Reputable breeders rely on the CERF to maintain a database of canines examined by certified ophthalmologic veterinarians. In order to reduce and hopefully eliminate inheritable eye problems, careful records must be kept.
For very reasonable fee, a specialist vet will dilate your pup’s eyes with drops and examine the interior. Anywhere from $35 to $55 is the normal range for the visit.
It doesn’t take long and the vet will then fill out a form stating the condition of the eyes.
Then, for $12 (initial CERF Exam) or $8 (follow up exams) the owner can send a copy of this form to the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.
The foundation uses this information to further study the trends of medical issues.
Once the registration form has been received by CERF, the owner then receives a certificate that rates the eyes as normal or otherwise. It makes it easier for buyers to see that the parents did not have an inheritable disease.
Each Yankee pup sold gets a copy of the parents certificate in their puppy packet.
Because this isn’t a DNA genetic test, the exam relies on the actual presence or absence of disease. Since disease can develop over the course of a lifetime, this exam is done yearly on breeding stock.
At least this is true of breeders concerned with furthering the health of their chosen breed.
The OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), recently set up its own database similar to CERF. It is simply an alternative registry. Since I have used CERF for several decades and have never had an issue with them, I saw no reason to change. However, CERF was recently closed and now this alternative database is all that is available.
As with most testing, if the breeder doesn’t give you a copy of the report, you can’t tell if in fact the parents have been passed as normal. As with most testing, substandard breeders are not in the least bit interested in documenting, verifying or in any way maintaining healthy stock.
You will hear them say, “Oh, yeah, my vet says my guys are healthy. I don’t need to test.” Translate that into, “Buyer Beware.”
It’s tough to walk away from a seemingly healthy litter of puppies, but lack of testing the parents is a pretty good sign you are at the wrong kennel.