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Clearvu Golden Retrievers: Healthy Pups Through Health Testing

Clearvu Kennels prioritizes long-term breed health by utilizing genetic testing. We believe responsible breeding means ensuring only healthy traits are passed down to future generations. That's why EVERY Golden Retriever at Clearvu undergoes joint and genetic testing for several important health conditions.

We follow the recommendations of the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), performing:

Joint Health Testing:

Eye Health Testing (Annual ACVO Exam):

Cardiac Evaluation (Yearly Exam):

In addition to joint evaluations, we utilize GenSol genetic tests to screen for:

  • Ichthyosis (ICT-A): This rare skin disorder affects the outer layer's development. Early signs include hairless, red skin that develops scales and wrinkles. While manageable, the condition worsens with age. Genetic testing allows responsible breeding to minimize its occurrence. (We have just started testing for this skin condition due to the surge of the condition in Golden’s breed)

Lastly, due to the high percentile of Golden Retrievers that come down with cancer, we monitor our lines for this disease. At Clearvu we can proudly say we have not had ANY of our goldens come down with cancer before the age of 12 (mean diagnosis age is 8.8). After that age, we have seen an increase in cancer diagnoses. 


What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is influenced by nutrition, environment, activity, growth rate, muscle mass, and hormone levels. Because this condition is more common in large breed dogs, puppies must be kept at a normal, lean weight during development, rather than being overfed or encouraged to grow huge.

Hip dysplasia is a gradual and permanent illness. It typically appears at two separate stages in a dog's life. The first occurs during skeletal immaturity when dogs are between 6 and 14 months old, loose hips primarily cause these indications. The second stage occurs when canines attain skeletal maturity (4 and 8 years old); these symptoms are primarily caused by osteoarthritis. 

Different severities of hip dysplasia
Severities of Hip Dysplasia - VCA Animal Hospital

Hip dysplasia is diagnosed with a pelvic radiograph, in which vets will examine the hip socket (acetabulum) with the head of the femur to assess whether there is a normal fit or if there is a secondary arthritic change. Once OA is identified on a radiograph, dysplastic alterations are permanent and typically progress over time.

To learn more we highly recommend reading the article linked below:


What is Elbow Dysplasia?

Elbow Dysplasia graphic
Source - Parnell Living Science

Elbow dysplasia is a disorder characterized by improper bone growth and/or development that changes the function of this joint, resulting in abnormal weight distribution, discomfort, and arthritis—all of which impact a dog's ability to bend, run, and play. Elbow dysplasia is more common in younger, larger-breed dogs.

Elbow dysplasia cannot be cured, although it can be effectively controlled. With surgery and proper medical care, many dogs' conditions can be managed and have a favorable long-term.

To learn more we highly recommend reading the articles linked below:


What is an Annual ACVO Eye Exam?

OFA CAER exams are ophthalmic examinations that must be performed by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) to determine whether a dog has an observable inherited eye disease. Dogs with normal exam results will be issued OFA eye certification numbers that are good for a year. To ensure healthy puppies, any ethical dog breeders will perform routine health examinations which include eye certifications.

To learn more we highly recommend reading the articles linked below:


What is a Cardiac Evaluation?

Cardiac testing is crucial because it can detect both congenital (heart malformations) and adult-onset heart disease, which develops later in life. To exam the heart for this certified vets use auscultation, which involves listening to the sounds of the heart with a stethoscope, more specifically the vet listens to the heart valves (subaortic area, ascending aorta, pulmonary artery, and craniodorsal cardia base). Because cardiac disease can emerge later in life, these tests are valid for a year.

The OFA maintains two cardiac databases: Basic Cardiac Database and Advanced Cardiac Database. These tests assess whether a dog is phenotypically normal. Dogs are considered normal if they have no cardiac murmur or if they have an "innocent heart murmur" that appears normal following an echocardiographic examination and Doppler testing. 

At Clearvu we perform echosonagrams to ensure cardiac health. This test is similar to an ultrasound in that it works in the same way but creates a picture of the heart instead of, the most common ultrasound form, the stomach. This test shows how blood flows throughout the heart and the heart valves.

To learn more we highly recommend reading the articles linked below:


What is Ichthyosis-A?

Ichthyosis is an extremely rare skin disorder in dogs caused by a genetic mutation. The mutation inhibits the outer layer of the skin from growing normally. This is an inherited condition and the genetic mutation that causes sickness which has been identified in various breeds. In some breeds, signs of ichthyosis can occur at a young age, with hairless skin on the bottom turning red and subsequently producing a brown scale and a wrinkly appearance. By the time the dog reaches adulthood, its underbelly is covered in brown scales, with white-to-tan scales showing in hairy places.

When a scaling skin disorder first appeared in Golden Retrievers, in the 1990s, it was often mistaken as seborrhea, which causes scaling and dandruff. Over a decade later, veterinary specialists have identified the condition as unique to Golden Retrievers. Even more recently, geneticists discovered the underlying mutation and created a DNA test to distinguish between affected and carrier dogs.

Ichthyosis is a chronic condition with no cure. Once a dog has been identified with ichthyosis, the symptoms can be managed using medicated shampoos and rinses that are used regularly to minimize itching while also maintaining skin hydration and barrier function. The condition progresses with age, and some dogs are more badly affected than others. Unfortunately, badly damaged pets may have to be euthanized owing to disease.

To learn more we highly recommend reading the articles linked below:


Genetic testing allows us to make informed breeding decisions to minimize the risk of these conditions in future generations of Clearvu Golden Retrievers.

Two Golden Retriever Females
Clearvu's Blossom and Dove (mother and daughter)

Building a Healthier Future for Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever Mother w her pup
Clearvu's Blossom and Dove

By prioritizing comprehensive genetic testing, we aim to breed Golden Retrievers less susceptible to these health concerns. This commitment ensures not only the physical well-being of our puppies but also contributes to a healthier Golden Retriever gene pool for future generations.

Looking for a Golden Retriever puppy? 

Contact Clearvu today to learn more about our breeding philosophy and available litters. Remember, a healthy puppy starts with responsible breeding!


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