Menu Close

Health Tests For Labradors

Kennel Club Inspected Assured Breeder with a breeders licence from West Lothian council.

BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme

The main purpose of the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club (BVA/KC) Hip Dysplasia Scheme is the examination of radiographs of the hips of dogs for hip dysplasia and the issue of a certificate in respect of that examination.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a congenital disease that causes the hip joints in affected dogs to grow abnormally. This causes the joint to become loose and wobbly and eventually leads to a form of arthritis which is commonly referred to as a degenerative joint disease.

All radiographs submitted to the Hip Dysplasia Scheme are assessed by means of scoring. The hip score is the sum of the points awarded for each of the nine radiographic features of both hip joints.

The lower the score the less the degree of hip dysplasia present. The minimum (best) score for each hip is zero and the maximum (worst) is 53 giving a possible range of 0-106.

The BVA publishes a list of the Breed Mean Scores. They recommend that breeders wishing to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia should choose stock with scores well below the breed mean scores.

The Breed Mean Score for the Labrador Retriever is 14.

The main purpose of the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club (BVA/KC) Elbow Dysplasia Scheme is the examination of radiographs of the elbows of dogs for elbow dysplasia and the issue of a certificate in respect of that examination.

Elbow Dysplasia (ED) describes the abnormal development of the elbow. The term includes a number of specific abnormalities, which affect different sites in the joint. They cause problems by affecting the growth of the cartilage which forms the surface of the joint, or the structures around it. These abnormalities, called primary lesions, then start a secondary osteoarthritic process.

A grade for each elbow is calculated from the presence of the primary lesions and the size and extent of the secondary lesions. The overall grade for an animal is simply the higher of the two individual grades. The grades for each elbow are not added together as they are for the two hips in the hip dysplasia scheme.

The grading system is as follows:

0 – Normal
1 – Mild ED
2 – Moderate ED or a primary lesion
3 – Severe ED

The BVA advise breeders to select dogs with grades of 0 or 1 in order to reduce the risk of ED in their offspring.

The ANKC hip scoring scheme uses a similar scoring system to the BVA/KC scheme in the UK.

The lower the score the less the degree of hip dysplasia present. The minimum (best) score for each hip is zero and the maximum (worst) is 53 giving a possible range of 0-106.

The ANKC publishes a list of the Breed Median Scores

The ANKC elbow scoring scheme uses a similar scoring system to the BVA/KC scheme in the UK.

The grading system is as follows:

0 – Normal
1 – Mild ED
2 – Moderate ED or a primary lesion
3 – Severe ED

For over 30 years BVA (British Veterinary Association) has operated a hereditary eye disease screening program in conjunction with the Kennel Club (KC) and the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS). The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that there is no evidence of hereditary eye disease in dogs used for breeding. The scheme now covers 11 hereditary eye conditions in over 50 breeds of dogs.

There are two categories of inherited eye disease:

Congenital (present from birth)
Non-congenital (acquired later in life)
The scheme tests for the following congenital conditions:

Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV)
Retinal dysplasia
Collie eye anomaly (CEA)
Congenital hereditary cataract
And the following non-congenital conditions:

Hereditary cataract
Primary lens luxation
Generalized progressive retinal atrophy (GPRA)
Retinal pigment epithelial dystrophy
Breeders are advised to submit dogs for annual eye tests since some diseases have late onset of clinical signs.

It is also possible for litters to be tested for congenital hereditary conditions such as Collie eye anomaly and Multifocal retinal dysplasia when they are between six and twelve weeks of age.

The prcd-PRA test is a DNA-based test that helps you avoid one form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). PRA refers to a group of diseases that cause the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time. The result is declining vision and eventual blindness. “prcd” stands for “progressive rod-cone degeneration” which is the type of PRA known in several breeds.

The genetic disorder, prcd-PRA , causes cells in the retina at the back of the eye to degenerate and die, even though the cells seem to develop normally early in life. The “rod” cells operate in low light levels and are the first to lose normal function. Night blindness results. Then the “cone” cells gradually lose their normal function in full light situations. Most affected dogs will eventually be blind.

The DNA prcd test is done on a small sample of blood from the dog. The test analyzes the specific DNA mutation causing prcd-PRA. The DNA test detects the mutant, the abnormal gene copy and the normal gene copy. The result of the test is a genotype and allows the separation of dogs into three groups: Normal/Clear (homozygous normal), Carrier (heterozygous), and Affected (homozygous mutant).

