You do not require a vet visit for any of these tests. These are done via a mouth swab which you can perform at home. These can be done at any point that the pups stop feeding from Mum (to avoid cross contamination of DNA). Outside of EAOD all the above tests are definitive and return with the following Clear - 0 copies found Carrier - 1 copy found Affected - 2 copies found
What this means A carrier must be bred to a tested and clear status dog Realistically an affected status dog should not be bred from outside of exceptional circumstances. In which case it must only be bred to a tested and clear status dog.
An affected dog bred to a clear dog means that all pups will be carries. A clear dog to clear dog means that all pups will be clear. A clear dog to a carrier means that each puppy has a 50/50 chance of being either clear or a carrier. They cannot be affected.
It is important to note that carriers should not be ruled out from breeding if they are of otherwise suitable stock to be bred from. Should all carries be removed from breeding programmes the genetic pool would diminish exceedingly quickly and inbreeding would become rife leading to more health problems.
We will talk about EAOD in more detail further down the page. However, the only lab at present to offer EAOD testing is My Dog DNA. They offer a full panel which includes all the tests mentioned above and it is with this in mind that it is the suggestion we give for full comprehensive testing at a reasonable cost.
HIP Scoring Hip dysplasia is a common inherited orthopaedic problem where abnormalities occur in the hip joints. These abnormalities include changes to the shape of the hip, ball and socket and the development of osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis). Changes to the hip joint will begin at a young age as the puppy starts to become more active and will get worse over time. These changes can lead to excessive wear and tear of the joint, causing one or both hip joints to become defective. At this stage the hip joint(s) may be painful and can have serious effects on the health, behaviour and welfare of the dog.
HIP Scoring should be carried out by a vet experienced with the procedure. It is usually done via a mild sedative and the dog goes home after the xrays are taken. There is no need for the dog to be left in the vets for the day. It is a quick and pain free procedure. These can be done from 12 months of age onwards.
The xrays are then sent to the BVA for an official score. The lower the score the better. The current average for Border Collies is a combined score of 10.
Elbow Scoring Elbow dysplasia is a common inherited orthopaedic problem in dogs where the elbow doesn’t develop properly. Elbow dysplasia includes a number of specific abnormalities or problems that affect different areas of the elbow joint. These cause problems by affecting the growth of the cartilage which forms the surface of the joint or the structures around it. Even a small change in the shape of one part of the joint can have major consequences for the joint function, leading to lameness (unable to walk correctly), osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis), pain and serious effects on the health, behaviour and welfare of the dog.
Details are the same for Hip scoring.
It is recommended that they are carried out at the same time to minimise the number of times the dog needs to be sedated and also financially it is significantly cheaper to have them done at the same time.
The current average for Border Collies is a score of 0.
Early Adult Onset Deafness
This is a new(ish) test that has become available however it is only a LINKAGE test making it significantly different to the other tests available for Border Collies.
The actual genome responsible for EAOD has yet to be discovered and therefore cannot be tested for with a definitive answer.
What we have available is a linkage test which I will try to explain as simply as possible. ALL dogs who have been diagnosed through a hearing test for EAOD carried 4 markers. However, NOT ALL dogs who carry these 4 markers have EAOD. This tells us the test is incomplete and there is a 5th (or 6th etc) component yet to be discovered.
The EAOD tests for these 4 markers and brings back a result as: Clear (0 copies of the 4 markers) Carrier (1 copy of the 4 markers) At Risk (2 copies of the 4 markers) Remember, having 1 or even 2 sets of these 4 markers does not mean the dog carries or has EAOD.
So what does this mean? Well, as a breeder we want to make the most informed choices we can to produce healthy pups therefore we use the linkage test information available to us at present. Should any of our dogs return as carriers or at risk then they will be bred to tested and clear status dogs, this ensures that at the worst the puppies can only have 1 copy of the 4 markers. Should any dogs return with 2 copies of the markers they will be regularly hearing tested to ensure they do not have EAOD.
The hope is that a definitive test will become available in the future. At this stage any dogs who tested for 1 or 2 copies of the markers will be retested and hopefully return with clear statuses.
We are fortunate to have owned 4/5 generations of our lines and had no hearing issues so at this stage we are confident our dogs do not have EAOD. However, it is impossible to say with confidence if they are/aren't carries without a definitive test which is why we will treat any carrier status the same as if it was any other disease.