BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Screening Scheme

Beagle and eye

How are eye conditions inherited?

How an eye condition is inherited varies dramatically. Some eye conditions may be controlled by a number of different genes, as well as environmental factors. Others may be entirely controlled by just one gene and some may not be inherited at all.

Why screen your dog?

Breeders can screen their breeding stock for known and emerging inherited diseases before the dogs are bred from. Testing all potential breeding stock allows breeders to better understand the genes a dog may pass on to its puppies and reduce the risk of inherited diseases appearing in future generations.

When to screen your dog

Puppies

For breeds with inherited disease that can be detected soon after birth (congenital and neonatal disease) we would advise you to screen the puppies as part of a litter screening, usually between 6 and 12 weeks of age.

Older dogs

Adult dogs should be examined under the eye scheme before they are used for breeding, this should be carried out within 12 months before mating; especially in the breeds in which inherited eye disease can develop later in life.

Senior dogs

A final examination, at reduced cost, should take place in all dogs that have been used for breeding when they have reached 8 years of age.

Is eye screening relevant to my breed?

Find out which health tests or schemes are recommended for your breed on our Breeds A to Z. These recommendations are suggested by breed clubs and approved by The Kennel Club's committees.

Although any dog can be examined for eye disease, the BVA/KC Eye Scheme does provide a list of conditions that are known to be inherited in particular breeds. Find out more on our inherited eye disease list.

The BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme

The BVA/KC/International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) Eye Scheme offers breeders the opportunity of screening for inherited eye disease by examination of the eye. Examination under the eye scheme is not restricted to the identification of inherited eye disease, but also includes general assessment of the health of the eye and adnexa (eyelids, tear ducts and other parts around the eye ball).

How to find and book an eye test

Eye panellists appointed by the British Veterinary Association can carry out eye tests and can issue certificates under the scheme. Owners make an appointment with one of the eye panellists directly, or through their own veterinary surgeon. Often, breed clubs will arrange for a BVA panellist to attend their shows. This enables many dogs to be examined on one occasion at a reduced rate.

Find a list of health testing clinics near you.

What you need to bring with you

Owners of dogs registered with The Kennel Club must have the relevant documents with them at the time of testing to qualify for an eye test under the scheme. Wherever possible, any previous eye certificates issued for the dog should also be provided.

Who gets a copy of the certificate?

The panellist will examine the dog, issue an eye certificate and inform the owner of the result at the time of examination. Copies of the certificate are distributed to the owner, the owner’s veterinary surgeon, the BVA and the examining eye panellist.

Recent changes to the scheme

Following consultation with the Eye Panel Working Party, The Kennel Club (KC) and British Veterinary Association (BVA) announced a number of changes to the KC/BVA/International Sheepdog Society (ISDS) Eye Scheme, effective from 1 January 2020.

The following questions and answers are in response to these changes.

1. Why was schedule B removed?

After assessing the format of the scheme the Eye Panel Working Party, which includes representatives from the BVA and The Kennel Club, it was agreed that schedule B no longer served a reasonable purpose. We now have improved ways to more effectively monitor eye conditions in all breeds with the Canine Health Scheme annual sightings report, which has run alongside the scheme for five years now. This provides continual surveillance of the incidence of any new and emerging conditions in any breed, which will assist breeders in making sensible breeding decisions that promote good dog health.

2. Should I still screen my dog for eye conditions if they have been removed from schedule B?

Of course The Kennel Club and BVA encourage routine testing for dogs of any breed, regardless of whether they are used to breed from or not, as any abnormalities will be collated into the annual sightings report. This report will then be reviewed annually by the Eye Panel Working Party, allowing continued monitoring of the incidence of any conditions all breeds. Should there be an apparent prevalence of a particular condition this will be reviewed by the group, and potentially added to a list of inherited eye disease (previously known as schedule A).

3. Do all eye test results of dogs registered with The Kennel Club now appear on the Health Test Results Finder?

Yes. Previously only results of breeds which appeared on either schedule A or B would be published in the Breed Record Supplement or on The Kennel Club's Health Test Results Finder. Now any dog registered with The Kennel Club presented for testing will have the results published encouraging more breeders to test their dogs prior to breeding.

4. How do I know if my breed has being moved onto the list of inherited eye disease (previously known as schedule A)?

The breed health co-ordinators of any affected breeds have been informed about the changes by the health department at The Kennel Club, with the request to share this update with their breed. The information has been posted in relevant health and breeding social media groups, and on The Kennel Club and BVA websites. If you are unsure, please email The Kennel Club health team 

5. What do the panel consider before adding a breed onto the list of inherited eye disease (previously known as schedule A)?

A number of factors are taken into consideration, these may include the number of cases that are seen by the panellists, the number of dogs of that breed that have been examined, the numerical popularity of a breed and the severity or nature of the condition. A breed will only be added if the panellists agree that the condition presents a risk to the health of that breed.

6. How does the sightings report work?

Whenever a BVA panellist spots an eye condition or abnormality they send a report regarding this to a central contact within the BVA. This information is then collated into a report which is reviewed on a regular basis at a meeting of all the Eye Panel Working Party (consisting of eye panellists, the BVA and The Kennel Club) who will discuss the findings. Should the abnormality be apparent in a number of dogs, they will recommend various actions - including further research into the breed or the condition, which may also lead to the breed or its condition being added to the list of inherited eye disease (previously known as schedule A).