Possible results using the DNA prcd test

Normal – Can be bred to any dog, extremely low risk of producing affected
Carrier – Should be bred only to Normal to remove the risk of producing affected
Affected – Should be bred only to Normal to remove the risk of producing affected

Hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK) is a condition where Affected dogs develop crusts and fissuring of the nose pad at a young age but are otherwise healthy. In severe cases, painful fissures will appear. Also known as Hyperkeratosis it is inherited as a monogenic autosomal recessive skin disease. HNPK currently cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be alleviated with symptomatic therapy. Normal: The dog carries two copies of the normal gene and will not pass over the HNPK mutation to its offspring. Carrier: The dog carries one mutant and one normal copy of the HNPK gene. The dog will pass over one copy of the mutated gene to approximately 50% of its offspring. Affected: The dog carries two mutant copies of the gene and suffers from hereditary nasal parakeratosis.

Exercise Induced Collapse is an inherited condition that affects Labrador Retriever and related breeds. Affected dogs can endure mild to moderate exercise but after 5 to 20 minutes of heavy exercise with extreme excitement, the dog shows weakness and then collapse. Severely affected dogs may collapse whenever they are exercised to this extent – other dogs only exhibit collapse episodes sporadically. Signs of EIC are not typically seen until the dog begins intense training. First symptoms are usually noted between 5 months and 3 years of age. However, it is confirmed that some affected dogs did not have collapse episodes until as late as age 10.

Skeletal dysplasia 2 is a genetic disease in Labrador Retrievers that causes an early halt in the growth of long bones. In contrast to other forms of dwarfism (pituitary dwarfism), the result is ‘disproportioned’ dogs with shortened front limbs and a raising dorsal line. Torso length and depth are not altered. Based on the latest knowledge, affected dogs do not exhibit further symptoms like malformed genitals or neuronal diseases as in pituitary dwarfism.

Centronuclear myopathy (CNM) in Labrador Retrievers is a hereditary myopathy characterized by skeletal muscle problems such as muscle weakness and exercise intolerance. It is also known as hereditary myopathy of the Labrador Retriever (HMLR).

Stargardt disease (STGD) is an inherited retinal degenerative disease that leads to visual impairment and blindness. It is caused by the degeneration of both rod and cone-type photoreceptor cells of the retina. These cells are important for vision in dim and/or bright light. Dogs affected with the condition start to show signs of the disease before they reach 10 years of age. Dilated pupils and decreased response to light are common signs.

Macular corneal dystrophy (MCD) is a hereditary disease that can affect middle-aged Labrador Retrievers. Affected dogs will develop cloudy eyes, due to an abnormal accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (carbohydrates) in their corneas (the equivalent to the windscreen of the eye). The disease is progressive, and although not painful, can cause marked visual impairment in affected dogs. The only treatment for the disease in people is surgical (corneal transplant), however, this has not yet been performed successfully in the dog for the treatment of canine MCD.

The MLPH gene codes for a protein called melanophilin, which is responsible for transporting and fixing melanin-containing cells. A mutation in this gene leads to improper distribution of these cells, causing a dilute coat colour. This mutation is recessive so two copies of the mutated gene (or “d” allele) are needed to produce the dilute coat colour.

This mutation affects both eumelanin and phaeomelanin pigments, so black, brown, and yellow dogs are all affected by the dilution. However, this effect is more pronounced in black dogs. A dilute black (BB or Bb) dog is generally known as blue, though names do vary for different breeds, such as charcoal or grey. A diluted chocolate (bb) dog is often referred to as lilac and a diluted yellow (ee) is known as champagne.

Because the mutation responsible for the dilution phenotype is recessive, a dog can be a carrier of the dilution gene and still appear to have a normal coat colour. These dogs can pass on either the full-coloured or dilute allele to any offspring. This means that two dogs that appear full-coloured can have dilute puppies. This makes DNA testing for the D-Locus an important breeding tool, whether breeding for a dilute coat or avoiding it.

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs.

The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk.

