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Why do we test?

We do testing on our dogs so we can determine who is a good candidate to build our program to it's highest potential and to help assure buyers that the puppy they receive from us is as sound as possible. Some of the diseases we test for include Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Degenerative Myopathy, Hereditary Cataracts, and Multiple Drug Resistance. We also have our breeding dogs evaluated for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, and eye conditions (done by a certified canine ophthalmologist.) New possible genetic conditions are discovered periodically. We will test for those as we deem necessary to the well being of the breed.

How do these diseases affect Miniature American Shepherds?

Progressive Retinal Atrophy
"Progressive Rod Cone Degeneration - Progressive Retinal Atrophy". This disease requires two copies of a mutated gene to affect a dog's eyesight. It causes a dog's retinas to degenerate over time, eventually blinding the dog. All of my Miniature American Shepherd breeding dogs are tested for prcd-PRA. We do everything we can to make sure this disease is eliminated from our breed.

Degenerative Myopathy
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a disease that requires two copies of the gene mutation to affect a Miniature American Shepherd's health. Miniature American Shepherds with two copies of the mutated gene are more likely to develop the disease, which affects the spinal cord and destroys cells that send and receive messages from the brain. Symptoms start with difficulty walking and progress until the Miniature American Shepherd cannot walk or control its bladder. Dogs usually do not develop degenerative myelopathy until they are about 8 years old. We began testing our breeding dogs for DM beginning in 2015. If we are unsure of a parent dog's clearance for DM we will test before breeding.

Hereditary Cataracts
Dogs with one or two copies of the HSF4 Gene mutation, sometimes referred to as "HC", are more likely to develop juvenile cataracts than dogs that do not have any copies of the gene mutation. All of our Miniature American Shepherd breeding dogs are tested for the HSF4 gene mutation. 

Multiple Drug Resistance
MDR1 is a condition that is manageable but can have fatal results on the Miniature American Shepherd. Several of the herding dog breeds are genetically susceptible to adverse drug reactions when exposed to many different drugs because of a mutation of the MDR1 gene.The most serious adverse drug reactions involve several antiparasitic agents (ivermectin, milbemycin and related drugs), the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium), and several anticancer drugs (vincristine, doxorubicin, others). Exposure to these drugs can cause serious lifelong neurological problems or even death. We test ALL of our dogs for this condition and encourage you to do so as well. We also encourage you to keep the list of problem drugs on hand as well as give a copy to your veterinarian. You can find the most current list of these drugs at

Hip Dysplasia/Elbow Dysplasia/Patellar Luxation
We have our breeding dogs x-rayed around the age of 2 and results are submitted to OFA for public viewing. We will no longer breed a dog if his/her hip results have a less than "GOOD" rating with OFA. We also require either an OFA or PennHip radiological report on all of the dogs we sell as show/breed/co-own prospects before they are used for breeding. This cost is the responsibility of the buyer. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Eye conditions 
All of our breeding dogs (including co-owns) and show/breed dogs are required to have an CAER examination by a certified canine ophthalmologist before they are bred. This exam must show they are currently clear of any eye conditions. We do not do a CAER on all puppies unless our veterinarian observes an eye anomaly during their puppy checks but our buyers are encouraged to do so.