I would like to introduce myself, my name is Dr. Dan Hogan and I have succeeded Dr. Walt Weirich as the director of the Veterinary Medical Data Base/Canine Eye Registry Foundation. These are big shoes to fill but I will work hard to maintain the excellence of VMDB/CERF. Dr. Weirich should be commended for his many years of tireless work as the director of VMDB/CERF. We have not let him get away that easy and he has agreed to continue his relationship with VMDB/CERF functioning as the executive treasurer.
This next year is very exciting for VMDB/CERF as we finalize our conversion of medical coding nomenclature format from SNOVDO to SNOMED-RT. This requires a tremendous amount of work in establishing computer programs and models that allow seamless data entry from the participating institutions. Dr. Al Hahn, Dr. Wilke and Yun Shen are working hard to make this project successful. We are also advancing the concept of "evidence-based medicine" in using our large data-base to help improve the recognition, clinical outcome and therapy of many animal diseases. This will be an area of intense work throughout the veterinary and human medical communities over the next decade.
We also have some changes at CERF for this coming year. We would like to introduce our new supervisor. Her name is Lisa Perry and she is very excited about our work here at CERF. Please take a little time to introduce yourself and welcome her when you talk to her on the phone. We at CERF, along with many other animal-registering foundations, have taken an active role in the permanent identification of animals that are registered for eye diseases. To this end, starting in February of 2001, we now require permanent identification of animals at the time of examination to receive a standard CERF number. Permanent identification is defined as either a tattoo or microchip that uniquely identifies that animal. We will continue to register non-permanently identified animals during a grace period of unknown duration. These animals will be receiving a number with the suffix -N. If the animal becomes permanently identified, then we will replace that number with a standard number at the subsequent examination.
I look forward to working with you in the future and welcome any questions or comments you have.
Q: The owner of the dog told me that the dog passed CERF exam. Why couldn't I find the information on CERF's web site?
A: Please check with the owner to see if he sent the owner's copy of the exam form to us to register the dog with CERF. If the owner did but he just mailed it to CERF recently, it will appear on the internet next month because CERF updates registration information on web monthly.
Q: How old does a dog have to be to get registered with CERF?
A: There are no age restrictions.
Q: How do I get CERF statistics on certain breeds?
A: Become a member in CERF and for $25.00 a year CERF will send you a registration report and research breakdown for one breed and also our semi-annual newsletter. You may request updated reports any time during the year. Please visit CERF's web site for details at www.vmdb.org.
|ALASKAN MALAMUTE||212||AMERICAN ESKIMO||122|
|AMERICAN LAMALESE||1||AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER||1|
|AMERICAN WATER SPANIEL||44||ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG||1|
|AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG||185||AUSTRALIAN KELPIE||3|
|AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD||642||AUSTRALIAN TERRIER||12|
|BASSET HOUND||15 ||BEAGLE||28|
|BEDLINGTON TERRIER||17||BELGIAN LAEKENOIS||7|
|BELGIAN MALINOIS||58||BELGIAN SHEEPDOG||239|
|BELGIAN TERVUREN||451||BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG||476|
|BICHON FRISE||390||BLACK RUSSIAN TERRIER||1|
|BORDER COLLIE||302||BORDER TERRIER||93|
|BOUVIER BERNOIS||1||BOUVIER DES FLANDRES||241|
|BRUSSELS GRIFFON||11||BULL TERRIER (WHITE, COLORED)||3|
|CAIRN TERRIER||57||CANAAN DOG||20|
