.org) website. It is simple to research a dog’s results, all you need if their registered name
or registration number. The dog that has completed all health testing as recommended by the GDCA and OFA will receive a CHIC number. The CHIC number is active as long as the breeder continues to re-evaluate the testing that OFA recommends being performed once
a year. I personally do eyes once a year and echocardiograms every other year.
Unfortunately, there are many breeders who will claim they perform all these health clearances, but do not and will fake OFA paperwork. A simple way to avoid
a breeder who “hangs OFA papers” is to ask them for the dogs registered name or registration number and search the OFA website for yourself. It is VERY important to take the time to research the breeder and their dogs. ASK QUESTIONS! A reputable
breeder will take the times to talk to you as they want to get to know you before being comfortable with placing a puppy in your home and you should want to get to know your breeder as well.
RED FLAG # 1 :
If a breeder says that health testing is a "waste of time", "unnecessary" or “I take my dogs to the vet and they say that they are healthy”. A general practice veterinarian
CAN NOT detect hip dysplasia, OCD shoulder, thyroid deficiency / genetic deficiency or any genetic eye mutations without the proper radiographs, diagnostic instruments necessary to give a diagnosis or determine whether something can be passed onto the dogs
RED FLAG # 2 :
If a breeder doesn't require an application, offers a minimum of a 2 year health / genetic guarantee and for you to sign a return contract.
This usually means they are more interested in placing a puppy for money and don't care about the puppy or where he / she is going.
Here is a wonderful list of things to look for when looking to get a puppy aside from the 2 listed above :