Every breed has specific health risks associated with them. The Golden Retriever Club of America has laid out which hereditary disease are common in Golden Retrievers. Luckily, there are tests that can be done on parent dogs to ensure that we are not breeding dogs that carry these genetic diseases.
The tests that Golden Retrievers should be screened and cleared from before they are used for breeding (as laid out in the GRCA Code of Ethics) are:
Hips are x-rayed and sent to an approved foundation (Usually OFA) and reviewed for signs of Hip Dysplasia. Hips are either passed or failed and given a “rating”. These are: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, and Severe. Excellent, Good, and Fair are all acceptable ratings for breeding dogs and show no signs of Hip Dysplasia.
Elbows are also x-rayed and sent in. They are either pass/fail and a Certificate is sent if the elbows are passed as normal.
Heart has to be certified through a Cardiologist to be cleared from Congenital Heart Disease. If it is found normal, a certificate is sent.
Eyes must be certified and checked once a year from a ophthalmologist and a certificate is sent if the results are normal.
Visit the OFA website to learn more about these health screenings.
It is also recommended that parent dogs be screened with a DNA test for at least the following hereditary diseases (there are more that can be screened for, but these are the most important ones):
- prcd-PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Progressive Rod-Cone Degneneration)
- GR-PRA1 (Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Golden Retriever 1)
Other diseases that can be tested for through DNA, but aren’t as important to test for are:
- DM (Degenerative Myelophathy)
- DEB (Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa)
- MD-GR (Muscular Dystrophy Golden Retriever Type)
- OI-GR (Osteogenesis Imperfecta Golden Retriever Type)
- SAN Sensory Ataxic Neurophathy)
- GR-PRA2 (Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Golden Retriever 2)