Why Health Test?
by
Paige E. Johnson, Ph.D.
March 25, 2012
(Revised September 17, 2022)

Paige and Sharon Johnson love the Mastiff Breed. All of their Mastiffs are family members who live in their home, not in a kennel. All puppies are born in the Johnson’s home and live there until they are placed in “Loving Homes”.

As scientists, Paige and Sharon love the breed and go the extra mile to test their breeding stock (moms and dads) to ensure the betterment of the breed and the genetic soundness of the offspring. Genetic outcome is a statistical probability that can be narrowed by genetically testing the parents prior to breeding. The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Database is jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). This database has been gathering OFA animal testing data since the 1966. It can be accessed online at ofa.org. Since 1966 CHIC has issued sequential CHIC Numbers on tested dogs passing OFA’s recommended health tests. Seven generations of Johnson Farms Mastiffs Dogs’ test data appear in this database such as, but not limited to:

  1. CHIC No. 4949 (Princess Summer) 1st Generation with 2 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  2. CHIC No. 6967 (J. FARMS Princess Sundance) 2nd Generation with 4 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  3. CHIC No. 20190 (JFARMS Mr. Big Stuff) 3rd Generation with 10 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  4. CHIC No. 77716 (JFARMS Lady Big Stuff) 4th Generation with 10 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  5. CHIC No. 102618 (JFARMS Centerfold) 5th Generation with 11 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  6. CHIC No. 132468 (JFARMS Amber Sundance) 6th Generation with 19 CHIC Database relatives shown;
  7. CHIC No. – TBD because currently too young to complete testing (JFARMS Grizzly Big Stuff) 7th Generation with 6 CHIC Database relatives shown BUT has passed his August 2022 at age 12-months: Final OFA Patella Test; Final OFA Thyroid Test; Preliminary OFA Hip Dysplasia Evaluation; and now having to wait until he is 24 months of age to complete the remaining required OFA tests).

Currently, in order for a Mastiff to receive a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification number; the Mastiff must pass the following four (4) MANDATORY Orthopedic Foundation for Animals health tests:

1. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Hip Dysplasia at age 24 months or older;

2. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Elbow Dysplasia at age 24 months or older;

3. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Cardiac Disease at age 12 months or older by one of the following methods:

  1. Advanced Cardiac Exam, or
  2. Basic Cardiac Exam (recommend exam by Cardiologist); and

4. ACVO® - American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® Eye Exam (previously “CERF” -the Canine Eye Registration Foundation) eye examination at age24 months or older.

ONLY when a Mastiff passes all four (4) of these preceding OFA mandatory tests, a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) number and CHIC certificate are issued.

CAUTION: Some Mastiff Puppy Breeders guarantee/warrant the health of their puppies until 12 months of age. However, 75% of the preceding four (4) mandatory Mastiff Orthopedic Foundations for Animals health tests cannot be conducted to be certified in the Canine Health Information Center’s Database until the Mastiff is 24 months of age. A 12 month health guarantee on a Mastiff Puppy is like buying a new car and getting a bumper-to-bumper warranty for 500 miles. Also, after 12 months; breeders know that the puppy owners have developed an emotional bond with the puppy and, in most cases, the puppy owner WILL NOT return the puppy to the breeder for a refund or another puppy from the “same” gene-pool.

The following is a list of six (6) Mastiff specific OPTIONAL recommended Orthopedic Foundation for Animals health tests which Johnson Farms Mastiffs also conduct but NOT required to receive a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification number:

A. Autoimmune Thyroiditis from an OFA evaluation from an approved blood test laboratory – Note: since 2012, Johnson Farms Mastiffs has asserted that:

  • Thyroid testing (Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Idiopathic, and Equivocal) should be a MANDATORY Orthopedic Foundation for Animals health test for Mastiffs to receive a Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification number (see Thyroid Testing discussed later in this paper), and
  • Should a Mastiff Puppy Buyer buy a puppy whose Dam and Sire do not have passing OFA Thyroid testing, the Mastiff Puppy Buyer should write in the puppy purchase contact the Mastiff Puppy Buyer will test the puppy for Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Idiopathic, and Equivocal thyroid disease; and if the puppy fails, the puppy will be returned to the breeder;

B. Canine Multifocal Retinopathy (CMR) from an OFA approved DNA laboratory see (CMR Testing discussed later in this paper);

C. Dominant Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) from an OFA approved DNA laboratory (see PRA Testing discussed later in this paper);

D. Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) from an OFA approved DNA laboratory;

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E. Patellar Luxation from an OFA approved method by a licensed veterinarian; and

F. Cystinuria from an OFA approved DNA laboratory (Note: Johnson Farms Mastiffs DNA Testing Package include the following 15 DNA renal disorder tests by an OFA approved laboratory).

