Question: What is the B.T.C.A. Health Certification Program?
The Boston Terrier Club of America Health Committee developed a totally voluntary health certification program available to all breeders whose dogs have completed certain health requirements. The BTCA Health Committee worked for almost a year developing this Certification Program that would acknowledge those exceptional Boston Terriers who have qualified by meeting certain health requirements. The program was implemented in 2002.
The Health Committee identified the most common genetic problems in Boston Terriers through the Health Survey which was completed in early 2001. The hope was that through education and certification we can make breeders more aware of the primary genetic problems and more thoughtful in the selection of breeding animals that are clear of these defects. The BTCA Health Committee is hopeful that certification can begin to reduce genetic problems and improve the overall health of the Boston Terrier Breed by raising breeder awareness of genetic problems.
There are two tiers to this voluntary program: Silver Certification and Gold Certification To qualify for Silver Certification, a Boston Terrier must pass the OFA Patella examination, eye clearance through CERF, and annual veterinary examination. To qualify for Gold Certification, Boston Terriers must pass the OFA Patella examination, eye clearance through CERF, annual veterinary examination, and the BAER hearing test. All results must be registered with OFA and CERF. The certification is voluntary, and breeders/owners must apply for certification by mailing in the application and copies of registered test results.
Question: How often should these tests be given?
The CERF exam is performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. The eye is examined for a variety of hereditary eye diseases. This should be done annually.
The BAER exam is performed once in a lifetime. It is performed by a veterinary neurologist. BAER stands for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response. The test can be done as young as 8 weeks. If the BAER test is performed earlier than 8 weeks, the results may not be valid.
The patella exam can be performed by your regular veterinarian. It is done by physically manipulating the knee joint to see if it can dislocate or luxate. A dog must be 12 months old for patella results to be registered with OFA. The first formal test can be done at 12 months. It is recommended that the knees be rechecked/recertified every two years.
The health exam is recommended to occur annually. Your dog?s veterinarian should screen the following areas on an annual basis: respiratory, neurological, cardiac, musculoskeletal, reproduction, digestive; immune function.
Question: What does OFA stand for?
OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
The OFA was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation by the state of Illinois on July 7, 1966 and has recognized that a variety of heritable diseases impact animal health.
As scientific advancements enhanced the ability to diagnose heritable diseases, the OFA has supported development of diagnostic criteria and databases for a number of genetic diseases in addition to hip dysplasia. The current list of databases maintained by the OFA includes the following:
These databases provide information about the genetic characteristics so breeders can make conscientious decisions when selecting mating pairs. With the information provided by the database, breeders can apply greater selective pressure to minimize or eliminate detrimental characteristics that could be carried in their breeding stock. When several generations have been submitted to the database, breeders have the advantage of knowing the characteristics of related animals, thus providing a clearer picture of inheritance in polygenic traits such as hip dysplasia.
In addition to the database services the OFA provides breeders, the OFA databases are available for selected research studies. When a research proposal is accepted by the OFA, data can be provided to researchers in a confidential format the does not divulge the identity of individual dogs or owners.
It is recommended that Boston Terriers be tested for congenital deafness and patellar luxation. The OFA maintains database information on registered results of Boston Terriers. You can search the database for test results for specific dogs and breeds.
Question: What does CERF stand for?
Canine Eye Registration Foundation.
The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization that was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog's lives were being affected by heritable eye disease. CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of elimination of heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry.
Question: What is CHIC?
The Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC, is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). One of the goals of CHIC is to provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. Results registered in the OFA and CERF database are automatically sent to CHIC. Each breed has certain tests that are recommended by the parent Club (for Bostons it is the Boston Terrier Club of America) Recommended tests for Boston Terriers are: OFA patella, CERF, and OFA BAER testing. When these results are registered for a specific dog, the dog is given a CHIC registration number and is listed in the database. Currently, there are 101 Boston Terriers with CHIC numbers, which means that there are 101 Boston Terriers who have had all 3 recommended tests and the results were registered.
Question: I searched the OFA, CERF and CHIC websites and can?t find my breeder?s dogs listed. Does that mean the breeder doesn?t health test their dogs?
There are plenty of breeders who do health testing, but do not register the results. You should ask your breeder if they do health testing and ask to see some copies of the test results.
Question: If I buy a dog that is not health tested, does that mean that the dog isn't healthy or will develop health problems later in life?
If the dogs in a breeding program are not health tested, then the breeder has no way of determining whether or not there are genetic problems being transferred. Health testing helps a breeder make decisions about selection of a stud dog and female to breed. Without health testing, this information is not available to the breeder and the likelihood of hereditary genetic problems increases.
Question: Why don?t all breeders do health testing?
Some breeders aren?t aware of the BTCA recommendation for health testing in our breed. These people are not likely to members of the Boston Terrier Club of America and haven?t had access to the information about the importance of health testing. Some breeders don?t have access to all the recommended tests. BAER testing is not readily available in all parts of the country. Some breeders may not think that health testing is necessary, and therefore don?t do it.
It is very helpful and interesting post for every one who want to know about this. I found them on a website while I was searching for something else. You have described it in a very descriptive and understandable manner so everybody understand it.
Health is very much important thing for the person which is provide the good life to the person. It is increase the living interest of the person. You have to eat fresh food and fruit which is provide the good amount of vitamins to the person to live healthy life in the environment.
I have a question: my husband and I are looking into possibly buying a puppy but have heard numerous warnings about the eyes. We are thinking about buying one from a girl who is going to breed her two lovely bostons but she not professional breeder. She loves her dogs and they are very well treated-its a friend of my sister's. So I was thinking about getting the puppy CERF certified before I buy it, but am confused because it only certifies the dog for 12 mths. I plan on owning the dog for his/her whole life and that won't help me. So I am thinking that maybe I should just go and get a genetic test (which is more expensive) to rule out eye disease or possible future ones. I am wondering if I have this wrong abt cerf? or if the cerf can certify it longer? Also which test you would recommend? Or advice?
I am surprised and disappointed that you don't recommend DNA testing for juvenile cataracts? It's an inexpensive test. 45.00 animal genetics in Florida . CERF twenty years ago could only tell you that your dog didn't have it? Is that because their are still champions being bred that are carriers like back then? I know because I spayed and neutered mine that produced the effected puppies. I was told by other show breeders that they would not have done what I did. I did the right thing.
Many breeders do the DNA test but it's not required and dogs that are not affected JHC may develop other cataracts. Also, OFA does not register DNA test results as they do with CERF (now OFA eye), Patellas and BAER. It is not a bad idea to breed a carrier to a clear dog as carriers are not affected but 2 carriers
could proudce an affected dog and breeders would not choose that cross. If you are looking for a pup, ask the status of parents. I bet most breeders know.