Unfortunately, many eye conditions are inherited in dogs. As a way to ensure that inherited eye conditions are not further bred into the dog population, eye certification is necessary for responsible dog breeders.



What is eye certification?

Eye certification in animals is well established throughout the world, and has been performed for decades. The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) has an extensive data base derived from over 200 veterinary ophthalmologists who contribute their data to a central data base. Data from this source has provided a list of genetically inherited eye diseases which is used at the time of certification in the USA.

We are currently establishing a data base supported by the Australian National Kennel Club (ANKC).

Why do you need eye certification for dogs?

Eye certifications are commonly performed by veterinary ophthalmologists, and are often a sound investment by breeders and the pet owner. Eye certification by a specialist ophthalmologist often provides peace of mind for breeders and owners alike, especially in breeds with significant eye problems.

What breeds require eye certification

ECA can provide eye certification for all breeds of dogs. Traditionally only the common breeds and diligent breed clubs enforced eye certification.

Now we know that most breeds have been shown to have variable genetic problems associated with the eyes. Not all of these problems are significant for vision, but are still potentially genetically inherited.

We aim to minimise the number of animals that have a significant problem, or at least be able to inform our clients about what to expect if their animal has a problem.

When can eye certifications be performed?

We encourage breeders to have their puppies checked at 8 weeks of age prior to sale. This early check-up can identify congenital problems such as congenital cataracts, and collie eye anomaly. This helps the breeder identify which animals may be kept for breeding or sold as pets.

However, some problems can only be detected as the animal matures. For this reason, an examination prior to breeding as well as a yearly check-up is recommended. This is because some blinding diseases such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts and glaucoma tend to occur later on in life.

What diseases are screened for during a dog eye certification?

Some of the more common diseases we look for include:

  • retinal diseases
  • cataracts
  • entropion
  • distichiae
  • collie eye anomaly
  • retinal dysplasia
  • persistent pupillary membranes


However, there are many other abnormalities that may be apparent. We look for all types of abnormalities when we perform an eye examination.

How long does it take to get certification?

The certification is provided at the time of consultation, through an online system. A certificate will also be emailed to you.

What if you find a problem with my dog?

We will recommend the appropriate treatment and provide advice on potential breeding complications.

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