7. Is the sightings report available online?

The sightings report is a research document and as such is not readily available outside of the Eye Panel Working Party, but should your breed have a breed health and conservation plan, these reports are included within the evidence base. You can contact your breed health co-ordinator to request a version. The sightings report effectively acts as an early warning system and means that the specialists can fully investigate the condition and its severity and/or its relevance to a breed population over time.

8) Why are test results no longer being referred to as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, but rather ‘affected’ or ‘unaffected’?

The terms ‘affected’ and ‘unaffected’ have been in use for some time but The Kennel Club is aware that some owners consider health screening results as a straightforward ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ - however, subsequent breeding decisions are rarely that simple. All health screening provides information to breeders to enable them to make sensible breeding choices when selecting which animals to breed from. In the past, a large number of animals may have been excluded from breeding programmes for having a known heredity defect which may actually be of limited significance to the breed - indeed using the knowledge gained from screening, such an animal could contribute significantly to a breed gene pool with no risk of passing the condition on to its offspring. It’s important that breeders consider all aspects of a dog and its health, and the contribution that it could make to a breed when deciding to have a litter of puppies.

More about the scheme

For further information on the scheme, please visit the BVA website.

Costs

Cost of submissions includes a 15% discount for assured breeders and reduced costs for older dogs.

Scheme costs

Routine eye examination

Cost (ex. VAT) per dog

Cost (inc. VAT) per dog

First dog

£50

£60

Extra dogs in same ownership

£45

£54

Group testing (25 or more)

£35.83

£43

Examination of dogs over 8 years

£28.33

£34

Gonioscopy per dog - separate examination

£50

£60

Gonioscopy performed at same time as a routine examination

£45

£54

Repeat gonioscopy (presenting previous certificate) 10% off current price

 

 

Separate examination

£45

£54

Performed as same time as routine

£39.17

£47

POAG

£50

60

 

Litter screening (5 to 12 weeks) All dogs must be microchipped

Cost (ex. VAT) per dog

Cost (inc. VAT) per dog

1 to 3 puppies

£30.83

£37

Per puppy thereafter

£10

£12

Duplicate copy of certificate

£31.67

£38

Results

Any dog registered with The Kennel Club presented for testing will have the results sent to The Kennel Club for inclusion on computer records, our Health Test Results Finder and printing in the Breed Records Supplement.

An individual dog’s results can be found on our Health Test Results Finder.

Which results are recorded?

The names and results (“clinically affected” or “clinically unaffected”) of dogs registered with The Kennel Club will be sent to us for recording on our database.

The eye scheme currently relates to conditions involving the eye itself and not those involving the adnexa (eyelids, tear ducts and other parts around the eye ball). Therefore, only hereditary eye conditions of the eye are recorded as clinically affected or clinically unaffected, whilst adnexal conditions such as entropion, ectropion, distichiasis and dry eye, for example, are not. These latter conditions are of importance, but because of their complex nature and the lack of scientific evidence relating to the exact mode of inheritance, they are not included in the scheme at present.

How your data helps breed research

Many other potentially inherited conditions are also being assessed and the information gathered from routine eye examinations is collated and analysed from "sighting reports" (completed by the eye panellist). In this way, any emerging inherited condition can be detected early and dealt with properly before it becomes more widespread. Once the inherited nature of the condition has been confirmed it is moved onto a list of inherited eye disease. Similarly if a condition is not noted in the breed for at least five years it may be removed from this list.

Find a dog's eye scheme results

Our Health Test Results Finder can help you find any published results from the BVA/KC Eye Screening Scheme that we record. This tool can help you make informed decisions, whether you're a breeder trying to find a suitable healthy mate for your dog, or a puppy buyer wanting to know more about the health of a puppy's parents. 

Breeding advice

In general, we recommend that you should not breed from dogs affected by known inherited eye conditions, but it is accepted that other factors, such as the relevance of the inherited condition to the dog’s well-being and the breed’s genetic diversity may also come into play.

If a dog is found to be affected, it is recommended that you seek breed-specific and condition-specific breeding advice from the eye panellist at the time of examination, your own veterinary surgeon, The Kennel Club's health team, or the BVA canine health scheme staff.

Making balanced breeding decisions

As well as considering the implications of a dog’s eye test results, there are other equally important factors to consider when deciding whether two dogs should be mated together, such as e.g. temperament, genetic diversity, conformation, other available health test results and general health. Clearly those conditions which are painful, or may cause the dog to go blind, or require surgical correction or long term medical therapy, should be regarded as important to eliminate from a breed. Your breeding decisions should always be well balanced and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.

Questions and answers

Are my dog's results published?

The names and results of dogs registered with The Kennel Club will be sent to The Kennel Club for recording on our database and will be made available:

Can the results of the scheme be used to predict accurately if future puppies will be affected?

Some inherited conditions have such a characteristic presentation that they can be diagnosed with a high degree of certainty on clinical examination. The parallel and complimentary use of DNA tests, when they are available, enables breeders to devise safe breeding programmes for single gene mutations; the challenges are greater with more complex modes of inheritance.

What summary statistics are held on the eye scheme?

Statistics on the number of dogs examined under the eye scheme and summary results of the examination can be accessed in our eye scheme breed-specific information.