The Dalmatian Club of America (DCA) joined the Canine Health Information Center
(CHIC) program in the 2004. The Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC, is a centralized canine
health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation
for Animals (OFA).
CHIC Mission Statement:
To provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists, that will assist in breeding healthy dogs
CHIC program goals:
- to work with parent clubs in the definition of health issues for which a central information system should be established,
- to establish and maintain a central health information system in a form and manner that will support research into canine disease, to provide health information to owners and breeders,
- to base the availability on individually identified dogs on the consent of the owner, and
- to establish scientifically valid criteria for the acceptance of information into the database.
CHIC Number & Certificate:
To receive a CHIC number and certificate, your Dalmatian must have test results on record for:
- Hip Dysplasia - Results accepted from OFA (OFA, OVC, or PennHIP)
- Hearing - BAER results accepted from OFA
Elective: (one of these must be completed for a CHIC certificate)
- Eyes - Results accepted from CERF (OFA or GDC)
- Thyroid - Results accepted from OFA (by an approved Lab only)
All you, as the Dalmatian owner, need to do is register your dalís BAER forms/tracings and Hip results with
OFA and CERF test results with CERF. That information will automatically be entered into the CHIC database
and a CHIC certificate for your dog will be sent to you.
- Old BAER results can be entered in the database by sending in the application form and the tracings
along with the testerís signed final conclusion.
- A dog must have a permanent identification via a tattoo or a microchip to be enrolled in the CHIC
- Click here to see a sample CHIC Certificate
- DCAF has generously extended the funding to enable Dalmatian breeders to submit the BAER forms/tracings
for their litters to OFA free of charge.
How CHIC benefits you and the Dalmatian:
- Breeding Information: Permanent identification and central data storage provides breeders with
a reliable source of information about dogs they may be planning on using in their breeding program. This
data storage would be on a website that anyone will be able to access.
- Buyer's Information: Breeders can provide copies of CHIC records for the new puppy owners and other
breeders or refer them to the CHIC database for accurate information about results of their health testing.
- Research Information:
- Parent Clubs - Can access CHIC data on their breed to help determine health research priorities and
evaluate the participation and effectiveness of testing programs and incentives they have established.
- Breed Research - Scientist need accurate information on multiple generations on dogs in order to
conduct research that can benefit breeds and eliminate genetic diseases. The CHIC database can serve as a
resource for these scientists.
- All Breed Research - As the CHIC database becomes more complete, researchers will be able to utilize
the information for epidemiological studies that will enhance our knowledge of health issues affecting all
breeds of dogs.
Where can I find the forms I need to have filled out?
The needed forms are online at OFA. OFA & CERF websites outline in detail how to gather and submit data
for various certifications. Most are familiar with how to submit X-rays for hip scores to such as OFA and
CERF: Some of the other tests may be somewhat unfamiliar to some owners and breeders. For eye results,
not only does the dog have to be examined by a board-certified ophthalmologist, CERF paperwork that this DVM
gives you must then be submitted (with the appropriate fee) to CERF itself. Please note that without this
final step the dog will not obtain CERF certification.
OFA & BAER: For OFA BAER certification, the completed form together with the BAER tracings must be
submitted to OFA with the appropriate fee. It should be noted that DCAF has generously continued to subsidize
the costs of BAER results being registered with OFA so there is currently no cost to the Dalmatian owner.
Are ISD test results recorded in the CHIC database along with the regular CERF test results?
Not at this time. Your dalmatianís ISD test results are recorded on the CERF form under Breederís
Option category D. Initially it was planned to record these results at both CERF and, through CERF, in the CHIC
database. However, as a result of the ISD health clinic held last year at the DCA national specialty, it became
apparent that even with the well documented protocols provided by the DCA there is significant misdiagnosis
occurring. A complicating factor was the fact that the new CERF database being implemented does not have the
ability to change a diagnosis once itís entered.
After careful consideration, the following decisions were taken:
- Follow-up research into ISD and the assessment of ISD is being organized for the ISD/CERF health
clinic being held at the 2006 DCA national specialty;
- Other avenues for ISD research are being actively explored;
- CERF was contacted and agreed to not record the ISD category D notation in their database until advised by the DCA Board.
- The CERF category D notation will not be recorded in the CHIC database. Just the regular CERF exam data will be recorded.
- Dalmatian owners whose dogs are diagnosed with ISD are encouraged to file those results with the DCA
Health & Research Committee on Eye Health who maintains a private, confidential database. This data will be
available for follow-up should researchers need to contact owners of dalmatians diagnosed as having ISD. Of
particular value are multiple results from the same Dalmatians where the dog has received conflicting
diagnoses Ė i.e.; diagnosed as having ISD during one CERF exam and diagnosed as clear for ISD at another exam.
Dalmatian owners wishing to participate in the DCA H&R Committee eye database can contact the committee
representative through the website: http://www.thedca.org/studygp.html
What is the minimum age for certification & how often do I have to repeat the exams?
Each test may vary in minimum age, but the details are all available at the OFA website. 12
months is the minimum age allowed typically for all but the hip exam, but a good time to start would be 2-3
years when the dog is a young adult & preferably before s/he is bred. Your local vet can usually do the hip
exam. To add in the CERF will likely require you see a specialist. CERF is only good for one year & "expired"
CERF exams are noted in italics. The CERF veterinarian can advise you on specific needs for re-examination.
