You may see listings here and on breeders’ sites with a lot of alphabet soup. A number of genetic tests have been developed to better predict inherited health problems in dogs and help breeders and puppy buyers make choices about the future health of their dogs.

While not all breeders choose to test or do all the tests, more information is certainly better than none at all.

Below is a list of the common tests you may see listed and the consequences of the dog being affected if it carries a gene or abnormality. We’d like to call your attention to the MDR1 test, specifically, as a dog carrying that gene could have adverse reactions to exposure to the livestock wormer, Ivermectin, and management would be required to protect your dog’s life.

For more information, visit: The Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute

Test name Consequences
CEA – Collie Eye Anomaly (choroidial hypolasia/CH) Two copies = mild to severe eye deformities
CERF – Canine N/A

Physical eye exam = clear means no detected defects.

CD – Cone Degenerations
(Achromatopsia, rod monochromacy, day blindness, hemeralopia)
Two copies = inherited day blindness in bright light
CM – Cobalamine malabsorptoin Two copies = may require a supplement for life or will have mild to severe illness chronically
CMR – Canine multifocal retinopathy Two copies = retinal detachment in puppyhood, may heal or lead to blindness
DCM – Dilated Cardiomyopathy One or more copy = may have a weak heart into adulthood
DM – Degenerative myelopathy Two copies = late in life degeneration of spine + affected dogs may not show signs but pass it on
HSF4/HC – Hereditary cataracts (juvenile cataracts, early onset, JC) One or more copy = cataracts develop in adulthood + affected dogs may not show signs but pass it on. 50% chance of passing it on to offspring.
HUU – Hyperuricosuria (Urolithiasis) Two copies = likely to develop urinary tract issues.
MDR1 – Mulitdrug sensitivity (Ivermectin sensitivity) One or more copy = susceptible to adverse drug reactions

Manage affected dogs with caution around problem drugs (livestock wormers – Ivermectin).

NCL – Neuronal Ceroid Lipfuscinosis Two copies = nervous system disorders leading to early adulthood incapacitation
OFA / PennHip Unknown – OFA and PennHip are hip and elbow rating systems judging how well the bone fits in the socket. Poor fit can result in a lifetime of pain and debilitation affecting normal movement.

In OFA this is judged as borderline, mild, moderate, or severe and in PennHip, a result of .7 or higher). More information.

PRA/PRCD – Progressive Renal Atrophy/ Progressive Rod-Code Degeneratoin Two copies = potential vision loss in adulthood
Color Results will show genetic color
Coat traits Results will show genetic coat traits
Natural bob Results will show genetic tail length.

Some studies show breeding natural bob tail to natural bob tail can result in deformity or small litter size.