PON PUPPY BUYERS GUIDE

"Learn Before You Leap"

OFA, CERF, PENN HIP, CHIC

Obviously not all health issues in every puppy can be addressed, but there are tests  which are known and recommended .  Among the health issues that have surfaced in Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies , which often do not manifest until they are adults, are hip and eye issues.  Conscientious PON  breeders who have concern for their dogs offspring should have their adults breeding PONS tested and use this information to avoid these health issues .
OFA
OFA stands for the Orthopedic Foundation for  Animals.  As it states on its website it is
 
 
"To promote the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease."  More information may be learned by visiting the website at
 

 
 The parent club  requires breeders on their list to  test  hips and eyes.  All breeders should be testing if they are breeding.   Your puppy will probably be too young to test.   You may be able to find your PONS parents' listed and see if his eyes and hips were both done and/or rated.    If both hips and eyes  were done you will find the breeder also has chic next to their name indicating both were done (may or may not have passed)  and that person will get a chic number for that PON.  Not finding the parents of your potential puppy may indicate the hips  were not tested by OFA ,but Penn Hip, and you should ask to see that documentation,  or it may mean the parent PON  did not pass. Whether done by OFA or Penn Hip the breeders should have legal documentation from one of these organizations for both parents.   Eye  testing results may or may not be sent to OFA, but do ask for paper documentation from your breeder.  By getting this testing done your breeder is saying they are concerned and want to make sure  to the best of their ability that they don't breed and pass along PONS with bad hips or eyes.  Additional testing of other genetic problems may be required in the future.    To see if your PON's parents or your PON  have a CHIC number go to ChIC and you will be able to look up PONS that have CHIC clearance.

CHIC information



OFA EYE CERTIFICATION
(Previously CERF)
 
Previously known as the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) which  was established by a group of purebred owner/breeders  who realized their dog's lives were being compromised by eye disease.   They joined with a group of  certified veterinary opthalmologists  to form a centralized registry where eye problems could be monitored and  utitilized to try and find ways to prevent further problems.  PRA ,known as progressive retina atrophy late onset, which can lead to blindness, has shown up in the PONS.   Therefore, all breeding parent dogs and dams should be tested and certified to be free of eye problems before they are bred.  OFA testing should be repeated every two years, while the PRA test is a genetic test only needing to be done once.   This information is made available to those studying eye problems as well as interested parent clubs, etc.    Bottom line is that before you buy a puppy ask to see the OFA Eye Certification papers (previously CERF) of both the dam and the sire .You should also be able to see the test results of the PRA testing, which PONs can be inflicted, carriers , or clear.  Your breeder should be able to explain the differences to you and what that means.     For more information go to

 
PennHIP
 
PennHIP is a not-for-profit veterinary health service which is found at the U. of PA. It is a multifaceted radiographic screening used to evaluate the laxity of the hips in dogs.   It is useful in predicting osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease that often manifest in hip dysplasia.  However, it may be more difficult to interpret the results of this type of testing .  For more info
 

CHIC

 

"The CHIC Repository, co-sponsored by the  OFA and the AKC/CHF, collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding genealogic anfd phenotypic  information  to facilitate future research and teting aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs. "    In its objectives as stated on its website it in brief terms wants to
 
"1.  Facilitate more rapid research progress by expediting the
      sample collection process
  2. Provide researches with optimized family groups needed
      for research
  3.  Allow breeders to take advantage of future DNA bases disease
       test as they become available
  4.  Foster a team environment between breeders/owners and
       the research community improving  the likelihood of genetic
       discovery."
 
Right now the PONs community is involved in eye and hip research
but it should soon become more involved as other possible genetic problems surface.   Ask if your breeder is taking part in this research
and remember you can check the OFA website to see if they have
chic next to their name.   You may not find this certification for dogs
that have passed  or are no longer being bred because this is a fairly new data base.  For more information about chic visit
 
 
Remember to ask the PON breeders that are considering buying from  to produce documentation that their breeding stock has been tested.  They should be very willing to speak about any problems they have found in their lines.   Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies are meant to spend their lifetime in your home and you have the right to know what to expect. Remember you can check the OFA site.  Not all PONS are OFA'd but some will be PennHip.  CERF certification  should  have been done within the last two years and should be available. You can always check OFA for chic.