Recommended Health Testing

A basic guide to some Canine testing frequently asked questions

*First off, please let me say that by having your Chihuahua tested does not completely guarantee that they will not have problems in the future.  This also does not mean that they do not carry those genes.  However, with mutiple lines of repeated testing and evaluations risks are greatly reduced.  It is always important to only breed examples of the breed that pass examinations.*

It is EXTREMELY important to see your Veterinarian on a regular basis and always keep up with annual shots, fecal checks, heartworm test, heartworm treatment and, of course, flea treatment on a year round basis.  NOTHING is a substitute to having a good, educational relationship with your Veterinary staff.  We use Spring Meadows Animal Hospital (in Holland, Ohio) and Dr. Brent Couts.  Veterinary references are ALWAYS available.  PLEASE do not purchase any breed of animal without first checking a veterinary reference. 

Some simple test to run and things to do

DNA: Each animal, person and living things has its own genetic makeup.  DNA analysis can confirm parentage via DNA profile and can confirm mixed breed status by a mixed breed analysis.  If you are unsure that your Chihuahua is purebred it is a fun way to verify.  Midwest Chihuahuas DNA's all our Chihuahua parents.

DNA information on the Canine DNA page on this website
DNA profile and/or Mixed breed analysis from VetGen, The Wisdom Panel and DDC Veterinary to name a few reputable companies
Cost averages $40 to $80 for DNA profile.  Additional genetic and inheritated traits tests are available for $58 a piece through DDC Veterinary. Multi-test discount available through them as well.

REGISTRATION: Most Chihuahuas will go to their new home with registration papers from one of a number of registries.  Some of the best known are the American Kennel Club (AKC), The Continental Kennel Club (CKC) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CanKC).  AKC breeders may undergo random inspection and CKC Preferred breeders also are subject to random inspection.  I believe the same is true for the Canadian Kennel Club although I do not have firsthand knowledge.  Registration does NOT guarantee your Chihuahua is purebred, DNA does.  In my opinion, no one registration of these three is better than the other.  Continental cannot show in AKC shows but only a tiny percentage of Chihuahuas end up as showdogs, particularly successful ones, so paperwork that shows pedigree and lineage from an alternative registration organization (such as CKC) is perfectly acceptable.

Midwest Chihuahuas registers our puppies through Continental Kennel Club.  Our parents are CKC off AKC lines or AKC/CKC registered.  We are in the process of being an inspected breeder with Continental Kennel Club.  ALL our Chihuahuas are DNA'd and are as good or better of quality as those with alternative registrations.

MICROCHIPPING:  It is our policy that all our Chihuahuas are microchipped.  We do NOT microchip our puppies but highly suggest it to our new families.  Ask your Veterinarian about the advantages to microchipping.  This carries no more pain than a standard innoculation and can be done when puppy shots are performed.  We use the HOME AGAIN RECOVERY SYSTEM.  The cost for microchipping is $16.95 (annually) and you can update your information with them at any time.  OFA uses microchip numbers and the American Kennel Club and Continental Kennel Club keep them on file as well.  If your dog gets lost, they will help you with fliers and other helpful hints, send out a letter to customers in that area (via email) letting them know your dog is missing and more.  PLUS if your dear dog gets away, your local shelters, dog wardens and Veterinarians will be able to scan your lost dog and thanks to HOME AGAIN, know where your doggie lives so you can be reunited.  Tens of thousands of animals are lost everyday and thousands are never found.  Don't let yours be one of that statistic!

BLOODWORK:  We feel it is always a good idea to have a baseline bloodwork on file with your Veterinarian.  Some Veterinarians will recommend pre-mating bloodwork and post pregnancy bloodwork.  We recommend that you follow your Vet's recommendation on this.  ALWAYS OPT IN FOR BLOODWORK PRIOR TO ANY SURGERY TO ENSURE THE BEST INTEREST OF YOUR CANINE.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

PATELLAS: OFA Patella Luxation can be run by your Veterinarian and it should be done at or after 12 months of age.  Your Veterinarian will do a thorough exam and xray examination is generally done to confirm findings.  Examination results are listed in Grades to show evaluation and are performed on both the right and left patella (kneecap).  Problems may be non-existant (0/0) meaning no patellar luxation or luxation to varying degrees listed below:

  1. Grade 1 - The patella easily luxates maually at full extension of the stifle joint, but returns to the trochlea when released

  2. Grade 2 - There is frequent patellar luxation which, in some cases becomes more or less perminent.

  3. Grade 3 - The patella is permanently luxated with torsion of the tibia and deviation of the ribial crest of between 30 degrees and 50
  4. degrees from the cranial/caudal plane.

