Why Do We Health Test Before Breeding?
When selecting a puppy, consumers may find a puppy who is AKC registered (meaning both parents are registered with the AKC) but whose parents have not undergone health testing before breeding. Usually, these puppies are less expensive to purchase but may end up costing their owners more financially in the long run because their hereditary disease status and genetic disease status are unknown.
As responsible breeders, Laurie & Joe’s Labs undergo specialized health testing before they are eligible to be bred. This is to prevent hereditary and/or genetic diseases from being passed on to the puppies. We follow our reproductive vet’s recommendations along with the Labrador Retriever Parent Club’s recommended guidelines for the pre breeding testing of Labrador retrievers. As recognition for our compliance with their program, the AKC has awarded us the prestigious BRED with HEART certification.
Current Testing Recommendations
X-rays of Elbows and Hips
All of our dogs undergo x-rays of their elbows and hips. Normally, these x-rays cannot be submitted to the OFA (the official board of dog radiologists known as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) for an official reading until a dog is two years of age. However, they can be performed early for a preliminary reading (which is 97% accurate) for a variety of reasons. A score of fair, good, or excellent on these x-rays are acceptable for a dog to be bred. Once the x-rays are submitted to the OFA, each dog is assigned an OFA certification number. In keeping with the current science available, we have also been doing Penn Hip testing on our up and coming breeding prospects to give us even more information about the status of their hips.
CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)
All of our dogs undergo an eye examination by a specialized vet eye doctor. A dog must receive a score of normal to breed. CERF assigns each dog a certification number.
Before breeding, all of our dogs undergo a Labrador Retriever DNA disease test panel. A score of clear means the dog does not possess any of the genetic diseases on the panel. A carrier result means that the dog carries one copy of the gene and can be bred as long as it is to a dog who is clear. No certification numbers are assigned to DNA results. We use Animal Genetics and Embark testing labs.