GDCA Health and Welfare Committee Report: 
Canine Eye Registration Foundation

Canine Eye Registration Foundation - Statistics Report - 2008

GREAT DANE CERF DATA:
Data from the past 2.5 years: (January 2003 to August 2005).

GREAT DANE EYE DISEASE DATA:
Statistical Report of Eye Disease in the Great Dane for the past three years.

CERF Category

2003

2004

(first ½) 2005

A=Eyelid

27

32

6

B=Third Eyelid 

3

5

0

C=Cornea

2

2

2

E=Lens

40

18

11

F=Vitreous

1

1

0

G=Fundus

1

3

0

Globe

0

1

0

Uvea

10

11

1

Other

8

17

4

TOTAL EXAMINED

195

297

90

Percent with defect

28.0%

22.9%

23.3%



GREAT DANE CERF DATA:
Data from the past 3 years (2000-2002). 

CERF Category 2000 2001 2002
A=Eyelid 19 16 35
B=Third Eyelid  3 3 2
C=Cornea 1 0 0
E=Lens 31 22 31
F=Vitreous 2 0 1
G=Fundus 1 1 2
Globe 2 1 1
Uvea 6 2 6
Other 8 6 18
TOTAL EXAMINED 204 208 243
Percent with defect 29.41% 23.08% 32.92%

The majority of eyelid defects are listed as ectropion, entropion or distichiasis. The lens defects represent various cataracts, with posterior cortex intermediate being the persistent category as to serious defects noted, plus a variety of "significance unknown" minor lens defects are noted as well. Third eyelid defects are distributed between eversion and prolapse. Globe defects are exclusively microphthalmia. Uvea defects are either PPM or iris colobomata. "Other" represents a heterogeneous category including both hereditary and non-hereditary defects of a minor nature. Over the three year period there was an average reported rate of 28.47% defects in the breed found upon examination. 


GREAT DANE EYE DISEASE DATA:

CERF Eye Disease Report (1991-1999).

This report provided to CERF members (such as the GDCA) offers 8 years of data on the breed and records all diseases found upon examination. For this period 756 Danes were examined. Of that number 74.07% were given a normal diagnosis; 25.93% were found to have some sort of eye defect. The following defects were found in more than 1% of the dogs examined:

  • 4.76% Distichiasis (abnormally located eyelashes)
  • 3.84% *Posterior Cortex Intermediate (lens defect; a cataract)
  • 2.38% Entropion ("in-rolling" of the eyelids)
  • 2.92% PPM (Persistent Pupillary Membrane, all categories)
  • 1.96% *Posterior Cortex Punctate (lens defect; a cataract)
  • 1.85% Ectropion (eversion of the eyelids)
  • 1.85% *Anterior Cortex Intermediate (lens defect; a cataract)
  • 1.32% Colobomata (merle-related defect)

Note that CERF (via ACVO standards) issues two ratings for various eye defects based on their severity and heritability. A CERF fail or a "NO" diagnosis is given to dogs with conditions for which the ACVO has found "substantial evidence exists to support the heritability of this entity AND/OR the entity represents a potential compromise of vision or other ocular function." It is recommended such animals not be used in a breeding program. The defects that merit a "NO" are listed with an asterisk (*) in the above list. A "Breeder's Option" is issued in the case of defects where the ACVO feels that the "entity is suspected to be inherited but does not represent potential compromise of vision or other ocular function." Caution is advised in breeding dogs in this latter category. 


GREAT DANE CERF DATA:

Data from the past 15 years (August 1988 to August 2003). 

Note that only dogs that certified ("passed") are recorded publicly. So only "Breeder's Option" defects are listed. This table therefore represents the past 15 years of passing data as taken from the CERF website. 

795 DANES ENTERED
79 DANES LISTED WITH "Breeder's Option" DEFECTS: 9.94%

CERF Category A=Eyelid B=Third eyelid C=Cornea D=Iris  E=Lens F=vitreous G=Fundus
# Danes 56 6 1 0 16 1 1
% Danes 70.89% 7.59% 1.27% 0 20.25% 1.27% 1.27%

DISCUSSION: Eyelid and lens defects represent the major categories of eye defects found in the Great Dane. According to the CERF data, statistically significant eyelid defects include entropion, ectropion and distichiasis, all related to head type conformation, and referred to by the ACVO (American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) as "conformational defects." These receive a "Breeder's Option" notice currently. (Again, a "Breeder's Option" is issued in the case of defects the ACVO feels the "entity is suspected to be inherited but does not represent potential compromise of vision or other ocular function." These dogs will pass CERF examination.) Third eyelid defects such as eversion and prolapse may also be related to conformation. They also currently receive a passing CERF with a "Breeder's Option" note on the certification as they do not compromise vision or other ocular function. 

Lens defects in the breed are generally of a more serious order as they can and do result in reduction in visual acuity and even blindness. Several forms of cataracts occur in the breed that receive a "NO" upon examination, including anterior cortex, anterior suture, equatorial cortex, posterior cortex, posterior suture, and generalized cataracts. (Anterior cortex intermediate, posterior cortex intermediate, equitorial cortex intermediate, and generalize cataracts represent defined and persistent categories of cataracts in the breed.) Some forms of lens defects are listed as "Breeder Option" still, including various anterior and capsular punctate defects. The defects listed in the "Lens" category in the Great Dane are roughly distributed between these defects that pass with a "Breeder's Option" and those rejected (so not receiving a CERF certificate). 

Other defects recorded by CERF are not found in significant numbers to be relevant to the breed. The total rate of reportable defects (including both categories used by CERF) is historically around 25% for the Great Dane. It is worth noting that CERF is a sensitive and exacting examination for which even the most minor of flaws is noted and categorized. A single dog can also present with more than one ocular defect when examined. Given that the data indicates approximately 10% of the defects noted are minor and so receive CERF certification (i.e. pass with a "Breeder's Option"), that suggests that approximately 15% of Great Danes examined fail CERF and largely from lens defects of a serious nature. This seems to represent the only significant CERF-recorded defect in the Great Dane. In eight years (1991-1999) only two reports of retinal atrophy were issued (one for "generalized" and one for "suspicious"); none for PRA have been reported in the breed. In that same period only four animals with microphthalmia were presented for examination. Microphthalmia is a condition associated typically with partial albinism resulting from the merle gene and is associated with multiple sensory defects, including lens luxation and cortical cataracts. In our breed it is generally restricted to homozygous merle dogs (called "whites") found exclusively in the Harlequin family. 

PREPARED AND PRESENTED BY:
JP Yousha, Chair, H&W Committee, GDCA
danehealth@gdca.org



Permission to reprint as submitted for educational purposes is given. 
Submitted by JP Yousha, Chair, H&W Committee, GDCA 2004.