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NOTE: Johnson Farms Mastiff’s DNA Testing Package includes over 200 DNA tests from an OFA approved DNA Laboratory. (200+ tests) x 6 breeding dogs) x ($10-$15 per test) to publish results on the OFA CHIC Database make it cost prohibitive to publish. For example, the following is only one OFA posting and one OFA certificate for one DNA test:

Therefore, Johnson Farms Mastiffs provides its potential puppy owners and Stud Service customers with copies of the entire Dam’s and/or Sire’s DNA Test Report with results of all 200+ DNA Tests.

Over the last 50+ years (1966 to 2022) only 2,448 to 137,538 Mastiffs have been tested for the following eight (8) different diseases that are included in the OFA database for the following five (5) non-DNA tests (Thyroid, Hips, Elbows, heart, and patella). OFA has strict requirements for testing, and in most cases, x-rays, salvia, and blood samples are sent in to be evaluated by prestigious universities and laboratories around the world (not by your local vet). Note that due to the cost, only a small percentage of Mastiffs are ever tested; and of those tested, a significant number of Mastiffs did not pass these tests. The following are brief descriptions of the testing statistics for these eight (8) tests with a description of what the tests are designed to prevent in future generations.

Non-DNA Tests

1. OFA Hip Dysplasia (x-rays sent into OFA) – Note: out of the 137,583 Mastiffs that have been tested by OFA over the years through 17 Sep 2022, 20.6% were found to be dysplastic. This means 1 out of every 5 veterinarians that sent hip x-rays into OFA for evaluation were x-rays of dogs that had hip dysplasia. Seven (7) generations of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed OFA Hip Dysplasia Tests. Johnson Farms Mastiffs strongly recommend that anyone considering purchasing a Mastiff Puppy ensure that BOTH of the puppy’s Sire and Dam have passing OFA Hip Dysplasia Tests of FAIR or BETTER. Johnson Farms Mastiffs cannot guarantee that their puppies are hip dysplasia free. However statistically, the more generations tested and are free from hip dysplasia, reduce the probability that the puppy with have hip dysplasia.

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons defines Canine Hip Dysplasia as a condition which begins in immature dogs with instability or a loose fit of the hip joint (Figure 1). The hip joint laxity is responsible for early clinical signs and joint changes. The abnormal motion of the hip stretches the fibrous joint capsule and ligament connecting the head of the femur to the pelvis, producing pain and lameness. The acetabulum (the hip socket) is easily deformed by continual movement of the femoral head. Micro fractures of the acetabula bone may occur, causing further pain and lameness in the immature dog. The dog’s physiologic response to joint laxity is proliferative fibroplasia or thickening of the joint capsule and formation of osteophytes or new bone on the rim of the acetabulum and the femoral neck (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Hip dysplasia present in young dogs as instability of the hip joint. As the dog bears weight, the head of the femur (the “ball”) comes out of the acetabulum (the “socket”) as far as the joint capsule and ligament will allow. The joint capsule and ligament gradually get stretched allowing the femoral head to come out of the acetabulum even further.

Figure 2. The result of the instability in the joint is abnormal wear of the cartilage. Cartilage wear leads to the formation of osteophytes (bone spurs) and joint capsule thickening, which are the characteristic signs of osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.

