Frequently Asked Questions About The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC)
(Accumulated from Health Discussion Forum Online)
What do the classifications of Open, Semi-Closed and Closed Registry indicate?
Definition of classifications:
Closed – no data (normal or abnormal) is open to the public
Semi-closed – normal data is public; the owner chooses if they will or will not release abnormal data
Open – all data (normal and abnormal) is open to the public
Who controls the classification of open, closed or semi-closed?
The parent club designates which tests will be required for a CHIC number, the owner decides if the information is to be made public. If the owner refuses, that dog does not get a number.
CHIC requires that information on every dog entered in the database for that breed has completed all tests and that the results are made public, but it is not required that they have cleared all tests. This is an Open Registration.
Why do dogs that fail a test have a CHIC number?
CHIC numbers are assigned for both affected and unaffected dogs if the dog has had the required tests and the owner has signed the release for the information to be public. The decision lies in the hands of the owner. Quoting Eddie Dziuk; “The CHIC number itself does not imply normal test results, nor should it be interpreted as a ‘stamp of approval ‘ for breeding. The CHIC number only indicates that all the required breed specific tests were performed and the results made publicly available.”
Note: The owner must sign to release the test abnormal results (with the exception of certain databases such as the OFA thyroid registry, for which owner signs a release at the time of submission of the sample); By refusing to sign, the owner can keep results private, but therefore by definition is not participating in CHIC.
Must a dog be certified only by OFA or does CHIC accept other reports?
OFA, PennHIP, OVC and others are allowed, based on the requirement of each individual parent club.
There will be a one time $25 fee for any test not certified by OFA.
Fees apply only to tests not certified through OFA, CERF, and GDC. These automatically roll over into the database but others do make extra paperwork.
(A reminder that for CHIC enrollment, a dog has to have been microchipped, tattooed or have DNA ID.)
How can a dysplastic dog have a CHIC number and what happens to breeding when that dog is advertised as having a CHIC number?
Quoting from the CHIC web site: “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 itself does not imply normal test results, only that all the required breed specific tests were performed and the results made public.”
Note: It behooves those interested in breeding to determine OFA or other examination results. All passing results are automatically open.
Test results for all dogs with CHIC numbers, including abnormal results, can be accessed on the CHIC web site at www.caninehealthinfo.org.
How does CHIC deal with CERF when the requirement is that the tests be repeated annually?
CERF, by the nature of the wide diversity of diseases being screened, makes for more difficult analysis. There is no single answer to some of the CERF questions. What is unchanging for all clubs is the need for annual examination and re-certification. How it is handled within CHIC varies by breed and predisposition to disease.
For example: The Golden Retriever club has worked with CHIC in defining their requirements and GRCA requires exactly the same wording of “valid for only 12 months” as appears on the CERF certificate up until the age of 96 months, at which time the CHIC number becomes permanent. Some clubs have a designated permanent date beyond which no further certification will be required. This is based on the particular genetic disease prevalent in that breed and the latest date at which it is considered likely to show up in that breed.
Note: CERF is a good example of how each parent club must make decisions in cooperation with CHIC so as to provide the best database for that particular breed. Glaucoma is a major problem in certain breeds and there is to date no predictive date for that disease.
What if a club prefers to have the cumulative CERF record included?
CHIC does that automatically.
Why do some breed clubs have different requirements for heart testing?
Each club is allowed to choose whether the cardiac exam can be done by a general practitioner or a specialist such as a board certified internist or a board certified cardiologist.
When searching CHIC,I found no failed tests. Why is that?
Probably because only about 5 % of owners give permission to release abnormal information. Again it is not permitted to certify with CHIC without disclosing all results required by the parent club.
Why is there no testing for von Willebrands Disease?
vWD testing is not accepted for CHIC because of the unreliability of existing tests.
My club is not yet enrolled in CHIC. One goal seems to be that peer pressure will encourage greater participation in CHIC. Has that proven to be true?
Different clubs have varying results in terms of participation by members. Some clubs have added incentives to encourage participation and these seem to help. At this time, about 1/3 of the parent clubs have joined CHIC and the numbers are increasing each year. CHIC does seem to have had greater success than previous open canine health registries.
One benefit that some clubs have noted is that some members have tried to get around acceptable cardiac clearances by using practitioners instead of the required specialists. This highlights to others that they are not following parent club recommended protocol – which then creates pressure to participate.
An added benefit is that pet buyers, through educational efforts, are learning to look for OFA, CERF and CHIC numbers! They read about them on web sites and see the information in ads. This will add pressure on pet breeders and pet buyers to join the arena of multiple screening examinations.
Now that we have answered many of the questions about CHIC, it would be an opportune time to review the CHIC program goals, which are:
- To work with parent clubs in the identification of health issues for which a central information system should be established.
- To establish and maintain a central health information system in a manner that will support research into canine disease and provide health information to owners and breeders.
- To establish scientifically valid diagnostic criteria for the acceptance of information into the database.
- To base the availability of information on individually identified dogs at the consent of the owner.
CHIC is not about listing only “normal” or healthy dogs. It is about providing the information needed for dog owners and prospective owners, breeders and others to make wise decisions. These decisions may be in regard to purchasing dogs, breeding dogs or in identifying genetic patterns in specific breeds of dogs.
CHIC Mission Statement: “To provide a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs.”