This is a blood test and should be a complete panel that includes
Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, T4 autoantibodies, T3
autoantibodies, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and TgAA.
This test is used to detect autoimmune thyroid disease. Breeding
stock should be retested every couple of years, since autoimmune
thyroiditis can develop in dogs as they age.
How to Test:
A blood sample is drawn by your veterinarian and sent to a lab that
specializes in canine thyroid evaluation. Just checking the T4
level is not enough, because the thyroid hormone level may be normal
in the early stages of the disease. A list of labs that perform
complete thyroid panels can be found at http://www.sparkshire.com/genetic_testing.htm,
and click on the OFA Thyroid Procedures link.
This is done through x-rays evaluated by the specialists at the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or PennHip (University of
Pennsylvania) and is used to detect the presence of hip dysplasia.
The OFA will do preliminary evaluations on dogs under two years of
age, but will only certify dogs over the age of two. Dogs that
have preliminary certification done through OFA should have x-rays
resubmitted after the age of two.
How to Test:
X-rays of the dog's hips must be done by your veterinarian using
specific guidelines required by OFA or PennHip. You will need to take
your dog’s registration information with you, so this information
can be imprinted on the x-rays. The x-rays are then sent in to be
evaluated, and you will receive a certificate with the results of the
evaluation. In order for the results to be included in a dog’s AKC
record, the dog must be permanently identified using either a tattoo
or a microchip.
von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD):
There is now a DNA test to detect vWD, a bleeding disorder. The
DNA test determines whether a dog is affected (two genes), a carrier
(one gene), or clear of the disease. An older procedure that
used a blood test to diagnose vWD has been found to be inaccurate.
If the dog was previously tested using the blood test, it is
recommended that a DNA test be run to get an accurate diagnosis.
This test only needs to be done once in a dog’s lifetime.
How to Test:
A testing kit can be ordered from VetGen. The testing involves
swabbing the inside of the dog’s mouth using small soft brushes to
collect the DNA sample. The brushes are then mailed back to
VetGen for evaluation.
Eye exams check for the presence of abnormalities in the eyes due to
hereditary disease. In Shetland Sheepdogs, the two main concerns
are Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).
Potential breeding stock should be evaluated for CEA when the dog is
five to seven weeks old. The presence of CEA can be detected
when a Sheltie is five to seven weeks old, but may become impossible
to detect when the dog is older.
“Lesions of CH [choroidal hypoplasia, the most
common form of CEA] can be seen at five to seven weeks of age but
later can become masked by the development of pigment in the back of
the eye as the dog ages. These cases are called ‘go-normals.’
It is because of these cases that it is important to examine puppies
at a young age. Even though these dogs may appear normal as
adults, they still are carrying the gene for collie-eye.*”
PRA is a progressive disease, so breeding stock
should be examined periodically throughout their lives for the
presence of this disease.
How to Test:
Eye exams must be done by a specialist who is a Diplomate of the
American College Of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. It is
recommended that you have the ophthalmologist fill out a Canine Eye
Registration Foundation (CERF) form after the evaluation. This
form can then be sent to CERF with a small fee to have the results
included in the CERF database. You will also receive a
certificate from CERF with your dog’s results. Sometimes local
dog clubs will host “eye clinics,” especially in areas that do not
have eye specialists close by. The CERF site has a partial list
of upcoming clinics.
Before breeding, take your dog to your veterinarian to have a thorough
examination and blood tests for venereal diseases. Also, additional
tests will be performed and may include, but are not limited to,
x-rays and certification of acceptable hips and eye exams. The
dog should be brought up-to-date on all vaccinations and wormed if
necessary. If your veterinarian sees any problem that may
preclude breeding, he or she will discuss it with you. Remember,
this should be done with both prospective parents. A dog or
bitch that has been bred several times and seems to be producing
healthy dogs could still be carrying problems that never came forward
only because of the dog or bitch it was bred to in the past.