Now that Ollie is done with his puppy shots, licensed, neutered, chipped, akc registered, etc... I'm exhausted! 

Still, I want to plan ahead for my little monkey man (he loves to climb and is very mischevious!) and was wondering if someone could explain 1) what exactly are and 2) when/where/how to check for hip dysplasia, PennHip, PRA and any other genetic diseases I need to look out for or having Ollie tested for? 

I know some of those tests are a while away but I'd still like to know beforehand so I'm prepared! I'm glad to report that he's a very healthy boy and neither of his parents have any sign of health problems or genetic disease... I'm just considering testing anyway!


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Hi Ollie, Hip Dysplasia, PennHip, DM :) You can locate a specialist in your area.
Hi! Most people only test if they are going to breed; if symptoms show up later on, then tests can be done. If you want to have hips checked, it normally needs to be done under some sort of sedation, and I believe dogs can't get OFA tested for hips til they are 2 years old and done growing.
Yes, 2 years old is the typical age the hip tests are done. However, recent studies suggest that PennHIP especially can be surprisingly accurate younger if done correctly, and I know a Lab show breeder who just bred a dog on a "preliminary" OFA test (says she's done it before and the 2 year old results are always the same as the 1 year old results. I would agree with Beth though, I don't hip/elbow test my pet dogs unless I plan to do some serious agility with them or something. Then I would because Agility is a tough sport.
Sort of an aside, but I know more than one Corgi breeder who mutters unmentionables about OFA in regards to Corgi hips, while feeling more confident about PennHip.
I've heard the same. ;) (in Corgis, not Aussies... at least not yet, ha!)
thank you for the info & links! I'm going to call my vet soon and hear his suggestions as well -- will post what he says!

First of all, it's wonderful that you're planning on getting him tested.

Except for PRA - and you should ask his breeder for his parents' PRA status, because she should know - the others are of somewhat limited value when it comes to what you actually care about (whether he can be a normal active corgi). Because corgis are dwarfed, they bear weight differently and their joints and bone structure are weird. So the rules that we follow with longer-legged dogs are not necessarily applicable to these little guys.

As breeders, we typically test in order to push our dogs in one direction or the other (toward tighter hips, for example), but we're honestly doing that without a lot of information about how tighter or looser hips actually affect the dog. For that reason I don't want to recommend that you put a huge amount of pressure on yourself that he "pass" something.

If I were you, I'd let him grow up happy AND THIN. That's the best thing you can possibly do for him, and that's supported by a lot of good science. Keep him not just sleek but light and tight. Then, when the time comes that he needs anesthesia for something else, like a tooth cleaning or a cut toe or something, ask them to x-ray his hips. You don't need an OFA-perfect film to know if they're basically OK or basically disastrous. PennHIP, which is another method of assessing hips, is very expensive right now and will REALLY confuse you - you don't get a pass or fail with PennHIP but rather an assessment of where your dog is in relation to the rest of the breed. Again, that can be helpful for a breeder interested in pushing her dogs toward greater tightness in the hips, but a "low" score in a Pem doesn't mean that they can't live happily and pain-free forever.

DM testing is a big controversy in all breeds right now. I can pretty much guarantee you that he's either a carrier or at risk, because almost all Pems are. At this point there's absolutely nothing we can advise you to do to prevent or delay the onset of the disease, because we don't know the disease trigger. The average age of onset in Pembrokes is 11-12 years. So the question for me would be what you'd do with the knowledge - would it be for his breeder? For your own knowledge? If it's just for you, you can wait to test until we have more information; you have a good decade before you'd need to act on it.

thank you so much! That was very helpful all around :) I'm going to contact her and check in all these things! Ollie seems just fine so it's good to know I won't have to worry about these things for a while now. I'm just planning on putting some extra money aside each month in the mean time for an emergency fund for him. I'd love to hear your thoughts on pet insurance?? And any other advice you'd like to through my way would be very much appreciated!

I just looked at your website -- you're merles are absolutely stunning! Maybe when it's time for our next Corgi.. :)


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