Testing the parents prior to breeding them can help to eliminate certain diseases. Test can be broken into two categories, genetic test that will definitively predict if a puppy will have a disease and, those that are a health screenings. Health screenings are a snapshot in time, they only tells us if the parent has symptoms of a disease at that time. These results may change over time, a dog may never develop a health issue, or it may develop it next week or 5 years from now. A true genetic test can help a breeder eliminate a disease so that a puppy will never develop it.
Genetic Tests that can eliminate the chance of your puppy developing a disease:
These disease are recessive, which means that each parent would have to pass a copy of the gene to a puppy. If a puppy does not receive two copies of it they will never develop the disease. A dog with only one copy (carrier) will never develop the disease. It is important to test the parents to determine if they are carriers prior to breeding them. Breeders can easily prevent the disease by never breeding a carrier to a carrier.
Poodles should be tested for Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) Type 1. VWDI requires only one gene to be affected. This disorder is inherited as a dominant trait with incomplete penetrance, which means that not all dogs that have the VWDI mutation will present signs of the disease. Dogs with 1 or 2 copies of this mutation may be affected and may develop VWDI. Since we can’t predict which dogs will be affected all of our Moms and Dads will be clear and non carriers of VWDI.
At this time there are no other true genetic health test for standard poodles. As more test that identify genetic disorders are found, we will test for them.
Health screenings evaluate a dog at the time of testing to see if they have a health issue. Until there are definitive test, no breeder can guarantee a puppy will not develop a health issue. Breeders don’t have crystal balls, some diseases are genetic, others are environmental and many are multifaceted. Research is ongoing, we will test for genetic diseases as more test become available.
Just like in human beings the body is constantly changing, responding to the environment. A dog that has OFA or PennHip healthy hips at 2 years of age, may develop hip dysplasia later in life. We find that health screenings may be misleading to poodle parents. What you need to know is that these screenings can not predict if a puppy will develop one of these issues. Two dogs with OFA excellent hip scores can still produce a puppy with hip dysplasia. Many of these issues develop later in life, well beyond the age a dog has produced puppies. Hip dysplasia is a multifaceted health issue that breeders do not yet know how to eliminate. Responsible breeders check their mothers and fathers to select the healthiest parents possible. Read more on Hip Dysplasia