Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog:
In my book, The Canine Thyroid Epidemic: Answer You Need for Your Dog, I discussed the critical role a properly functioning immune system plays in your dog’s health. If the immune system is weak (immunodeficiency), your pet’s ability to fight off disease is compromised or absent, which can expose them to many infections, including bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Immune deficiency may possibly also reduce the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack cancer-specific antigens. On the other hand, an overly-stimulated immune system can trigger immune-mediated diseases – autoimmune disorders in which the immune system mistakes normal organs as foreign invaders and attacks them. Autoimmune diseases include those affecting many tissues of the body such as the blood, thyroid, adrenal glands, joints, kidneys, liver, bowel, reproductive organs, muscles, nervous system, eyes, skin and mucous membranes.
What is the CHIC Certification Program?
The OFA created the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) by partnering with participating parent clubs to research and maintain information on the health issues prevalent in specific breeds. We’ve established a recommended protocol for breed-specific health screenings. Dogs tested in accordance with that protocol are recognized with a CHIC number and certification.
At OFA, we recognize that the more information stored and accessible in these databases, the better it will be for every breed. And so we encourage all breeders to attain CHIC Certification if their breed participates in the CHIC program.
A dog achieves CHIC Certification if it has been screened for every disease recommended by the parent club for that breed and those results are publicly available in the database. See the recommended screenings by breed.
What is a Genetic Disease?:
Genetic diseases are those that are passed on from parent to offspring through genes that carry the codes for each specific trait. Many of the diseases and disorders that affect the eyes are associated with specific genetic factors and multiple eye diseases which affect dogs are known to exhibit evidence of a genetic or heritable cause.
Top Ten Genetic Diseases by The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO):
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
Lens luxation or subluxation
Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV)
Retinal dysplasia – geographic or detached forms
Optic nerve coloboma
Optic nerve hypoplasia
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)