New GSPCA CHIC Requirements 2014

CHIC Update [2/28/2014]

The Health & Welfare Committee proposed changes to the CHIC program to the Board at the January meeting.  The Board approved the changes which were communicated to the membership on February 24, 2014.    Due to the concern of the members over the short timeline for implementation, we have worked with OFA to make the changes effective May 1, 2014 and will allow PennHIP age guidelines in the current CHIC program to remain in effect.  The changes in the CHIC program will be effective May 1, 2014.


CHIC – Canine Health Information Center is a public registry maintained by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) to encourage breed specific health testing to benefit breeders, puppy buyers and researchers.  Parent Clubs decide on the required testing for each breed based on the common health issues.  Some tests are required to qualify for CHIC registration and some may be optional.  Optional tests are suggested for a breed when a health issue occurs in the breed, but is not common.  The OFA keeps track of all the test results listed on its site, and when a dog has undergone all the required tests, OFA assigns a CHIC number, issues a CHIC certificate to the owner, and lists the dog in a special CHIC database on the OFA site.

What CHIC is NOT?

Many breeders and puppy buyers think a CHIC number is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” – It is Not.  A CHIC number only indicates the required tests have been performed, not passed.  Breeders and puppy buyers should ask for copies of the test results or look at the OFA website for more detailed information on the results of the tests.  Responsible breeding requires the knowledge of the tests in the CHIC program and the specific requirements for each test.

What are the Different Types of Health Tests?

Most of the tests available at this time are phenotypic tests looking at the condition (phenotype) of the dog at a certain point in time.  This means the dog meets screening criteria at the time examined, and does not mean the dog could not develop other related conditions later in life.  For example the fact that a dog has been cleared for hip dysplasia does not mean it could not develop arthritis in the hips as an older dog.  A phenotypic test also does not guarantee a dog cleared for a condition does not carry the genes for that condition.  For example, it has been known that dogs cleared for hip dysplasia can produce dysplastic puppies.  With phenotypic tests, the more generations of cleared dogs behind a breeding pair, the more likely the disease causing genes have been weeded out and dogs will not produce that condition.  Breeders should use the OFA data base to research generations behind a breeding they are considering.

In recent years, the OFA has also approved the use of genetic tests which use DNA samples to reveal the genes behind a particular disease.   If a dog is cleared by a genetic test, it cannot produce that disease.  Because this is a new area and the rate of spontaneous mutations has not been determined for each test, the OFA requires every other generation be cleared by the genetic test, while the generation in between can be cleared by parentage.  (Please see the OFA site for more information on this and the appropriate forms for cleared by parentage.)

We all know other issues (epilepsy and cancer) may occur and we have no tests for these diseases at this time.

Who Should Test?

The GSPCA Board of Directors has approved required tests for CHIC because these are common and serious conditions in the breed. They are not specific to field, performance or show dogs.  All responsible breeders should be concerned with using the scientific tools we have available to eliminate these conditions and produce the healthiest German Shorthaired Pointers possible.

Why List Test Results on the OFA Data Base?

Because most tests are phenotypic tests and don’t guarantee a dog cannot produce a specific condition, it is imperative that breeders be able to research prior generations.  This was not well understood in the past, and some breeders kept the dog’s test results in a folder and produced them when the dog was to be bred.  This is not sufficient to aide breeding decisions.  In today’s world responsible breeders recognize the limitations of one generation clearances.   Responsible breeders will list their test results on the OFA data base to assist informed breeding decisions into the future.

Why did the GSPCA change the CHIC Requirements?

The original CHIC requirements were approved by the GSPCA Board in June 2006.  In 2013, The Board requested the Health & Welfare Committee review the CHIC requirements and recommend any changes. In January 2014 and Board approved the following tests effective May 1, 2014:

Required Tests:

Cardiac:  Exam (auscultation or echo) by a Board Certified Cardiologist at the Minimum age of 24 months, with results posted to the OFA site. (Phenotypic Test) The age of 24 months is a change to this requirement.  In addition, the exam must now be performed only by a board certified cardiologist.

Hip Dysplasia: OFA Evaluation at Minimum age of 24 months or PennHIP. (Phenotypic Test) No change to existing requirement.

Elbow Dysplasia: OFA Evaluation at Minimum age of 24 months.  This is a new requirement based on the rising incidence of elbow dysplasia in all sporting breeds including GSPs.  Previously elbow dysplasia had been an optional test. Elbow Dysplasia is a crippling hereditary disease. (Phenotypic Test)

Eye Exam:  Eye examination by a Board Certified ACVO Ophthalmologist annually until Age 6.  Results registered with OFA.  There is no recommended age to start as long as the eyes are open. (Phenotypic Test) No change to existing requirement.

Cone Degeneration: Optigen test results registered with the OFA.  Only one subsequent generation of two CD tested dogs may be cleared by parentage.  The following generation will have to be tested.  (Genetic Test) No change to existing requirement.

Optional Tests:

Autoimmune thyroiditis:  Evaluation by an OFA approved laboratory with results posted to the OFA site.  It is recommended that the test be repeated every two years. (Phenotypic Test)

Von Willebrands Disease: Clearance using the vWD Type 2 genetic test from VetGen with results posted to the OFA site. (Genetic Test)

A special note about Lupoid Dermatosis (LD).  In June 2013 the GSPCA Board of Directors reviewed information from a retest of dogs previously tested for LD by cheek swab.  Because some of the different results obtained from the blood sample retest have not been explained and because the results of the LD research have not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the Board has taken a neutral position on this test at this time.  Breeders need to consult with PennGen at the University of Pennsylvania to determine the usefulness of this test for their breeding programs.  (Please see the Members Section of the GSPCA web site for more information.)

How Will the New Requirements Affect a Dog Already Listed on CHIC?

Dogs meeting the CHIC requirements previously will continue to be listed on CHIC. 
As of May 1, 2014 OFA will automatically add the new changes (elbow dysplasia, the age requirement for cardiac clearance and the requirement to use a cardiologist for cardiac clearance) into their system to issue a CHIC number and certificate.

GSPCA Health & Welfare Committee - 2014

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