Figures are from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons – http://www.acvs.org/AnimalOwners/HealthConditions/SmallAnimalTopics/HipDysplasiainDogs/

2. OFA Thyroid Disease (blood sent into OFA) – Note: out of the 2,448 Mastiffs that have been tested by OFA over the years through 17 Sep 2022: 12.2% were found abnormal; 2.6% were found with Autoimmune Thyroiditis; 0.2% found with Idiopathic Hypothyroidism; and 9.4% were found Equivocal. All of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed OFA Thyroid Test, free of Disease. Should a Mastiff Puppy Buyer buy a puppy whose Dam and Sire do not have passing OFA Thyroid testing, the Mastiff Puppy Buyer should write in the puppy purchase contact the Mastiff Puppy Buyer will test the puppy for Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Idiopathic, and Equivocal thyroid disease; and if the puppy fails, the puppy will be returned to the breeder.

The VetInfo.com defines Canine thyroid disease as a fairly common condition affecting your pet's endocrine system. Cases range from moderate to fatal, and the disease itself has numerous causes and symptoms, making for a difficult diagnosis procedure. The thyroid is a gland that secretes a number of hormones that regulate body functions such as growth and processing of the various nutrients in food. When the thyroid does not function properly, the results can be quite varied. Generally, your dog requires a healthy thyroid gland in order for his body operations to work as normal. Some of the symptoms of canine thyroid disease are as follows: vomiting and diarrhea; weight gain; increased rate of infection; lethargy; sensitivity to cold or heat; rashes; loss of coat color or sheen; foul smell; and behavior changes such as depression or aggression.

3. OFA Elbow Dysplasia (x-rays sent into OFA) – Note: out of the 8,108 Mastiffs that have been tested by OFA over the years through 17 Sep 2022, 15.5% were found to be dysplastic. Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed OFA Elbow Dysplasia Free Tests for 6 generations. Female Mastiffs grow until they are 30 months old and male Mastiffs grow until they are 36 months old. Mastiff elbow issues are derived from BOTH genetics and/or environmental exposure. To reduce deleterious environmental exposure issues, Johnson Farms Mastiffs recommends 2-months old to 18-months old Mastiffs wear a harness and the owners use the harness to assist the dog by lessening the weight on the dog’s front elbows and shoulders when the Mastiff is going downstairs and jumping down from an elevated platform (e.g. car, bed, last few stairs, etc.).

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WebMd.com defines Canine Elbow Dysplasia as a common cause of front-leg lameness in large-breed dogs. Breeds predisposed to elbow dysplasia include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog, Mastiffs, Chow Chow, Chinese Shar-Pei, Newfoundland, and others. The elbow joint is composed of the humerus, which articulates with the radius and ulna. The anconeal process unites with the ulna at about 6 months of age. It forms a curved depression in the ulna. The coronoid process forms part of the lower curved bone of the ulna. Dogs with elbow dysplasia have one or more of the following developmental defects, which may occur singularly or in combination: ununited anconeal process, fragmented medial coronoid process, osteochondritis dissecans of the medial condyle of the head of the humerus, and incongruity of growth rate between the radius and ulna resulting in curvature of the radius. The first three defects are related to osteochondrosis. The fourth is related to an enlargement of the epiphyseal growth plate at the head of the radius.

4. OFA Congenital Cardiac Disease (ACVIM Board-certified Cardiologist Exam sent into OFA) – Note: out of the 3,783 Mastiffs that have been examined for OFA certification over the years through 17 Sep 2022, 0.4% Equivocal and 0.3% abnormal totaling 0.7% not classified normal.. All of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed OFA Cardiac Disease Free Tests. The Johnsons have used Dr. McGregor Furgerson, DMV, ACVIM (Cardiologist) and Dr. Michael Hinkey, DVM, DACVIM (cardiologist) for their Mastiffs’ Advanced Cardiac testing (410-224-0029).

