The SDCA recommends that the following health tests be done on Deerhounds:
Echocardiogram: Inherited heart defects are rare in Deerhounds, but they do occur. It is recommended that every Deerhound used for breeding should have a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) to make sure the dog is free from subaortic stenosis, septal defects, and other heart defects. Dogs with heart defects should not be bred, and the breeding that produced a heart defect should not be repeated. A cardiac ultrasound will also determine whether dilated cardiomyopathy or other heart disease is present at the time of the test.
Factor VII: The Factor VII status of all breeding stock should be known. Clear Deerhounds can be bred to any Deerhound. Carrier or affected dogs should only be bred to clear dogs. Owners of affected bitches should discuss with their veterinarian possible complications that could arise from breeding an affected bitch.
Portosystemic (liver) shunt: All breeding stock should be checked for a liver shunt with a bile acid test. If the dog wasn’t tested as a puppy, then a test should be run before breeding. Click here for more information on liver shunt testing.
Factor VII: Breeders should be able to give puppy buyers information on whether or not their puppy has the potential to be affected with this condition.
Portosystemic shunt: Breeders should screen all of their puppies for liver shunt using a bile acid test before they go to their new homes. Click here for more information on liver shunt testing.
Cardiac auscultation: All puppies’ hearts should be listened to by a veterinarian, using a stethoscope, to check for heart defects before they go to their new homes.
More information on all of these health problems may be found on the “Health Issues” pages of this web site.
Cardiac clinics are a relatively inexpensive way to have your dog’s heart checked. The SDCA runs a cardiac clinic annually at its national specialty. If you can’t make the specialty, the Cavalier Health Fund has a comprehensive list of health clinics on its web site.
The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) maintains a list of labs that run the DNA test for Factor VII in Deerhounds. Just select our breed and “Factor VII Deficiency” in the drop-down menus.
This test is usually offered at a discounted rate at the SDCA national specialty.
Many labs do bile acid testing, so you can use any lab that runs the test unless you want to get CHIC certification (not to be confused with our CHIC DNA bank—they are two completely separate things) on your dogs. If you want to get CHIC certification, only bile-acid test results only IDEXX, Antech, and veterinary college laboratories will be accepted. Results from in-house testing done at private veterinary clinics, even if run using equipment and/or kits from IDEXX, will not be accepted.
More information on the Deerhound CHIC program can be found here.