  5. Grade 4 -  The tibia is medially twisted and the tibial crest may show further deviation medially with the result that it lies 50 degrees to 90 degrees from the cranial/caudal plane.

Your Veterinarian will exam and fill out the paperwork for you and complete documentation to submit to the OFA in order to have your Chihuahua listed in the database as well as for your own records.  OFA asks your Veterinarian to verify microchip or tatoo on your Chihuahua as a part of the examination.

OFA will charge $15.00 for the fee for animals over 12 months.  Document available under Patella Luxation Application at - Print it out and take it to your Vet appointment for you and when you set up your appointment, tell them you are going for OFA Patella Certification

CARDIAC: Developmental Inherited Cardiac Diseases (SAS and Cardiomyopathy): At this time inherited, developmental cardiac diseases like subaortic stenosis and cardiomyopathies are difficult to monitor since there is no clear cut distinction between normal and abnormal. The OFA will modify the congenital cardiac database when a proven diagnostic modality and normal parameters by breed are established. However at this time, the OFA cardiac database should not be considered as a screening tool for these diseases.

Purpose of the OFA Cardiac Database

To gather data regarding congenital heart diseases in dogs and to identify dogs which are phenotypically normal prior to use in a breeding program. For the purposes of the database, a phenotypically normal dog is defined as:

One without Cardiac murmur
One with an innocent heart murmur that is found to be otherwise normal by virtue of an echocardiographic examination which includes Doppler echocardiography

The Congenital Cardiac Database is for dogs 12 months and over. Examinations performed on dogs less than 12 months will be treated as Consultations and no OFA breed numbers will be assigned.

Grading of heart murmurs is as follows

  1. Grade 1  - A very soft murmur only detected after careful ausculation

  2. Grade 2 - A soft murmur that is readily evident

  3. Grade 3 - A moderately intense murmur not associated with a palpable precordial thrill (vibration) 

  4. Grade 4 - A loud mumur; a palpable precordial thrill is not present or is intermittent

  5. Grade 5 - A loud cardiac murmur associated with a palpable precordial thrill; the murmur is not audible when the stethoscope is lifted from the thoracic body wall

  6. Grade 6 - A loud cardiac murmur associated with a palpable precordial thrill and audible even when the stethoscope is lifted from the throracic wall

If Ausculation is within normal limits and no mumur is found, additional diagnostic studies will not be indicated and ecocardiography will not be needed.  With normal cardiovascular evaluation, no congential heart disease will be evident.  Like Patella evaluation, this MUST be done by your Veterinarian and OFA standards for cardiac examination must be strictly adhered to during this evaluation and microchip or tattoo identification will be verified in this case as well.

Print out the paper to take to your vet at - OFA will charge $15.00

Click on Cardiac Disease link, to Applications, to Cardiac Application and take to your Veterinarian and they will direct you from there.  Remember when scheduling these appointments, state the reason you are coming in so that your Veterinary staff can book you the proper amount of time for your appointment.

 Final thoughts on what to look for

When considering breeding your Chihuahua, first tell your Veterinarian.  The exam for a breeding female will differ from one to be spayed as a pet.  Follow the instructions and suggestions of your Veterinarian when it comes to these matters.  When looking for breeding Chihuahua look for some of the following:

  1. Excellent Overall Composition
  2. Applehead, short nose and strong stop
  3. Short legs (under 9" at the withers)
  4. Straight/Even topline
  5. Ears that stand at maturity
  6. Passage of OFA Patella & Cardiac and preferably family history of such
  7. Excellent overall temperment

This is just a start of things to do and look for when considering a future companion or breeding Chihuahua.  Please contact us for any questions or for more information!

Thanks for considering a Midwest Chihuahuas puppy!

© Working Dog Chihuahuas by Midwest, 2007