PetWellbeing.com defines Canine heart disease as a serious problem that affects a significant number of dogs, especially older dogs. The heart is a muscular organ consisting of four chambers, two of which are located on the left side of the heart, and two on the right side. Each side of the heart also has a set of valves. When heart disease is present, certain parts of the heart cease to function properly. The rest of the organ then tries to compensate for this improper function. Although there are different kinds of heart disease, most of the types that affect dogs lead to congestive heart failure rather than heart attacks. Congestive heart failure involves a somewhat slow appearance of symptoms which then grow progressively worse with time. There are a number of different symptoms associated with heart disease in dogs, and different types of this disease will cause separate sets of warning signs. Yet, there are certain symptoms that are common to several different forms of heart disease. Often when a dog is suffering from this condition, a lack of energy and willingness to exercise will slowly become apparent. General fatigue, lethargy, and increased time spent sleeping during the day could also be signs that something is wrong with your dog's heart. Increased panting and puffing may also occur. A dry cough is another symptom frequently exhibited by dogs with heart disease, especially during the night or first thing in the morning. Loss of appetite and weight loss are also common warning signs of this condition. In addition, some dogs may develop a potbellied appearance and a grey or bluish tinge to their gums. As suggested earlier, the symptoms likely to be exhibited by a dog with heart disease will depend upon the type of heart disease that is affecting the animal. Furthermore, the symptoms associated with certain forms of this disease tend to vary from dog to dog.
Johnson Farms Mastiffs contends that if Orthopedic Foundation for animals desires to keep only four (4) mandatory passing tests for the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) number and CHIC certificate to be issued; for Mastiffs, OFA should consider: (1) DROPPING the OFA Cardiac Disease Test; and (2) ADDING the OFA Thyroid Test.

5. ACVO® - American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists® Eye Exam (previously “CERF” -the Canine Eye Registration Foundation) is a certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist’s eye dilation visual exam. This organization was founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog's lives were being affected by eye disease. CERF was then established in conjunction with cooperating, board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of elimination of inherited eye disease in all purebred and recently hybrid dogs by forming a centralized, national registry. The CERF Registry not only registers those dog's certified free of inherited eye disease by board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists (A.C.V.O. ), but also collects data on all dogs examined by A.C.V.O. Diplomates. After the painless examination of the dog’s eyes, the A.C.V.O. Diplomates will complete the CERF form and indicate any specific disease(s) found.

All of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed their ACVO/CERF Exam except one, JFARMS “Ranger” Big Stuff. Ranger’s CERF Exam concluded that he is not affected by inherited eye disease (passed tests for: Globe; Eyelids; Third Eyelids; Uvea; Vitreou; & Fundus); but his left lens anterior cortex was injured by a ground hog (no vision loss) and cannot be registered by ACVO/CERF.

JFARMS “Ranger” Big Stuff passed his OFA CMR and OFA PRA DNA eye tests and can never transmit these eye issues to any of his offspring. Copies of Ranger’s ACVO/CERF Exam plus OFA CMR and OFA PRA Certificates are included in his Health Test data in the JohnsonFarmsMasstiffs.com website. Johnson Farms Mastiffs conducts 34 genetic DNA eye tests.

6. OFA Patellar (knee) Luxation (Practitioner Exam sent into OFA) – Note: out of the 3,594 Mastiffs that have been tested by OFA over the years through 17 Sep 2022, 0.3% were found to be abnormal. Mastiff patellar issues are derived from BOTH genetics and/or environmental exposure. All of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed OFA Patellar Luxation Free Tests.

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons defines Canine patellar Luxation as follows: the patella, or knee cap, is a small bone buried in the tendon of the extensor muscles (the quadriceps muscles) of the thigh. The patella normally rides in a femoral groove within the stifle. The patellar tendon attaches on the tibial crest, a bony prominence located on the tibia, just below the knee. The quadriceps muscle, the patella and its tendon form the “extensor mechanism” and are normally well-aligned with each other. Patellar luxation is a condition where the knee cap rides outside the femoral groove when the stifle is flexed. It can be further characterized as medial or lateral, depending on whether the knee cap rides on the inner or on the outer aspect of the stifle.

7. OFA Canine Multi-focal Retinopathy (CMR) Eye Genetics (blood sent into OFA) – CMR is in an autosomal recessive pattern. This means the gene mutation responsible for CMR is located on an autosome (that is, a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome) and CMR disease results when the gene mutation is passed to the offspring by both the mother and the father. OptiGen (OFA Lab who tested the Johnson’s Dogs) defines Canine Multi-focal Retinopathy (CMR) is a recently identified recessively eye disease known so far to affect the Mastiffs (English, Bullmastiff, French Mastiff or Dogue de Bordeaux), Australian Shepherds, Cane Corsos, Perro de Presa Canarios, Great Pyrenees and Coton de Tulear. Early clinical studies in 1998 by Dr. Bruce Grahn at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, first described CMR in the Great Pyrenees. The condition observed in each of the named breeds at an ophthalmologist’s exam includes numerous distinct (i.e. multi-focal), roughly circular patches of elevated retina with accumulation of material that produces gray-tan-pink colored lesions. These lesions, looking somewhat like blisters, vary in location and size, although typically they are present in both eyes of the affected dog. Discrete areas of tapetal hyper-reflectivity might also be seen.