|CAUCASIAN MTN. DOG||2||CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL||256|
|CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER||467||CHIHUAHUA||6|
|CHINESE CRESTED||54||CHINESE SHAR PEI||2|
|COCKER SPANIEL (AMERICAN)||297||COLLIE (ROUGH OR SMOOTH)||67|
|COONHOUND||11||COTON DE TULEAR||52|
|CURLY-COATED RETRIEVER||80||DACHSHUND (LONGHAIR)||23|
|DACHSHUND (SMOOTH)||11||DACHSHUND (WIRE)||7|
|DACHSHUND, MINIATURE (LONGHAIR)||12||DACHSHUND, MINIATURE (WIRE)||6|
|DOBERMAN PINSCHER||122||DOGUE DE BORDEAUX||1|
|ENGLISH COCKER SPANIEL||201||ENGLISH SETTER||19|
|ENGLISH SPRINGER SPANIEL||406||ENTLEBUCHER||33|
|FIELD SPANIEL||20||FINNISH LAPPHOUND||1|
|FINNISH SPITZ||8||FLAT-COATED RETRIEVER||155|
|FOX TERRIER, TOY||2||FRENCH BULLDOG||53|
|GERMAN PINSCHER||17||GERMAN SHEPHERD||73|
|GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER||114||GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER||11|
|GIANT SCHNAUZER||12||GLEN OF IMAAL TERRIER||6|
|GOLDEN RETRIEVER||2568||GORDON SETTER||56|
|GREAT DANE||98||GREAT PYRENEES||11|
|GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG||90||GREYHOUND||8|
|IRISH RED & WHITE SETTER||7||IRISH SETTER||32|
|IRISH WATER SPANIEL||19||IRISH WOLFHOUND||28|
|ITALIAN GREYHOUND||239||JACK RUSSELL TERRIER||151|
|JAPANESE CHIN (JAP. SPANIEL)||8||KARELIAN BEAR DOG||2|
|KEESHOND||45||KERRY BLUE TERRIER||9|
|LHASA APSO||18||LO-SZE-PUGG, AMERICAN||3|
|MANCHESTER TERRIER, STANDARD||2||MASTIFF (ENGLISH)||368|
|MI-KI||7||MINIATURE BULL TERRIER||10|
|MINIATURE PINSCHER||15||MINIATURE SCHNAUZER||145|
|NORFOLK TERRIER||24||NORTH AMERICAN SHEPHERD||61|
|NORWEGIAN BUHUND||21||NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND||45|
|NORWICH TERRIER||27||NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER||115|
|OLD ENGLISH SHEEPDOG||110||OTTER HOUND||1|
|PETITE BASSET GRIFFON VENDEEN||35||PHAROAH HOUND||3|
|POINTER||14||POLSKI OWCZAREK NIZINNY (SHEEPDOG)||38|
|POMERANIAN||11||POODLE (STANDARD, MINIATURE, TOY)||15|
|POODLE, MINIATURE||302||POODLE, STANDARD||445|
|POODLE, TOY||227||PORTUGUESE WATER DOG||768|
|RAT TERRIER||1||RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK||94|
|SCOTTISH DEERHOUND||1||SIBERIAN HUSKY||381|
|SILKY TERRIER||2||SKYE TERRIER||4|
|SMOOTH FOX TERRIER||9||SOFT COATED WHEATEN TERRIER||162|
|SPINONE ITALIANO||14||ST. BERNARD||1|
|STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER (ENG.)||22||STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER (AMERICAN)||9|
|SPINONE ITALIANO||14||ST. BERNARD||1|
|STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER (ENG.)||22||STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER (AMERICAN)||9|
|STANDARD SCHNAUZER||62||SUSSEX SPANIEL||9|
|SWEDISH VALLHUND||2||TIBETAN SPANIEL||53|
|TIBETAN TERRIER||286||TREEING WALKER||1|
|WELSH CORGI, CARDIGAN||43||WELSH CORGI, PEMBROKE||265|
|WELSH SPRINGER SPANIEL||63||WELSH TERRIER||5|
|WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER||1||WHIPPET||332|
|WIREHAIRED FOX TERRIER||1||WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON||8|
The lens in located inside the eye and is a soft, transparent structure without blood vessels (see picture below). It changes shape when small muscles pull on the lens and thus allows the eye to focus on views both near and far away. A capsule surrounds the lens and is necessary to supply shape and nutrition for the lens, as well as providing an anchor for the small muscles. A typical change that occurs in the lenses of dogs and people when they are older is called nuclear or lenticular sclerosis. This change occurs before cataracts form and typically is seen in dogs after they are 8 to 10 years old. The eyes will look gray, silver or bluish to the owner. The silver appearing color should come from the "inside" of the eye, not the surface. The surface or cornea should still appear clear and the iris or colored part of the eye should still be clearly visible (see picture).
