Griffon Club of Victoria Health Testing Policy

Ask Dr Iain Summer 2015-16


What are these Griffon Club of Victoria ‘Health Documents’?


Our Health Documents are available for all Griffon breeders and puppy purchasers to download and use from our website,


Our Club wants to encourage responsible and ethical breeding practices and these documents are a means for like-minded breeders to provide to the purchaser of one of their pups both their own contact details, list their pup’s Pedigree Registration and microchip numbers, information about the pup’s diet, health findings, vaccines and parasite treatments and also list the health testing results of their pup’s parents.


What Parental Health Testing does our Club recommend? We recommend that all breeders carry out patella (kneecap) testing for medial patella luxation, HD (Hip Dysplasia) testing and have a Veterinary Ophthalmologist provide a Australasian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES) certificate for all their breeding stock and that they provide these results in the Griffon Health Document given to the pup’s new owner. We also recognize that the disease Syringomyelia/Chiara-like Malformation (SM/CM) is common in our breed, although rarely to a degree that affected dogs show clinical problems. Unfortunately these two interrelated neurological diseases can only be tested by means of an expensive MRI exam, which costs usually in excess of $1000 and can only be done at some Specialist facilities in Australia. Because the incidence of clinical disease is low and the fact that testing is very expensive, ANKC/Dogs Victoria does not insist that breeders must test for SM/CM. However, our Club encourages breeders who do SM/CM testing to also provide the results of any parent’s MRI scans in the Health Documents.


I’m considering purchasing a Griffon puppy. Does the breeder have to provide Health documents with results for every test and for each parent?


No, they don’t. No Health test is mandatory in the Griffon Bruxellois and breeders don’t have to provide you with these documents. Even if they provide you with our Health Documents, they don’t have to have every test completed for either parent. It might simply be because the breeder does not necessarily own each of the pup’s parents and can only provide test results for one parent. However, what is mandatory is that any Registered Breeder must give you ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club) Registration Papers (Pedigree Certificate) and that the pup is vaccinated and microchipped.


However, our Club recommends that all breeders, whether they are Club members or not, use breeding stock with

  1. Healthy patellas (kneecaps) that have a low score (0 or 1) for medial patella luxation (slipping patellas). For more information see
  2. Have each parent undergo a hip X-ray that has been HD (Hip Dysplasia) scored and have bred in accordance to the Club’s HD Policy recommendations. For more information regarding HD in Griffons, visit,
  3. Have each parent undergo an eye test with a Veterinary Ophthalmologist and ideally be cleared of diseases such as juvenile cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Those dogs that have had this test are provided with an Australasian Canine Eye Scheme (ACES) certificate. For more information regarding ACES, visit
  4. If they have MRI results for the testing of SM/CM for either or both parents, that these results are provided to you. For more information about SM/CM, visit


We encourage you to read through the Health Documents before even contacting any breeders and use the information to help you in questioning a breeder as to what health testing they do and in making your decision whether to purchase a pup from that breeder. Even if the breeder has provided satisfactory Health testing results for one or both parents, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your pup won’t have any of these problems but it certainly helps reduce the risk.


I’m a breeder of Griffons. Can I use these documents if I’m not a Club member and how do I go about Health Testing?


Any Griffon breeder can use these documents but should provide them in their entirety and completed with as much detail as possible. Purchasers are becoming better educated about seeking ANKC Registered breeders and about health testing in purebred dogs and will increasingly ask for evidence that health testing has been done in the form of patella scores, HD scores, SM/CM scores and ACES certificates rather than taking a breeders word that these diseases don’t occur in their stock. Without testing, no breeder really knows what the incidence of any disease is amongst their dogs.


Any veterinarian can do patella testing at the time a dog or puppy is visiting for routine vaccinations. You may want to take a copy of the Grades of Patella Scoring from our website (see link above) with you just in case they don’t have a copy themselves.


Your vet can easily refer you to their Veterinary Ophthalmologist or for the purposes of a ACES Certificate you can directly make an appointment yourself. You need to take a copy of the dogs ANKC Registration papers (Pedigree certificate) with you. This link will take you to those listed with Dogs Victoria,


Your own vet should be able to carry out a HD X-ray. This must be done under a general anaesthetic in Australia, and your vet can send the X ray image to the radiologists that are also listed on the Dogs Victoria Canine Health page following the link above. Your vet should recommend a pre-anaesthetic blood profile before doing the X-ray. Similarly you will need to provide a copy of the dog’s ANKC Registration papers and pay a HD reading fee in addition to your vet’s fee for taking the X-ray. Visit our Club website, to view our HD Policy on how to properly use your dog’s score so as to best improve the health of our breed’s hips.


If you wish to have a MRI scan done to test for SM/CM and you are a member of our Club then you receive about a $700 discount on the usual fee at the University of Melbourne, Veterinary Clinical Centre located on Princes Hwy in Werribee. Phone the Neurology Co-Ordinator on 039 731 2357, to arrange a booking. Currently the cost is $1050. You will also be required to provide a copy of the ANKC Registration Certificate and a recent pre-anaesthetic blood profile from your own vet or they can do one on the day of the scan at an additional cost. If the result is satisfactory then you can pay for the Neurologist to give an ‘official’ score based on the BVA (British Veterinary Association)/ KC (Kennel Club(UK)) SM/CM Scheme, which is discussed on the link given earlier that does take alittle time to open.

For breeders we also have a Breeders Copy of the Health Document that you can have a puppy purchaser sign acknowledging that you have given them all the documentation listed in their Health Document and that further explanation where needed has been provided to their satisfaction. By completing these documents you are protecting yourself in case of any future problems with a puppy you have rehomed in that you have provided the purchaser with all the information they need to take care of their pup and have made a full disclosure of any known health concerns for both the puppy and it’s parents.

Iain Mitchell BVSc(Hons), MANZCVSc
Member of Dogs Victoria Canine Health Committee.

Contact Details


 President - Mrs Beth Canavan p[email protected]

Secretary -Mrs Robin Simpson [email protected]

0409 255 369

         Puppy enquiries - Beth Canavan [email protected]