The disease generally develops in young dogs before 4 months and might progress slowly, might appear to heal, or might even appear and then go away again. Some dogs affected with CMR do not show clinical symptoms of disease until later in life. The modifiers of CMR disease are a subject of research interest. Some lesions disappear with no remaining sign, while some lesions leave a wrinkled area – a fold. Some leave the lasting lesion of a blister formation. Most dogs exhibit no noticeable problem with vision despite their abnormal appearing retinas. And in almost all cases, CMR does not progress significantly over time. The disease seems to have a consistent pattern among the breeds identified so far. In rare severe cases, the clinical diagnosis could be confused with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). The full range of clinical symptoms will be learned as more dogs are tested for their genetic status.

The genetic test for CMR is valuable for identifying the cause of a retinal deformation. Given the exact genetic diagnosis, the owner can be reassured that there probably will be little or no vision loss due to this condition. All the same, future cases of the condition can be prevented using the CMR test as an information tool for breeding. CMR is a recessive gene and requires 2 recessive genes (one from the mother and one from the father) to have this recessive gene pair for their offspring to be affected (have the disease).

Since the new DNA CMR Test has been available, all of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms passed there CMR Test except one, Coopers “Grendel”. Grendel passed his CERF Exam and his OFA PRA DNA Test. However, Grendel is the only Johnson Farm Mastiff that has the genetic make-up that can cause Canine Multifocal Retinopathy (CMR). By Grendel passing his CERF 2012, Grendel does not show symptoms of CMR, e.g. multi-focal retinal folding. The significance for breeding Grendel means that a puppy of his must inherit two copies of the diseased gene (one CMR gene from the mother and one CMR gene from the father, Grendel) in order to be clinically affected. Therefore, Grendel (father) was only mated to JFARMS “Princess” Big Stuff (mother) and JFARMS “Lady” Big Stuff (mother) who both tested Normal/Clear genotype for CMR. This means that puppies from Grendel and Lady –OR– puppies from Grendel and Princess will not be affected with CMR. Copies of Grendel’s, Lady’s, and Princess’s CERF, OFA CMR, and OFA PRA Certificates are included in their respective Health Test data in this website. A copy of Grendel’s OptiGen CMR Test Report is also included.

This shows the importance of Genetically Testing Mastiff mom’s and dad’s before breeding.

8. OFA Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) Eye Genetics (blood sent into OFA) – Note: if a Dog is found “Genotypically Normal for PRA”, none of its offspring can contract PRA. Since the new DNA PRA Test has been available, all of Johnson Farms Mastiff’s Dads and Moms have passed their PRA Test.
OptiGen (OFA Lab who tested the Johnson’s Dogs) defines PRA as the genetic disorder, PRA , causes cells in the retina at the back of the eye to degenerate and die, even though the cells seem to develop normally early in life. The “rod” cells operate in low light levels and are the first to lose normal function. Night blindness results. Then the “cone” cells gradually lose their normal function in full light situations. Most affected dogs will eventually be blind. Typically, the clinical disease is recognized first in early adolescence or early adulthood. Since age at onset of disease varies among breeds, you should read specific information for your dog. Diagnosis of retinal disease can be difficult. Conditions that seem to be PRA might instead be another disease, not PRA. OptiGen’s genetic test assists in making the diagnosis. It’s important to remember that not all retinal disease is PRA. Unfortunately, at this time there is no treatment or cure for PRA. If your dog is affected, you may find it helpful to read about other owners’ experiences living with blind dogs. The Types of PRA are:

2.1 Generalized PRA

2.2 Rod-cone dysplasia

2.2.1 Rod-cone dysplasia type 1

2.2.2 Rod-cone dysplasia type 2

2.2.3 Rod-cone dysplasia type 3

2.3 Rod dysplasia

2.4 Early retinal degeneration

2.5 Photoreceptor dysplasia

2.6 Cone degeneration

2.7 Cone-rod dystrophy

2.8 Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD)

