At Westmoor Veterinary Hospital we are proud to be one of the few centres in the UK able to offer eye testing under the BVA/KC/ICDS scheme. Eye tests are carried out by John Mould BA BVSc DVOphthal MRCVS. This scheme is available for dog breeders to screen breeding stock for inherited eye diseases. Testing all potential breeding stock allows a better understanding of the genes a dog may pass on to its puppies and reduces the risk of inherited eye diseases appearing in future generations.
Who is eligible to book an eye test?
Eye tests are available for everybody who wants their dog to be screened – you do not need to be a regular Westmoor client or a Kennel-club registered dog the to book into one of our BVA eye testing sessions, indeed many breeders travel a good distance to take advantage of the service. Clinics are held at regular intervals as advertised on our Facebook page and the BVA website.
Please telephone us on 01822 612561 if you would like to enquire about or book an eye test.
Prior to your appointment
- We will ask you to pre-pay at the time of booking to secure your appointment and allow us to process the paperwork in advance.
- We will require you to scan and email your kennel club registration document/s to us in advance of the appointment. This is to allow us to fill in the test forms prior to the appointment, to increase efficiency and reduce document transfer on the day. If this has not arrived 24 hours before you are due to come for the test with your pet then we will have to cancel the appointment; refunds will not be given in this case.
Non-Kennel Club registered dogs
- If the dog is not registered, this is as straightforward as it gets. No paperwork is necessary.
If you decide to cancel your eye test appointment, we require 48-hours notice – any less and we will not be able to offer a refund. Over 48 hours we can offer a refund less the cost of the certificate (£10.08), as it will have been prepared for you in advance of your appointment.
The Eye Scheme was established in 1966 as a means of identifying inherited and non-inherited eye conditions in dogs. It is a clinical eye examination carried out by Specialist Veterinary Ophthalmologists who have been selected for the panel.
What is hereditary eye disease?
There are many inherited eye diseases that can affect dogs. Some are congenital conditions that exist from birth; some are non-congenital (developing later in life). Many of these conditions can have serious effects on health and welfare, causing pain and or blindness, and possibly the need for lifelong medication. This should be taken into consideration when breeding.
A list of inherited eye diseases that are screened for in the eye scheme can be found here.
The routine examination
We ask you to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment for this test. This is so we can apply eye drops to dilate the pupils and enable the ophthalmologist to examine all the structures in the eye fully. These eye drops take between 20 – 30 minutes to work. After the test, the vet will issue you with a certificate, and discuss any findings with you. Most hereditary eye diseases are not present at birth but appear in adult life, so it is recommended that breeding dogs be checked annually.
Gonioscopy – The Glaucoma test
Gonioscopy is usually performed without dilating the pupil. After application of local anaesthetic drops, a special lens (goniolens) is placed on the surface of the cornea to enable the drainage angle to be visualised. The test is then repeated on the other eye. While most dogs tolerate the test well, some may need sedation for the procedure to be carried out effectively (this would incur an additional fee). Any questions that you may have about the findings will be discussed at the time.
Please click here to view the BVA information sheet on primary glaucoma and the Gonioscopy grading table.
It is possible for litters to be tested for congenital hereditary conditions when they are 5 to 12 weeks old. For more information about litter screening and which breeds are listed under the eye scheme click here.
The procedure is the same as for the routine examination. When organising and attending a litter screening, you will need to provide the following details:
- Owner details.
- Parent details.
- Number of puppies born.
- Date of any previous examinations.
- The microchip number of each puppy (all puppies being litter screened need to be microchipped before they are examined).
After the examination, you will receive a litter screening certificate with the results. The results of litter screening of Kennel Club registered dogs will also be available on the Kennel Club database.
Please note: there is a set procedure for appealing against the results of an eye examination should you wish to do so. There is a leaflet available on the BVA Website entitled “Information for Owners Leaflet”. Appeals must be lodged in writing with the BVA within 30 days of the examination.
There are many DNA tests available for various eye conditions in different breeds of dog. Most of these are available through LABOKLIN who have a license with the Kennel Club. Results are sent direct to the Kennel Club as well as to the owners and ourselves.
Most of the tests can be performed by the owners with a cheek swab/s and a kit can be ordered directly from LABOKLIN. Alternatively, we are happy to perform the tests here in a consultation (£36 incl VAT). The Kennel Club have launched a new DNA test – the CombiBreed – “One price, one swab, multiple tests”.
If I have DNA tested my dog, why do I need to have an eye test as well?
Although the list of DNA tests seems long, it is not complete for all diseases in all breeds. Both DNA testing and eye testing have limitations, so they can complement each other. Especially for a late onset disease, if a DNA test is available, we would recommend it be done. Knowledge is power! Knowing the genetic status of your dog allows you to make informed choices about mating selections and therefore avoid producing affected puppies. “Carriers” should only be bred to “Clears” for autosomal recessive diseases. However, carriers should not be dumped from the gene pool altogether, particularly where the gene pool is small. In these circumstances, “Affected” dogs can be bred from, as long as they are bred to “Clears”, so as not to narrow the gene selection further.
The Eye Testing Scheme looks for diseases that do not have a genetic test available, monitors for emerging diseases across a breed, and allows us to identify individuals with unusual diseases (for that breed) that we would advise not to breed from. It also allows the owner of the dog to discuss any treatment with an ophthalmologist, and get a recommendation for breeding options. It is especially good for polygenic (more than one gene is involved) traits such as eyelid conformation etc., for which a genetic test will never be available.
Visit the BVA website to find the most up to date price list for the Eye Testing scheme.
Here are some useful links with regards specific DNA testing in their breeds: