In May of 2007 the BFCA board voted to allow BFCA to become a member of CHIC, the Canine Health and Information Center, www.caninehealthinfo.org, which is a centralized database that is sponsored by the Canine Health Foundation (CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). CHIC provides a source of health information for breeders, owners, buyers, and scientists. CHIC also builds awareness of health issues and encourages sharing of health data in an open database.
To help you understand how CHIC works, simply it’s a method for the breeder/owner to get a gold star for each Bichon who gets a CHIC number, thereby encouraging breeders to complete the required tests prior to breeding. Each breed’s parent club decides what tests should be required based on the health data for that breed. BFCA has chosen the below health tests as required for Bichons to obtain a CHIC number.
BFCA CHIC Requirements
Tests that are required for your Bichon to obtain a CHIC number:
- OFA of hips completed at the age of 2 or more years
- OFA of patellas (knees) completed at the age of at least 1 year, and recertified yearly thereafter
- CERF exam (eyes) completed every year
Tests that are encouraged but optional (not required to get a CHIC number):
- Cardiac OFA certification by a cardiologist or practitioner
- Legg-Calve-Perthes (a degenerative hip disease) OFA certification
- DNA registered with AKC
- Urinalysis to assess for diabetes, bladder infection, and crystals (precursor to stones)
- Bile acid blood test to rule out liver shunt
- Standard veterinary blood panel that includes:
• CBC (complete blood count—WBC’s, hemoglobin, RBC’s, platelets) to find anemia, infection, cancers of the blood, or bleeding and platelet disorders
• Electrolytes, BUN, creatinine to assess kidney function
• Blood glucose level to rule out diabetes
• Liver enzymes to rule out liver disease
• Pancreas enzymes to rule out pancreas disease
To obtain a CHIC number the dog must have completed the tests that BFCA requires. If the Bichon passes the tests, that dog gets a CHIC number. If the Bichon does not pass the tests the owner must agree to release the results, and that dog also gets a CHIC number. A CHIC number therefore means that the breeder/owner completed the required tests at some point in time, and shared the information with the public. A CHIC number can never be revoked.
The OFA web site www.offa.org contains a page for each dog that lists all the tests completed for that dog and its relatives, and will indicate if that dog has a CHIC number. If you know a dog’s registered name, you can also find the OFA page for that dog by scrolling through the list of Bichons with CHIC numbers on the CHIC web site.
BFCA requires 2 of the tests to be completed every year, eyes and knees. If the owner lapses in repeating those tests yearly, the listing of that test on the OFA site will be shaded in a grey color indicating the lapse, but the CHIC number will never be revoked. In addition to the 3 required tests determined by BFCA to get a CHIC number, there is a list above of optional tests that BFCA recommends completing on Bichons prior to breeding. These tests do not determine whether the dog gets a CHIC number, but may someday move up into the list of required tests.
If you are looking for a Bichon Frise to purchase as a pet or show dog or for mating purposes, you are advised to consult either the CHIC or OFA web site to determine if that dog or the parents of that dog have CHIC numbers and passed all of the required tests.