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Health Testing 101

So you’re here trying to do your homework on health testing. Give yourself a high five! You probably agree that health testing is important, and now you need to know what tests should be done, and how to understand the results. The topic is complicated, but the checklist is simple.

Minimum health testing required for Cardigan Welsh Corgis:

  • Hip X-Rays (OFA or PennHIP)

  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

  • Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)

  • Brucellosis (prior to breeding)

That’s it! Just 5 tests you need to see results for. This is a simple yes or no question to ask a breeder: what health tests were done on both parents, and what are the results? In my experience, asking for hip x-ray scores is the easiest way to eliminate a breeder from your consideration. I have found that if a breeder x-rays hips, they are most likely also performing other essential health testing, and generally have responsible breeding practices overall.

That’s 5 simple requirements for a breeder to meet, and yet there are many breeders who go above and beyond this testing to feel confident they are doing all they can to enhance the health of each generation of Cardigans. Some of these tests include elbow and spine x-rays, Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) for hearing (especially important when puppies have a large amount of white coloring on their heads), and cardiac, patella, and thyroid evaluations. I’ll add more information on those tests later, as well as describing some of the conditions we don’t have health tests for that can occur in corgis.

With medical and technological advances, there will surely be updates to this article, but these are the current minimum requirements. Don’t settle for less - your dog, and your family who loves them, deserve better.

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