All of our breeding females at Cadenzahgold undergo extensive breed testing (health screening) prior to being included in our breeding program. Electronic copies of all these documents are proudly provided to all new puppy owners, as well as hard copies being provided to new owners on pick up day for all puppies. These hard copies form part of the extensive puppy pack that is sent home with new owners and can be shared with your veterinarian and other interested parties.
Please be mindful that careful health screening of all dogs in our breeding program reduces the risk of occurrence of these conditions in all our puppies, however it is not a guarantee. Many of these conditions can also develop due to other external factors such as being overweight, poor diet and too much or too little exercise, so not only is it very important to firstly buy a puppy from a registered breeder who is able to evidence the health screens of all their dogs, but also to raise your puppy carefully to ensure a long and healthy life.
There are four main health screens conducted on all our dogs:
Hip and Elbow Scoring (Canine Hip and Elbow Displaysia Scheme)
Submission of Hip and Elbow scores by registered owners are a requirement of the ANKC for dogs on the Main register to be used for breeding.
Hip and elbow scoring can only be conducted by taking xrays of the dogs hips and elbows. These xrays are then sent off to qualified veterinary professionals at the ANKC who will review and 'score' the xrays for correct angulation of the joints as well as secondary joint changes associated with hip and elbow displasia.
Hip and elbow scoring is undertaken after the dog is 12 months of age, and therefore hip and elbow scores are not provided for puppies under the age of 12 months. New owners will only be able to review the scores for both parents.
An example of a hip and elbow score sheet is provided on this page.
Hip scores range from 0/0 (0) to the highest score possible 53/53 (106). Hips scores of 0 signify perfect hips that are rarely seen, but do pop up and are greatly rejoiced amongs golden retriever breeders! As you can see in this example Cadenzahgold Queen of Hearts has a combined score of 3/2 (5). This means that she has slight irregularities in her hip joints that are considered good enough for breeding.
The current breed average for hip scores is 10.87 with a median of 8.00. These averages are adjusted regularly as more golden retrievers hip scores are calculated. High scoring hips should not be used in breeding programs.
Elbow scores 0-3, with 0 being a healthy normal elbow joint and 3 being a severly displaced joint that is not suitable for breeding.
It should be noted that not all dogs with higher hip and elbow scores will show clinical signs of hip displaysia. Careful management of health, diet and exercise is always key for golden retrievers and high scoring dogs have been known to live their lives healthy and happy without any clinical signs of hip and elbow displaysia through to their senior years. Some have even been successful show dogs!
Carefully managing the weight of your golden, providing excellent nutrition and regular gentle exercise are all protective factors in helping to reduce the risk of hip and elbow displasia. Rigorous activities like excessive ball play, extended periods of forced exercise on hard surfaces, steps/stairs, jumping in and of vehicles and over obstacles, as well as beach play in deep, soft sand are all activities that should be avoided and/or kept to a minimum, particularly while your puppy is growing.
For further information on hip and elbow displasia please click here.
Annual Eye Certificates
Submission of annual eye certificates by registered owners are a requirement of the ANKC for dogs on Main register to be used for breeding.
Annual eye certificates are completed by qualified veterinary opthamologists and screen for Retinal Displasia (RD), Hereditary Cataract (HC), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Entropian.
Retinal Displasia (RD) is abnormal development of the retina. While most commonly caused by inheritance, RD may also develop after exposure to toxins or from viral infections. Dogs identified with RD should be excluded from a breeding program. For further information on Retinal Displasia please click here.
Hereditary Cataracts (HC) are seen as a cloudy (opaque) lens on your dog. Cataracts are often considered an inherited condition, so dogs identified with HC should be excluded from a breeding program. Cataracts can also develop in old age for dogs, as a part of other retinal diseases such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and in dogs with diabetes. For further information on Hereditary Cataracts (HC) please click here.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease that causes blindness in golden retrievers. In addition to annual screening by veterinary opthamologists, PRA can also be identified through genetic testing and DNA analysis. All breeding dogs at Cadenzahgold are also DNA tested for PRA prior to entering our breeding program. For further information on Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) please click here.
Entropian - is another inherited condition for goldens where the eyelid edge rolls inwards and causes the eye lashes to scratch against the surface of the eye and can severely damage the cornea. If left untreated, the eye can ulcerate and ultimately lead to blindess and / or removal of the eye. Entropian can be successfully treated surgically with stitching to draw the eyelids away from the eys. Any dog with this condition should be excluded from a breeding program. For further information on Entropian please click here.
Heart certificates are provided by qualified Specialist Veterinary Cardiologists. Heart screening is conducted after the dog has turned 1 years of age and checks for irregular heart sounds and any evidence of cardiac disease. The certificate provides a clear statement from the specialist on whether the dog is suitable for breeding purposes.
Further information on the variety of diseases screened for is available here.
DNA testing is utilised to identify inherited health conditions within a dogs genetics. DNA collection for testing must be conducted by an approved DNA collector (either a veterinarian or a trained and approved DNA collector.) Cadenzahgold engages Orivet to conduct all DNA testing on our dogs.
The use of DNA testing by breeders is a very good way to manage a breeding program and ensure that puppies are not affected by a variety of DNA identifiable conditions. Although DNA testing will certainly identify when a dog is affected by these conditions, the most valuable tool it provides to breeders is the ability to identify when a breeding animal carries the gene for these conditions (recessive traits).
Carrying a gene does not mean the animal has the condition, quite the opposite, it means the animal is unaffected. What it does mean however, is that if any animal is a carrier of one or more of these conditions and they are bred to another animal that carries the condition, there is a 25% chance that a puppy from the litter will be affected by the condition ie. 1 in 4 of the puppies in a litter may be affected. This means that by identifying which of our breeding animals are carriers of these conditions, we can carefully select breeding partners for each female to ensure that they are not bred to other carriers and eradicate the risk of producing affected puppies. A very good thing!
The main conditions we use this method to manage are:
Ichthyosis (ICTH) - A flaky skin condition that despite it's name is not actually itchy! This condition is more akin to fish scales where flakes of skin flake off the dog at regular intervals. Luckily for golden retrievers, this condition is not normally severe. Many golden retrievers affected by this condition show no symptoms whatsoever, while some others will only show symptoms while they are growing and then they disappear by 12 months of age. As dogs are affected by the condition for life, some may also show life long flaking with this condition.
Ichthyosis is quite often described in goldens as 'doggy dandruff' and can often be managed quite well with the addition of Omega 3 and 6 oils to the diet and the use of moisturising shampoos such as Emu Oil shampoo.
This condition does not affect the life expectancy of affected animals.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a collection of inherited diseases that causes blindness in golden retrievers. Cadenzahgold screens all dogs for PRA, PRA1 and PRA2. Further information on PRA can be found on the Orivet website here.