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Health and Certifications

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Canine Eye Registration Foundation
"Eliminating Heritable Eye Disease in Purebred Dogs"


What is CERF?

CERF is the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, which was founded by a group of concerned purebred owners and breeders with a goal of eliminating heritable eye diseases in purebred dogs through registration, research, and education.

  • Registration
    CERF cooperates with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) to maintain a registry of purebred dogs that the ACVO Diplomats (members) examine and have found to be unaffected by major heritable eye disease.

  • Research
    CERF also maintains a research data base which consists of information that is generated by all examinations done by ACVO Diplomates. Reports generated from this resource help breeders and ophthalmologists identify trends in eye disease and breed susceptibility.

  • Education
    CERF is dedicated to educating the public on matters involving canine eye disease. CERF provides a variety of reports, the CERF newsletter and other eye disease materials to help educate the owner/breeder on heritable eye disease questions, healthy breeding stock, and breed-specific eye problems.

Why should I have my dog's eyes examined by an ACVO Diplomate?

  • An ACVO Diplomate is board certified to meet high standards of proficiency in the field of veterinary ophthalmology.

  • An ACVO Diplomate can accurately diagnose and treat any eye diseases your dog may have.

  • An ACVO Diplomate can offer breeding advice based on research and standards established by the ACVO genetics committee for a particular breed.

  • CERF and ACVO are separate, but cooperating entities. The ACVO Diplomates provide their professional services and expertise to ensure uniform standards are upheld in CERF's registration of dogs found to be free of evidence of heritable eye disease

Why is it important to get my dog registered with CERF?

  • Your dog can be identified as being registered with CERF to other interested dog breeders or buyers. Dogs can be advertised using CERF registration numbers.

  • CERF registration shows your support for the mutual goal of eliminating heritable eye disease in purebred canines, and provides your puppy buyers and other breeders with proof of your integrity and commitment to maintaining the highest quality bloodlines.

  • CERF registration contributes to the support of your national and local breed clubs, some of which require CERF registration to be in good standing.

  • CERF registration supports the American Kennel Club's (AKC) role in promoting responsible breeding and ownership. AKC is incorporating CERF registration numbers on their registration slips and certified pedigrees.

How do I register my dog with CERF?

  • After a painless examination of the dog's eyes, the ACVO Diplomate completes the examination section of the CERF form and indicates any specific disease(s) found.

  • Dogs found to be unaffected by major heritable eye disease by an ACVO Diplomate can be registered with CERF.

  • To initiate registration, the owner/breeder must complete the backside of the owner copy (pink form) of the CERF examination form and forward it, with the appropriate fee, to CERF headquarters.

  • CERF registration is good for twelve months from the examination date. Thereafter, the dog must be re-examined by an ACVO Diplomate and re-registered with CERF to maintain an up-to-date CERF number.

  • There is NO minimum age for CERF registration.

How does CERF gather its research data?

  • The research copy (white form) of the CERF examination form is sent to CERF headquarters for computer processing for every examination performed by an ACVO Diplomate, regardless of the outcome of the examination.

  • At CERF headquarters, the research copy is completed and run through a computer scanner. The computer then merges the data from the form with the data from other animals of the same breed to generate a current research report.

  • Only general information about the dog and the health of its eyes are compiled into the CERF research data base. All other information is treated strictly confidentially.

CERF Services

A variety of CERF memberships are available with benefits which include:

  • Semi-annual CERF Newsletter which covers various general topics in canine ophthalmology as well as highlighting current eye disease trends in specific breeds.

  • CERF Registration lists which provide a report of all animals in a specific breed registered during the last year.

  • Current research reports on hereditary eye disease for specific breeds or a summary of all breeds.

CERF headquarters also aids in helping you find the locations of the nearest ACVO Diplomates, or in answering other questions you may have concerning CERF or heritable canine eye diseases.

CERF is located at the Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine and is a subsidiary of the Veterinary Medical Data Base (VMDB), which compiles animal data from nearly all North American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

To register your dog with CERF or to have your canine eye health questions answered, contact CERF at:

Purdue University
W. Lafayette, IN 47907
phone (765) 494-8179
fax (765) 494-9981

General | CERF | Bouvier Reports
OFA: Overview | Cardiac | Elbows | Hips | Thyroid

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