A cataract is defined in the CERF book* as "a partial or complete opacity of the lens and/or its capsule. In cases where cataracts are complete and affect both eyes, blindness results." Cataracts are among the most common intraocular lesions and a leading cause of vision loss in the dog. Cataracts may be caused by genetics, trauma, ocular inflammation, diabetes mellitus, genetic retinal atrophy, persistent pupillary membranes, persistent hyaloid remnants, specific nutritional deficiencies, congenital abnormalities and uncommonly by other specific metabolic diseases. The size of cataracts is also highly variable. They may be very small and not affect vision, or complete and cause blindness. If they are incomplete, they may only be present in the cortex or outside layers of the lens, or in the nucleus or center of the lens. Some types of cataracts only affect the capsule, which covers the lens. In every case, however, the cataract is an opaque place in the lens. It doesn't affect vision when it is small because the dog can see around it. Recommendations published in the CERF book include, "breeding is not recommended for any dog demonstrating partial or complete opacity of the lens or its capsule unless the examiner has also checked the space for significance of the above punctate cataract unknown. The prudent approach is to assume cataracts to be hereditary except in unusual cases specifically known to be associated with other causes."
Some of the cataracts that are small at the time of diagnosis will progress until they cause complete blindness. This prediction of the behavior or progression of a disease is termed "prognosis." It is important to discuss the prognosis for the cataract diagnosed in your dog with the veterinary ophthalmologist so that you know what to expect. Some cataracts that are genetic will progress and some will not. This is dependent on the breed and where the cataract is located within the lens.
Treatment for cataracts is recommended for one of two reasons. Some cataracts will cause inflammation in the eye. This type of inflammation will cause squinting, tearing or watering of the eye, increased redness of the white of the eye, and sometimes increased squinting in the light. Your veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist should examine your dog as soon as possible because inflammation caused by cataracts can damage the eye. In some cases the damage will lead to glaucoma or retinal detachment, especially if not treated correctly. The other treatment is for blindness from cataracts. The surgery to remove cataracts is called phacoemulsification. An instrument inserted into the eye during surgery produces ultrasonic waves. The cataract is emulsified by the ultrasound and removed by aspiration. Many times a plastic lens can be placed into the eye after the cataractous lens has been removed. This replacement lens improves near vision for the dog. Surgery for cataracts can only be performed if the rest of the eye is healthy and if the dog can undergo general anesthesia. Unlike the same surgery for people, dogs must have general anesthesia for this procedure. Success rates quoted in the literature range from 90-95% restoration of functional vision 6 months after surgery.
Genetic cataracts are diagnosed in many breeds of dogs and are initially diagnosed from 2 months up to 7 years of age. The size of the cataract, whether blindness results from the cataract and the age of first diagnosis is breed dependent. Genetic cataracts will be discussed in the next newsletter.
Starting from January 1, 2001, CERF adopted a policy that a permanent identification in the form of DNA profile, microchip or tattoo will be needed for any dog to be registered. Dogs not permanently identified will continue to be CERFed; however, they will be issued a number suffix "N" indicating that the dog has no permanent identification. For example:
With permanent identification LR-54321
Without permanent identification LR-54321N
This will affect all forms with examination dates after February 28, 2001. Please notify CERF when your dog receives a permanent ID and we will update our records and re-issue a certificate.
We now offer a kennel rate for owners who are sending in 10 or more exam forms for certification that are to be sent back to one owner. This rate is $7.50 for each registration regardless of whether it is new or a re-certification. We have offered this price break to show our appreciation for those breeders who understand the importance of certifying their animals. Thanks for your concern in doing what is best for your animal as well as your breed.