2.9 X-linked PRA

2.10 Dominant PRA

2.11 Feline PRA

2.12 Central progressive retinal atrophy (CPRA)

2.12.1 Commonly affected breeds

2.13 Hereditary retinal dysplasia

Conclusion

Dr. Johnson believes that all eight (8) tests (Thyroid, Hips, Elbows, Heart, Eyes, Knees, CMR, & PRA) should be conducted on both the mom and the dad prior to breeding Mastiffs –OR– prior to a buyer purchasing a Mastiff puppy. Dr. Johnson strongly recommends that all potential puppy buyers (of any breed, not just Mastiffs) do the following when purchasing their puppy:

  • Go to http://www.ofa.org (the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) website) and type in the litter father’s and mother’s AKC registration number –OR– name to research the father’s/mother’s health testing (if any), which will also show the health testing (if any) of the father’s/mother’s parents, siblings, and offspring;
  • Never buy a Mastiff puppy if the father or mother are less than 2 years of age (several health tests are not valid until the Mastiff is 2 years old) – also, the Mastiff female does not fully stop growing until 30 months and should not be bred until at least 24 months old (males grow until they are 36 months);
    • Insist as a minimum passing OFA Hips Dysplasia Test on BOTH the Mastiff mom and the dad (of those tested 20% failed):
    • Place in the puppy contract that the Mastiff Puppy Buyer will have the following tests and exams performed on the puppy:
      • OFA Thyroid blood test within 30 days;
      • DNA CMR test within 30 days;
      • DNA PRA test within 30 days;
      • A physical exam by potential Owner’s veterinarian within 3 days;
      • A board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists eye exam within 30 days; and
      • If the puppy fails any of these tests, the buyer can return the puppy to the breeder/seller for a full refund.If all tests are not conducted on the mom and dad, the potential Mastiff Puppy Buyer should:

      This should cost the potential Mastiff Puppy Owner approximately $425 (2022 dollars); but will save prospective Mastiff Puppy Owner future heartaches and potential MAJOR costs. The prospective Mastiff Puppy Owner’s veterinarian can:

      • Draw the OFA thyroid blood;
      • Draw blood or perform a saliva swipe for the DNA tests; and
      • Provide a referral to a local certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist if the new Owner’s veterinarian, after examining the puppy’s eyes, feels that a certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist exam is warranted.

Johnson Farms Mastiffs knows a young couple from upstate New York who purchased a Mastiff puppy (probably like many potential Master Puppy Owners) and the couple did not know to inquire about the parent’s health testing. The puppy at only six (6) months old had major hip dysplasia problems and other health problems that required immediate treatment that were estimated to cost well over $14,000 with no guarantees of fully correcting the puppy’s health issues. Even after expending the $14,000 (2010 dollars), the puppy had to be euthanatized. The young couple’s vet instructed the young couple to find a Mastiff Breeder who did health testing. The young couple drove over 10 hours one way (twice) to 1st inspect the parents and 2nd purchase a puppy from Johnson Farms Mastiffs. The couple immediately had their vet examine the puppy; and if there were ANY health issues, the couple could return the puppy for a full refund. Later, Dr. Johnson and his wife inquired how the puppy was doing and the couple’s vet said “there is one good thing and one bad thing: GOOD – the dog was happy in a loving family; and BAD – the puppy was not the Vet’s dog.” After knowing the emotional pain and cost the young couple had endured with their previous puppy w/o health tested parents; Dr. Johnson and his wife are happy (as they are happy with the placement of their other puppies) that one of their Johnson Farms babies was: happy, in a loving home, and healthy. Johnson Farms Mastiffs only has 1-3 litters a year (6-20 puppies a year).

A creditable breeder cannot guarantee (other than a few breed specific DNA tests) that a puppy will be free of health issues. Genetics is a statistical probability, not an exact science. Johnson Farms Mastiffs strives to deliver healthy puppies to perspective Mastiff Puppy Owners through genetic health testing of their moms (Dams) and dads (Sires).

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