In the United States, several genetic registries have been established to assist breeders with genetic disease control. The Canine Eye Registry
Foundation or CERF (http://www.vmdb.org/cerf.html) is a closed database showing only normal eye examination results on dogs examined
by ACVO boarded veterinary ophthalmologists. The not-for-profit Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA: www.offa.org) has semi-open
registries for phenotypic examinations of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, congenital cardiac disease, and patella
luxation, as well as genotypic test results for many inherited disorders. From the OFA web portal you can look up individual animals, and
their health testing status. This is Facebook for Animals; each with their own web page and information.
The Canine Health Information Center or CHIC (www.caninehealthinfo.org) is an open health database that has been established by the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. National parent clubs decide to enroll in the CHIC program, and determine the testable genetic disorders for their breed. (For example, hip evaluation, CERF examination, and thyroid testing.) Owners, breeders, and prospective owners can search online for dogs in the OFA/CHIC database, and view their test results. If a dog completes the recommended testing panel, it receives a CHIC number regardless of whether it passes all of the tests. CHIC is about health consciousness, not health perfection. As more testable disorders are identified, few dogs will be normal for all tests. The Kennel Club in the UK has similar Health Breeding Schemes and a searchable Health Tests Results Finder to look up individual dogs. A similar listing of tests is not currently available for cats, however breed-related diseases are found on the Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB-UK) website: www.fabcats.org/breeders/ inherited_disorders.
Without data on the occurrence and prevalence of disorders in dog and cat breeds, breeders cannot institute measures to improve them. Breed clubs should routinely perform health surveys (usually every 5 years) to monitor the changing health of the breed. Owners should take the time to fill out surveys, even on healthy animals. Breeders should record the cause and age at death, reproduction rates, dystocia, need for caesarian section, sex of offspring, litter size, number of stillborn offspring, growth rates, and the onset and nature of abnormalities in offspring. Post mortems should be conducted for fading kittens and puppies, and for all deaths. If one does not know why there is loss of cats or dogs, there is loss of ability to improve the welfare and health of the next generation of a breed.
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