Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)

What is the Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)?

CAER is dedicated to the elimination of heritable eye disease in purebred dogs through registration and research. Administered and maintained through OFA (Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals), CAER maintains a centralized, national registry of OFA Eye Certifications issued by board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to accomplish the goal of elimination of heritable eye disease in all purebred dogs.

The purpose of the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) is to provide breeders with information regarding canine eye diseases so that they may make informed breeding decisions in an effort to produce healthier dogs. CAER certifications will be performed by board certified (ACVO) veterinary ophthalmologists. Regardless of whether owners submit their CAER exam forms to the OFA for “certification,” all CAER exam data is collected for aggregate statistical purposes to provide information on trends in eye disease and breed susceptibility. Clinicians and students of ophthalmology as well as interested breed clubs, individual breeders and owners of specific breeds will find this useful

How does CAER function?

After the painless examination of the dog’s eyes, the ACVO Diplomate will complete the CAER form and indicate any specific disease(s) found. Breeding advice will be offered based on guidelines established for that particular breed by the genetics Committee of the ACVO. Bear in mind that CAER and the ACVO are separate, but cooperating entities. The ACVO only provides their professional services and expertise to ensure that uniform standards are upheld for the certification of the dog’s eyes with the CAER organization.

If the dog is certified to be free of heritable eye disease, you can then send in the completed owner’s copy of the CAER form to OFA with the appropriate fee. Required information includes: registration number, owner’s name and contact information, dog’s registered name, date of birth, sex, breed/variety, and if applicable, permanent identification (via microchip or tattoo). The certification is good for 12 months from the date of the exam and afterwards, the dog must be reexamined and recertified to maintain its registration with CAER.

Regardless of the outcome of the dog’s exam, the information will be recorded for aggregate statistical purposes to monitor breed specific trends and susceptibility. This information will NOT be released to the OFA website, and will NOT result in a certification number unless the owner submits their copy of the form to OFA.

What can CAER do for breeders and pet owners?

CAER and OFA can provide:

  • A registry of purebred dogs that have been certified free of heritable eye disease.
  • Memberships which may include the CAER Newsletter, and various registration and research reports to keep you up-to-date on selected topics in canine ophthalmology.
  • Periodic reports on the prevalence of eye diseases in certain breeds, including reports generated by the Veterinary Medical Data Base (VMDB), which compiles data from 24 participating veterinary colleges in the U.S. and Canada.
  • A centralized source to answer questions such as: – ‘Is there an AVCO Diplomate located near me?’ – ‘Are there any published materials on eye disease in dogs that can help me to better understand my dog’s condition?’

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