The Kennel Club (KC) has approved a new health testing programme for brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing for deafness in Dalmatians.
Many Dalmatian breeders screen their litters using BAER testing to ascertain the hearing status of the puppies in a litter.
There are a number of specialist centres in the UK that offer this screening and each dog screened is issued with a veterinary certificate stating the dog’s hearing status as either normal, unilateral hearing loss or bilateral hearing loss.
The KC has been working with the Dalmatian breed clubs to establish an official BAER testing health programme for the breed, with the aim that the individual testing centres will eventually forward tested dogs’ results directly to the welfare group.
Caroline Kisko, KC Secretary, said: “Responsible Dalmatian breeders have been testing their dogs for years, and we are pleased to be able to offer a means of centralising the data obtained through this testing.
“The more results recorded, the clearer the picture will be as to the hearing status of Dalmatians in the UK. This can help owners to identify if their dog may need special care or training requirements and could help develop tools to enable breeders to make sensible breeding decisions in the future.”
Results for dogs tested, which meet the approved programme criteria, can be recorded now and owners are encouraged to submit copies of the certificates directly to the KC.
The programme criteria and process are as follows:
- For publication, all participating dogs will need to be KC registered and microchipped (prior to screening).
- The microchip of individual dogs will be scanned prior to screening to verify the correct dog is being screened.
- The actual screening protocol will be determined by the individual screening centre, which will issue its usual veterinary certificate for the tested dog.
- As soon as possible, individual centres will send copies of all test certificates directly to the KC for addition to the tested dog’s registration database.