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I realized there seem to be some breeders who don't seem to perform all health tests on sires, specifically in regards to OFA clearance with respect to hips, patellas, etc, before they breed them.

A few good breeders I have spoken to has warned me to stay away from these type of breeders.

Whereas some said it's okay if they perform some preliminary testing with a good vet. A well known reputable(?) breeder such as like Joan, from Light N' Lively Miniature Poodles, seems to think it is okay, saying “You don’t have to test on every single dog you’ve ever bred, but you have to do it on a lot of them,” she says, adding that not every dog she breeds is OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) clear. “In some cases if the dog is younger than 2 years old and cannot be officially graded I will rely on my own veterinarians findings,” on her website.

(I was considering of getting a poodle from Joan too, and not sure anymore based on this comment)

Any thoughts on this?
 

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Personally I would want my dog's parents tested as well as a couple generations behind them. I know Light N Lively is a well regarded breeder, but I would not be comfortable with that statement. I don't like the idea of a dog younger than 2 being bred as I want to know they are old enough for health issues to surface and temperament to mature. I'd maybe consider it if the dog had prelims only but was nearly 2 years of age when bred. I think I'd need to speak to her more to see her side of things. I know we have members with Light N Lively poodles.
 

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Personally, I have heard such great things about Light n Lively and I had a brief conversation with Joan when we were looking that I would have gotten a pup from her. I would feel differently if I were looking for a show quality dog, perhaps.
 

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I wouldn't have a problem should it be a trusted breeder. In most cases one would need two recessive genes to produce a problem with a litter, if the female has been tested and is excellent and if the breeder knew the stud dogs lineage it wouldn't concern me terribly. I would also assume that a smaller dog i.e.. miniature matures more quickly than a standard. It appears that regardless of size (I don't know for sure) the tests are mostly done at 2 years. I also have heard great things about this breeder and would trust her insight.
 

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I realized there seem to be some breeders who don't seem to perform all health tests on sires, specifically in regards to OFA clearance with respect to hips, patellas, etc, before they breed them.

A few good breeders I have spoken to has warned me to stay away from these type of breeders.

Whereas some said it's okay if they perform some preliminary testing with a good vet. A well known reputable(?) breeder such as like Joan, from Light N' Lively Miniature Poodles, seems to think it is okay, saying “You don’t have to test on every single dog you’ve ever bred, but you have to do it on a lot of them,” she says, adding that not every dog she breeds is OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) clear. “In some cases if the dog is younger than 2 years old and cannot be officially graded I will rely on my own veterinarians findings,” on her website.

(I was considering of getting a poodle from Joan too, and not sure anymore based on this comment)

Any thoughts on this?
I feel like there may be a bit of a comparison of oranges to tangerines to clementines here.

First all the nuts and bolts to clarify the OFA/CHIC testing per poodle variety:

Toy
Notes
In addition to the breed specific requirements above, a CHIC requirement across all participating breeds is that the dog must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo in order to qualify for a CHIC number.


Miniature
Notes
In addition to the breed specific requirements above, a CHIC requirement across all participating breeds is that the dog must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo in order to qualify for a CHIC number.


Standard
  • Hip Dysplasia (One of the following)
    OFA Evaluation
    PennHIP Evaluation
  • Eye Examination
    Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist
  • plus
  • Health Elective (One of the following tests) (One of the following)
    OFA Thyroid evaluation from an approved laboratory
    OFA SA Evaluation from an approved dermapathologist
    Congenital Cardiac Exam
    Advanced Cardiac Exam
    Basic Cardiac Exam

Notes
In addition to the breed specific requirements above, a CHIC requirement across all participating breeds is that the dog must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo in order to qualify for a CHIC number.

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Patellar Luxation per the OFA site

Diagnosing Patellar Luxation
Examination and Certification


The dog is examined awake (chemical restraint is not recommended) and classified by the attending veterinarian according to the application and general information instructions. The veterinarian then completes the application form indicating the results of the dog’s patella evaluation.

The application and fee can then be mailed to OFA. The attending veterinarian and owner are encouraged to submit all evaluations, whether normal or abnormal, for the purpose of completeness of data. There is no OFA fee for entering an abnormal evaluation of the patella in the data bank.

