Frequently asked questions about pre-breeding examinations at Animal Health Services:

What should my dog be checked for prior to breeding?
Conscientious breeders obtain all appropriate health clearances on their dogs before breeding.  The most common of these tests are hip and elbow clearances, but there are a variety of other tests that may be recommended depending on the breed.

How long is the appointment?
The pre-breeding exam generally lasts around 30 minutes. OFA or PennHIP radiographs usually take about one hour.

Should I bring anything?
Any previous medical records, including general health, reproductive health and vaccination history. If the dog has been bred previously, records specific to the breedings (like progesterone test results, days bred, etc.) are very helpful. For PennHIP or OFA radiographs, we need a copy of the AKC registration certificate.

What is involved in a pre-breeding examination for a stud?
General physical examination plus checking the testicles, prostate and penis for any abnormalities. We also recommend brucellosis testing.

What is involved in a pre-breeding examination for a bitch?
General physical examination plus checking for vaginal strictures. We also recommend brucellosis testing.

Is a pre-breeding examination required before breeding?
No, but we do highly recommend it.

Can the stud/bitch’s owner require a pre-breeding examination before exposing their pet to a potential partner?
Many stud owners require a brucellosis test, but typically the exam is not required. Health clearance requirements vary widely from breed to breed.

What happens if there are negative findings during a pre-breeding examination?
It depends on what we find. Some diagnoses require breeding the dog via artificial insemination instead of natural breeding. Dogs may need antibiotics or nutritional supplements to treat other conditions.

Are the findings made public?
The results of all examinations and diagnostic tests and any treatments recommended or performed are strictly confidential. Clear results from OFA tests are posted on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website. Affected results may be posted at the owner’s discretion. At this time, PennHIP data is not publicly available.

Other testing often recommended before breeding:

The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) lists the tests that are recommended by each breed’s parent club.

Eye clearances for the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) can only be completed by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist. Please contact Animal Health Services for a referral to a specialist for this test.