AHT Testing and Health Information

The American Hairless Terrier, whilst a robust and generally healthy breed, can suffer from harmful and detrimental genetic diseases. Responsible breeders, are attempting to selectively breed out these hereditary afflictions.

Don't be fooled by the Backyard breeders that their AHT’s don't suffer from these diseases as ANY AHT can be affected by these mutant genes, not just show dogs.
Its certainly not worth the risk
 and its certainly not worth the heartache.  You should only buy from reputable breeders that test their dogs

When purchasing a American Hairless Terrier from registered breeders (unfortunately not all breeders are registered with the ANKC, and generally refrain from health testing breeding stock) do not be afraid to ask the breeder about their stock, their breeding practices, nor be afraid to ask to see health certificates.


Primary Lens Luxation

The lens of the eye normally lies immediately behind the iris and the pupil, and is suspended in place by a series of fibres.  It functions to focus light rays on the retina, in the back of the eye. When partial or complete breakdown of these fibres occur, the lens may become partially or fully dislocated from its normal position.   Lens luxation can occur for several different reasons.  Primary lens luxation is a heritable disease in many breeds and spontaneous luxation of the lens occurs in early adulthood (most commonly 3-6 years of age) and often affects both eyes, although not necessarily at the same time.  Lens luxation can lead to inflammation and glaucoma that can result in painful, teary, red eyes that may look hazy or cloudy. If detected early, surgical removal of the lens can be beneficial. Medical treatment of inflammation and glaucoma in the form of topical and oral medications can relieve much of the discomfort associated with this disease.


Eye screening

CERF is an eye examination for your dog to determine the presence of inherited abnormalities.  Any dog to be used for breeding should be examined for various inherited abnormalities.  These abnormalities differ among various breeds but all breeds should have eye examinations prior to breeding.


Progressive Rod-Cone Degeneration

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a category of different progressive conditions related to ­retinal atrophy that can eventually lead to blindness.  Progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRA-PRCD) is one specific type of PRA that affects many dog breeds.  It is an inherited eye disease with late onset of symptoms that are due to degeneration of both rod and cone cells of the retina.  These cells are important for vision in dim and bright light.  Most dogs begin to show symptoms of the disease at approximately 3-5 years of age that manifests as difficulty seeing at night (night blindness) and loss of peripheral vision.  Although rate of onset and disease progression can vary by breed, PRA-PRCD typically results in eventual loss of sight and complete blindness in affected dogs.  It is important to note that other inherited eye disorders can display similar symptoms to PRA-PRCD.


Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. The clinical course can range from 6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually weakness will develop in the front limbs. Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease.  Although any dog can be tested for DM, it is possible that the genetic background that predominates in some breeds prevents the development of symptoms even in dogs testing affected (at risk).  At this time the required evidence of association between the genetic mutation and actual spinal cord evaluations has only been proven in the breeds listed.


Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response

The hearing test known as the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) or brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) detects electrical activity in the cochlea and auditory pathways in the brain in much the same way that an antenna detects radio or TV signals or an EKG detects electrical activity of the heart.

The response is collected with a special computer through extremely small electrodes placed under the skin of the scalp: one in front of each ear, one at the top of the head, and one between the shoulders. It is rare for a dog to show any evidence of pain from the placement of the electrodes - if anything the dog objects to the gentle restraint and the irritation of wires hanging in front of its face. The stimulus click produced by the computer is directed into the ear with a foam insert earphone. Each ear is tested individually, and the test usually is complete in 10-15 minutes.

Patella Luxation

The patella, commonly referred to as the knee cap is usually located in the centre of the knee joint. A luxating patella is a knee cap that moves out of its normal location, as indicated by the term "luxating" which means out of place or dislocated.

The Putnam grading system grades dogs from Grade 0- no luxation present- normal, to increasing severity from Grade 1-4.


  • Grade 0: Normal
  • Grade 1: the patella can be manually luxated with the stifle in full extension, but when pressure is released without manipulation of the limb the patella regains its original position in the trochlea. Spontaneous luxation of the patella during normal joint motion rarely occurs. Typically stifle and hock in a straight line with no deviation of the hock.
  • Grade 2: the patella can be completely luxated, but manipulation of the hind limb (flexion of the stifle) causes the patella to regain its original position in the trochlear. On physical examination, the patella luxates easily, especially when the foot is rotated.
  • Grade 3: the patella is found (at least once) spontaneously luxated with the animal in a standing position or it is permanently luxated but can be repositioned manually or by manipulating the limb. Very shallow or flattened trochlear.
  • Grade 4: the patella is permanently luxated and cannot be repositioned. May scarcely be able to walk or may move in a crouched position with both limbs partially flexed, and/or they may carry the affected limb. Trochlea is shallow, absent or even convex.

Heart Testing

  • To identify dogs free from any cardiac abnormality
  • To ascertain the prevalence of heart murmurs, abnormal rhythms or specific heart defects.
  • To advise the owner, breeder and dog's veterinary surgeon when an abnormality has been identified and recommendations for further investigation/Treatment.
  • To confirm the cause of heart murmurs or abnormal rhythms by further investigation of affected animals
  • To collate data for investigation of a possible genetic basis to a specific heart problem to report back to the breed club.
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