OFA Cardiac Screening Changes: Implications for German Shorthaired Pointers

As of April 1, 2016, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) changed/expanded its program for cardiac clearances in conjunction with the ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine). The new program is called the Advanced Cardiac Database.

At this time these changes will not affect the GSPCA cardiac requirements for CHIC adopted in 2014.

The OFA changes for the Advanced Cardiac Database involve the following:

  • All screening tests to be performed by a Board Certified Cardiologist. (already adopted by GSPCA in 2014)
  • A more comprehensive screening protocol for both congenital and adult onset cardiac diseases. That is, dogs would be screened by auscultation or echocardiogram at an early age for congenital diseases and then with on-going screenings later in life for adult onset diseases.
  • The screening for congenital diseases (like the GSPCA current screening at 24 months) would remain valid for the life of the dog, but screenings for adult onset diseases would be valid for one year (similar to eye exams). This addresses the issue that in many breeds the significant cardiac problems occur later in life and are not revealed by one time only screening .
  • All screening tests will be done using a three copy form, with the third copy sent to OFA for anonymous data collection (similar to eye exams).

The most recent data on adult onset cardiac disease in GSPs is from our 2005 breed survey.  It indicated diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or valvular diseases are not as prevalent as subaortic stenosis which is congenital. Our 2014 online survey also indicated less concern among breeders about the adult onset diseases. However, the hard data is 11 years old, and some of these diseases may now be more prevalent.  We are not planning to change our current CHIC requirements. We need to obtain more data about these adult onset cardiac diseases in our breed.

In the meantime, GSP breeders may want to use these new adult onset disease protocols to more closely monitor their breeding stock on a voluntary basis and for their own information. Some situations where this might provide useful information to breeders are:

  • Frequently used sires who have a disproportionate impact on the GSP gene pool;
  • Planned breedings with sire and dam over age 5;
  • Lines of GSPs that have experienced some adult onset diseases;
  • Breeders who wish to demonstrate their breeding stock is clear from these adult onset diseases.

The OFA announcement of the new Advanced Cardiac Database can be found at: http://www.ofa.org/pdf/ACA_Announcement.pdf.

For more reading about congenital and adult onset diseases in GSPs see: http://www.gspca.org/Health/Articles/Rationale-for-change-in-CHIC-Cardiac-Requirement.html

Address general questions to ofa@offa.org . Address GSP specific questions to health@gspca.org.

Health and Welfare Committee, April, 2016





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