The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is an organization that was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog’s lives were being affected by heritable eye disease. CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of reducing the incidence of heritable eye diseases in purebred dogs by forming a centralized, national registry. Since then, CERF has collaborated with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) (link to OFA website) who offer various databases of health issues and who also have a CERF database.
Regardless of the outcome of the dog’s exam, the research copy of the CERF form will be sent to the CERF office where its information will be entered into the database for that specific breed. This data is useful in researching trends in eye disease and breed susceptibility. The information will also be used in generating research reports but the individual dog’s identity will become confidential and will never be released unless the owner of the dog submits their owner’s copy of the CERF form with the appropriate fee. In this case the results will be published on both the CERF registry and OFA’s database.
The ophthalmology examination is non-invasive, painless, inexpensive and easily performed on the dogs yet the results are vital to the future eye health in all breeds.
Cavaliers, as a breed, do not have a tendency towards many debilitating eye diseases but in order to keep it this way, it is important that Cavaliers have their eyes cleared by an ophthalmologist who is a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).
Some of the eye diseases that have been found in Cavaliers who should not be bred:
- Cataracts / Juvenile Cataracts – surgery available
- Retinal Dysplasia / Geographic Retinal Dysplasia
- Cherry Eye – surgery available but care must be taken as to what form of surgery is performed. Taking out the Cherry Eye can cause dry eye later on. Tacking down the Cherry Eye is the surgery of choice but sometimes it is not successful. A regular veterinarian is able to perform this type of surgery although an ophthalmologist can also do the surgery at a higher cost.
Some of the minor eye issues that are breeder’s choice with regard to breeding:
- Retinal Folds
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Y Suture Cataracts
- Cataracts of undetermined source
CKCSC Health Registry, 5+ Year Clear Heart
CKCSC Open Health Registry
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA): http://www.offa.org
Canine Eye Registration Foundation CERF: http://www.vmbd.org/cerf.html