Reducing the Risk of Health Problems for Your Goldendoodle
Not all, but many of the conditions listed in my post last week on Health Risks on Goldendoodles are completely preventable or have significantly reduced likelihood if your breeder tests your puppy's parents for them prior to breeding.
Not all breeders are ethical or honest, so either get your puppy from a GANA certified breeder (GANA reviews all the health testing in their certification so you don't have to) or be sure to ask for and review the health testing on your puppy's parents.
Pre-breeding health clearances are not necessarily a guarantee your puppy won’t have health issues, but they have been show to significantly reduce the risk of health problems in your puppy. A few examples of this include:
PennHip scores (a test for hip dysplasia risk) have improved over the years from 0.53 to 0.49 (a lower score is better). This is due to responsible breeders breeding only dogs with healthy hips.
Trupanion Pet Insurance reported in February 2023 at the GANA Annual Education Conference that Goldendoodles that came from GANA certified breeders have no claims of hip dysplasia with Trupanion.
Trupanion also reported that Goldendoodles that came from a GANA certified breeder have less claims for eye conditions over time. At at 5, a non-GANA certified dog is over three times more likely to have an eye-related health claim.
The Trupanion statistics are based on 10 years of data from thousands of Goldendoodles.
What Pre-Breeding Health Testing is Recommended for Goldendoodles?
Periodically, GANA reviews health statistics for the breed and updates their requirements for health testing. As of this writing, the current health testing standards are as follows. You can always check the GANA site to see if there have been any updates.
Some Cautionary Notes About Health Clearances
Health clearances are risk reduction, not risk elimination. They can significantly reduce the risk of health issues in your puppy. However, your puppy is a complex, living, breathing animal and there are never 100 percent guarantees, as heartbreaking as that is.
Not all breeders understand what “health testing” means. To some, especially newer or uneducated breeders, there’s the misunderstanding that taking their breeding dogs to the veterinarian and getting a clean bill of health is sufficient to call them health tested. This is not the case. Health tested means testing that is standardized and certified, like the OFA and PennHip tests listed above.
Not all breeders are honest. Like any other profession, we have our share of shady characters. This is why you need to be sure you confirm all health testing on your puppy’s parents, whether that’s by getting a puppy from a GANA certified breeder (GANA requires submission of health testing documentation so you don’t have to) or by asking the breeder for copies of the certificates. Alternatively, a breeder can provide you with OFA numbers, and you can look up the tests in the OFA database.