Read Our


Stephen Nixon
Stephen Nixon
About two and a half years ago I reached out to Crammondkirk Labradors for some advice in what to look for if we were to have a labrador as our first family dog. Little did we realise that Louise would introduce us to the newest member of our family just a short few months later. We were lucky in that Crammondkirk would shortly have not one, but two litters due at the same time. We visited and found an extremely professional, caring breeder who answered every single question without fail. The pups were with their mothers and both litters were full of beans and inquisitive too. A few weeks later we picked up Buddy (Crammondkirk Jackson to give him his Sunday name) - and we were (and are still) smitten. Buddy has helped us focus as a family unit through some very tough times - he's now my son's best pal, he's laid back and playful (and silent - nothing seems to faze him, well, unless you keep his favourite ball from him!). His nature is second to none - I've never seen (or had) a dog as laid back as him. Well, apart from him wanting to play with every dog he meets, which has gotten him into trouble a few times! From a tiny ball of fluff to our (now two years in) newest family member, we cannot fault the support we had at the start. We've also met a few others who have labradors from Crammondkirk locally (Buddy's brother Archie, and his cousin Arlo) - each pup turns heads and attract attention of other dog owners. Heartily recommended!
Karen Dutton
Karen Dutton
Absolutely recommend Crammondkirk Labradors this is where we got our black Labrador puppy from she has settled into her new life with us in Suffolk, she is 16 weeks old now and has started her puppy training and is doing really well , she has a fantastic temperament even at this young age , all credit to Louise at Crammondkirk, from the first time we went to view the puppies with their mum to picking her up and bringing her home was a positive and pleasurable experience, no wonder Ruby is thriving, thank you Louise .
Debra Hay
Debra Hay
We picked-up our black Labrador, Murphy, last December. He was calm and cute when we picked him up from Louise. He's been a great addition to the family, and Louise has been helpful and supportive answering any questions we have. Over the last number of months we have also been using Louise's dog walking service which Murphy is very enthusiastic about. We highly recommend getting a dog from Crammondkirk Labradors.
Carol Bassett
Carol Bassett
We bought Maud a chocolate Labrador puppy from Louise @ Crammondkirk Labradors in April 2022. Louise was brilliant throughout the whole process. We visited on several occasions, met Maud’s Mum & all her litter siblings. It was clear that these puppies were being looked after in the best possible way. We have had nothing but joy with Maud since bringing her home and would highly recommend Crammondkirk Labradors to anyone who is considering buying a puppy. …
Sharon Hoskins
Sharon Hoskins
We were looking for an older dog to join our family as we didn’t want a puppy to train. A friend recommended Crammond Kirk labs, we went to visit and fell in love instantly. Lana came to live with us when she was 7 years old, she fitted in with no problems, she is such a relaxed and happy dog with amazing manners! She is so gentle with children and any pups we meet. We meet lots of Cramond Kirk labs on our daily walks and they all seem to have a chilled vibe. Louise is always happy to help with any questions I may have and it’s lovely that Louise and Jeff walk Lana when we are working. Lana is always happy to see them. I would recommend Crammond Kirk Labradors to anyone ?
Ann Marie Carr
Ann Marie Carr
We brought our boy Murphy home 2 weeks ago now and can't believe how well settled he is. Our youngest son is autistic and Murphy has been fantastic and so calm. Best thing we ever did. Everyone we meet comments on how well adjusted he is. Louise has been so supportive and willing to give advice. I would highly recommend Louise and Crammondkirk to anyone looking for a labrador pup.
Karen M
Karen M
My beautiful lab came from here
craig rae
craig rae
After looking around for a bit I came across Crammondkirk and although other puppies were available elsewhere I just felt this was the right place and worth waiting for the puppies to arrive. I got Finlay at the end of July and feels like he’s always been here. Settled in brilliantly and has been a joy to be around. Great temperament and loves being around other dogs/people. He’s coming along fantastically thanks to the great start he had from Louise. Excellent breeder with loads of knowledge and advice which was appreciated. Information pack Louise made up was a lifesaver specially when there’s a lot going on at the start. 5+ stars and highly recommended.
Ian John
Ian John
We have recently welcomed Elsie, a black labrador puppy bred by Louise, into our home. She is an absolutely lovely dog with a wonderful, calm temperament, very sociable, a waggy tail and she loves to be loved. Louise is a breeder who is very professional, keeps her dogs in five-star accommodation, and is very happy to share her knowledge and advice. We would absolutely recommend anyone who is thinking of getting a labrador pup to contact Louise. She has a waiting list, which is testament to the the quality of the pups she raises.
Ed Bell
Ed Bell
Evie recently joined our family and has settled in so well. She has such a gentle nature and immediately got on really well with our young daughter and Floyd the cat. Walking with Evie is very easy as she’s so well behaved and she absolutely loves swimming! Louise was fantastic and gave us lots of advice. We’re looking forward to many future adventures with Evie in our family. Would have no hesitation recommending Crammondkirk Labradors. Many thanks. Ed & Katie.

Contact Us

Please contact us by phone, or by using our enquiry form.