An OFA number will be issued to all dogs found to be normal at 12 months of age or older. The OFA number will contain the age at evaluation and it is recommended that dogs be periodically reexamined as some luxations will not be evident until later in life.

Preliminary Evaluations

Evaluation of dogs under 12 months of age is encouraged if the owner desires to breed at this age. The most opportune time to gather breeding data is at 6-8 weeks of age prior to the puppy’s release to the new owner.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip Screening: Grade Classifications OFA Single View

The OFA classifies hips into seven different categories: Excellent, Good, Fair (all within Normal limits), Borderline, and then Mild, Moderate, or Severe (the last three considered Dysplastic).

Hip Dysplasia Screening Procedures
General Overview
Radiographs submitted to the OFA should follow the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for positioning. This view is accepted worldwide for the detection and assessment of hip joint irregularities and secondary arthritic hip joint changes. To obtain this view, the animal must be placed on its back in dorsal recumbency with the rear limbs extended and parallel to each other. The knees (stifles) are rotated internally and the pelvis is symmetric. Chemical restraint (anesthesia) to the point of relaxation is recommended.

Find more details on veterinary screening procedures, or learn about how the OFA handles those screenings.

For dogs under two (2) years of age, preliminary screenings are available.

Penn hip Three Views including the OFA view May be done as young as 16 weeks
Both Pennhip and OFA hip testing are an xray evaluation of the hip but they focus on slightly different aspects, can be done at different ages (prelim and adult), and the OFA single view is contained within the three that comprise the Pennhip evaluation.
Either evaluation is acceptable for OFA but there is an additional fee for the breeder to register the Pennhip results.
The Poodle Club of America accepts either as valid tests.


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So, for miniatures, the complete OFA testing is the 4 tests listed above.
(We're not even talking about the additional DNA testing done thru outside labs or OFA.)

The PRA is a DNA test so may be done at any age
The eye exam is just that, an exam done yearly, similar to human eye exams
Patellas are done at 1 yr to allow for mature growth but may be done earlier if breeding earlier (eeek)
Hips - The OFA accepts preliminary consultation radiographs on puppies as young as 4 months of age for evaluation of hip conformation.
A previous OFA veterinary journal publication* compared the reliability of the preliminary evaluation hip grade phenotype with the 2 year old evaluation in dogs and there was 100% reliability for a preliminary grade of excellent being normal at 2 years of age (excellent, good, or fair).
There was 97.9% reliability for a preliminary grade of good being normal at 2 years of age, and
76.9% reliability for a preliminary grade of fair being normal at 2 years of age.
Reliability of preliminary evaluations increased as age at the time of preliminary evaluation increased, regardless of whether dogs received a preliminary evaluation of normal hip conformation or HD.
For normal hip conformations, the reliability was 89.6% at 3-6 months, 93.8% at 7-12 months, and 95.2% at 13-18 months.
These results suggest that preliminary evaluations of hip joint status in dogs are generally reliable.
However, dogs that receive a preliminary evaluation of fair or mild hip joint conformation should be reevaluated at an older age (24 months).

To get the OFA/CHIC certification those 4 tests must be done as per OFA regs or allowances, plus microchip or other permanent ID to fully qualify for the CHIC status.
This doesn't mean that testing can't be done but not submitted to OFA.

This gets tricky for those of us who expect to see documentation and I do wonder why some breeders don't. What it doesn't automatically mean is that testing wasn't done and results weren't acceptable.

Regarding not testing every breeding dog, some breeders, especially long time breeders who truly know their lines and the lines they breed with, may choose to not test every dog. If they've bred this line without incidence of X happening, they're operating on a sort of Clear by Parentage program. OFA accepts this as clearance but only for one generation and only for DNA testing.

This also gets tricky for those of us looking for documentation but it must be remembered that this is about all the breeders had to go on until the last maybe 2 decades or so.

The way I look at all this is that by amassing all this information, knowing these rules, and then finding a breeder that I really feel knows what they're doing, I know when I might be comfortable if a rule is bent.

Another way to look at this is, a few years ago, my old wood shingle roof was replaced with a composition roof. This meant that my house would just about never catch on fire from a flaming bottle rocket on the roof. It doesn't mean that my house can't still catch on fire, just not from that bottle rocket on the roof. Look for the best odds you need to be comfortable, and have insurance.
 
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