PHPV and annual eye tests
PHPV stands for Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous and is a congenital (ie from birth) developmental problem of the eye. This leads to deposits on the lens of the eye, which can lead to mild or serious visual problems, even to blindness. Puppies can be tested for PHPV from about 8-12 weeks of age and, if clear at that age, will be clear for life. Of the test results held by the Kennel Club, only 2% were affected.
The Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme (ABS) recommends annual eye testing, but the repeat testing is for general eye health only and most breeders do not do this as it is not based on evidence about any potential problems, and most of us would prefer to spend this money on annual heart testing. This leads to a confusing situation whereby puppy purchasers might think a breeder is not following best practice by not testing annually.
I have been communicating with the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association about this for some time and the issue of generic testing in all breeds has now been brought forward for discussion by the two groups with a view to making the requirements based on evidence about specific issues. I had argued for a single PHPV test, but it looks as though the KC/BVA might opt for a test before breeding, one in middle age and one in old age. This is, in principle, an improvement, but in practice I suspect most breeders will (quite reasonably in my view) still only carry out the first test, as this testing is a recommendation and not a requirement of the ABS scheme and will still use up money that could better be spent on heart testing.
I am currently waiting for further information from the Kennel Club.