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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16800
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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What health tests do I need to carry out for my maltese before

Customer Question

What health tests do I need to carry out for my maltese before breeding her and how much do they cost?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Rebecca replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for asking about Lulu. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

There are no required tests. Some breeders will want a negative test for a disease called Brucellosis, because it is a sexually transmitted disease. Some breeders do testing for genetic diseases that are known in that particular breed, such as checking for hip dysplasia in a Labrador, or hypothyroidism in a Golden retriever.

Maltese dogs can have a liver condition called a "shunt", so running a basic blood panel to check liver values might be a good idea. A good physical exam to check her kneecaps ( luxating patellas, or slipping kneecaps are seen in all small breeds). Some breeders like to have the eyes checked by an ophthalmologist for a genetic disease that causes blindness, called PRA ( progressive retinal atrophy, called CERF testing).

I would start with a good physical exam: listen to the heart, check the kneecaps, etc. You could ask your vet if an ophthalmologist is doing a "CERF Clinic" in your area, which is less expensive than a regular ophthalmologist visit ( only a board certified specialist can do a CERF test).

The male you are going to breed her with, should have all these tests done as well. The idea is to get healthy puppies and if her knees and eyes are good, so both parents should be checked.

A basic vet visit would cost whatever your vet charges ( at our clinic it is about $50). A basic blood profile would cost $75 to $150, again prices can vary in different areas so your vet may be more, or less than that.

A visit to an ophthalmologist can cost up to $200 but a CERF clinic can be as little as $25.

You do not "have" to do any of these, but if you want to be sure she is healthy to breed, and unlikely to pass genetic health problems to her puppies, this is what I would recommend.

Please let me know what else I can answer, or help with.