There are several health screening schemes which can help breeders to detect some inherited diseases and DNA tests which identify the presence or absence of disease genes.

BVA/KC Health Schemes

The Kennel Club (KC) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) run health schemes for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and eye diseases which provide scientifically based expert opinion on these inherited conditions. The KC/BVA screening programmes help conscientious breeders to identify dogs that are clinically free of such diseases so that the best possible choices for breeding programmes may be made.

Hip Dysplasia Scheme

It is only necessary to hip score once for each dog in its lifetime but only after it is a year old. 

An X-ray is required for this which must be submitted by the owners vet to a KC/BVA panel which reads it and gives individual scores for each hip.  The maximum score for each hip is 53 giving a maximum total of 106 and the lower the score the better the hips.  Each breed has a Breed Mean Score (BMS), this being the average of the total hip scores. The KC encourages breeders to only breed from dogs which have a score lower than the BMS; the BMS for Irish Setters is currently 14-15.

All results are recorded on the Kennel Club database and published in the Kennel Club Breed Records Supplement and on progeny registration certificates.

http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/mateselect/test/Default.aspx

Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

It is only necessary to elbow grade once for each dog in its lifetime but only after it is a year old. 

Irish Setters are not known for elbow problems and this test is rarely carried out by breeders. An X ray is required which must be submitted by the owners  vet to a KC/BVA panel which reads it and gives individual scores ranging from 0-3.

All results are recorded on the Kennel Club database and published in the Kennel

Club Breed Records Supplement and on progeny registration certificates. 

Eye Scheme

It is recommended that eye examinations should, in general, be conducted annually. Dogs are certified either affected or unaffected for the eye conditions that are known to be inherited in the breed at the time of examination. Re-examination is important as some inherited eye conditions have a later onset.  All results are recorded on the Kennel Club database and published in the Kennel Club Breed Records Supplement and on progeny registration certificates.

 

DNA Screening Schemes

Irish Setters breeders have 3 DNA tests which are available and these give precise information as to the genetic status of dogs tested with regards to specific diseases. 

Detailed information as to how these tests work can be found in the following article:

DNA Testing and Autosomal Recessive Genes.

 

PRA rcd1 (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) rod cone dysplasia 1

Since January 1st 2010 no Irish Setter can be registered with the KC unless both its parents are either tested clear or are hereditarily clear from PRA rcd1.  Most Irish Setters in UK are now hereditarily clear and these dogs do not appear on the KC monthly updated lists of dogs tested, which explains why it seems that few breeders are testing dogs. . However, the information can be found on the individual health test results of each dog and their registration papers are clearly marked, as are progeny registration certificates

CLAD (Canine Leucocyte Adhesion Deficiency)

Since 2008 no Irish Setter can be registered with the KC unless both its parents are either tested clear or are hereditarily clear from CLA, except in special circumstances. Most Irish Setters in UK are now hereditarily clear and these dogs do not appear on the KC monthly updated lists of dogs tested, which explains why it seems that few breeders are testing dogs.  However, the information can be found  on the individual health test results of each dog and their registration papers are clearly marked.  

PRA rcd4

This test became available in August 2011 and breeders are still testing their stock and, because we have such a high carrier rate in the breed, carriers are being used for breeding, which is necessary to maintain our gene pool. It is important that all stock is tested before mating, the status of any puppy is known and that no puppies are produced that are genetically affected as they could develop rcd4 and become blind.

The results are shown on the monthly updates on the KC site providing the dog is on the KC database and Irish Setters from abroad are not usually shown. Again hereditarily clear dogs are not shown and that information can be accessed through health test results of individual dogs. 

http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/download/11673/irishsetterpra4clears.pdf

http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/download/11674/irishsetterpra4carriers.pdf

http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/download/12109/irishsetterpra4affecteds.pdf

Breeders from many countries are having their Irish Setters tested and some of these results along with some UK results can be accessed on:

http://www.seisc.co.uk/pra-rcd4

This page also gives links to Clubs in Belgium, Holland and Finland which are publishing results.

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