Like all dogs, Goldens are subject to a number of heritable defects including eye, heart, hip, elbow, blood and thyroid disorders. To reduce the occurrence of these abnormalities, ethical breeders have all breeding stock screened by veterinary specialists before their dogs are bred. Adog with a “clearance” has been tested negative for evidence of a heritable abnormality by a specialist and is given written certification. Breeder members of the GRCC must obtain clearances for eyes, heart and hips as a minimum standard.
Eye examinations must be performed annually by a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists to detect cataracts and other complicated eye disorders. Some eye abnormalities found in Goldens can be surgically corrected while others may result in various degrees of blindness. Pigmentary Uveitis (PU) is a disease of the eye, it seems to be found at around age 8, but there are many cases found much earlier (2) and some much later. Early in the disease process inflammation in the eye is usually very subtle and may go unnoticed, assuming it’s allergies etc. Symptoms of Pigmentary Uveitis (PU) include, but aren’t limited to, squinting, increased tearing or discharge, redness, photophobia (light sensitivity) and cloudiness of the eye or eyes.
Sub Aortic stenosis (SAS) is a condition affecting blood flow from the heart. A report of normal heart function is issued by a veterinary cardiologist.
A hip and elbow certificate of examination is issued by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) at 24 months of age, or by the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) or the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at a minimum age of 18 months, to any dog who’s x-rays indicate no evidence of hip or elbow dysplasia.
Von Willebrand·s Disease (VWD) is a blood disorder which prevents blood from normal clotting. Dogs are given a blood test to determine if they are within normal range.
Hypothyroidism is a heritable condition and is detected through a blood test. Although a serious condition, it is easily treated with hormone therapy.
It is important to remember that breeding ·clear· dogs does not absolutely guarantee that puppies will be unaffected, as it is not usually possible to determine which genes both dam and sire carry and how their combinations will affect offspring. However, there is no doubt that breeding non-affected animals greatly increases the chance of producing non-affected offspring.