CHIC certificates will note the date of each re-exam on the certificate.
What happens if the results are equivocal? What happens if my dog doesn't "pass"?
The CHIC program has been instituted to be an "open" registry and offers a way for owners/breeders
to gather information & get feedback on various aspects of their dogs' health --it is not intended as a way
to separate dogs into groups of "passes" and "fails."
Hip scores can come back as "borderline" or with a request to retest which doesn't necessarily imply the
dog has hip dysplasia. Some eye conditions can also be considered a "grey area" where retesting may be
recommended. If this occurs the dog will still receive its CHIC certification right away. A similar situation
results even if your dog "fails" a certain testing, as long as, through the form, the owner indicates they are
willing to have the non-normal ("fail") results available and visible through the open database, the dog will
still receive his CHIC certification.
The CHIC certificate is a reward for seeking health data on individual dogs and then being willing to share
it; it is not a program designed to externally define dogs as breedable or not. What the breeder and/or owner
decides to do with the extra information provided by the CHIC program will depend on how they perceive the
results as impacting on the overall health and breeding status of the dog in question.
Your dog's CHIC status will be noted at the OFA website with a red, white and blue banner by the dog's name.
You will also receive in the mail a red, white and blue CHIC certificate. This will take 4-6 weeks to process,
as do the individual tests. (CERF data now appears at the OFA website as well.) Note please that the dog need
not pass all portions of the CHIC to receive the certification, but the must be willing to reveal non-normal
results to receive the CHIC certificate.
On the OFA forms there is a box the owner must check that allows OFA to release non-normal results. For
PennHIP and Canadian hip data, the owner now must simply send in the appropriate screening form to OFA with a
signed letter requesting the hip results be entered in the CHIC database. There is a one-time $25 fee per dog
to the CHF is required for databases like PennHIP that do not currently participate in the CHIC database.
What if I have sent in a form in the past that does not permit the release of non-normal results and
I now want to make those results available. How do I change that?
This is certainly possible to do. Contact Eddie Dziuk at OFA for assistance with this. Contact
information can be found at the end of this document.
General CHIC Information
CHIC operates an informed consent database. All information regarding test results remains confidential
unless the owner specifically authorizes release of the information into the public domain. Owners are
encouraged to release all test results realizing it is in the ultimate health interests of the breed and the
information greatly increases the depth and breadth of any resulting pedigree analysis. For those not quite
ready to accept open sharing of information, there is still value in submitting their results. All test
information entered into the database is available in aggregate for research and statistical reporting
purposes, but does not disclose identification of individual dogs. This results in improved information on
the prevalence of the disease, as well as information regarding progress in reducing the incidence of the
CHIC Numbers and CHIC Reports
A CHIC number is issued when test results are entered into the database satisfying each breed
specific requirement, and when the owner of the dog has opted to release the results into the public domain.
The CHIC number by itself does not imply normal test results, only that all the required breed specific tests
were performed and the results made publicly available.
A CHIC report is issued at the same time as the CHIC number. The CHIC report is a consolidated listing of
the tests performed, the age of the dog when the tests were performed, and the corresponding test results.
As new results are recorded, updated CHIC reports reflecting the additional information will be generated.
For example, if a breed requires annual CERF examinations, an updated CHIC report will be generated every
time updated CERF results are entered. Another potential example is as new DNA tests are developed and added
to the breed specific requirements, updated CHIC reports will be generated as the test results are entered.
Once included in the CHIC program, the breed specific requirements are dynamic. As health priorities within a
breed change, or as new screening tests become available, the breed specific requirements can be modified to
reflect the current environment. If the breed specific requirements are modified, existing CHIC numbers are
not revoked. Again, the CHIC number is issued to a dog that completed all required tests at a given point in
CHIC will provide the parent club quarterly reports consisting of both aggregate numbers and specific
dogs who have been issued CHIC numbers.
CHIC Fee Structure
Test results from the OFA and CERF databases are shared automatically with the CHIC program.
There is no fee to enter test results from either the OFA or CERF, and there is no requirement to fill out
any additional forms.
To enter results into CHIC from another source such as PennHIP, GDC, OVC, or parent club maintained
databases, there is a one time per dog fee of $25.00. To enter results from any of these organizations, the
CHIC Application To Enter Test Results must be completed. The completed form, test result documentation, and
fee should be sent to the OFA. Any additional results after the one time fee is paid are recorded at no
charge. Additionally, there is no charge when entering results on an affected animal from a non-CERF/OFA
The CHIC website is located at www.caninehealthinfo.org.
The website contains basic information on CHIC such as its mission and goals, and maintains a listing of the
participating breeds and approved breed specific test protocols. Forms such as the 'Parent Club Application'
and 'Application To Enter Test Results' are available as downloads. The CHIC website also provides a search
engine to locate dogs who have been issued CHIC numbers, their test dates, and the results of their tests.
To search CHIC database for individual results to to:
Questions regarding the CHIC program may be addressed to:
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
c/o Eddie Dziuk or Dr. Greg Keller
2300 East Nifong Blvd.
Columbia, MO 65201
AKC/Canine Health Foundation
P.O. Box 37941
Raleigh, NC 27627-7941
The America Kennel Club Building
5580 Centerview Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606-3390