American Coton Club Health Program

Frequently Asked Questions


My Coton had a CERF examination 22 months ago and I plan to breed her next month.  Do I need to get another CERF, or can I wait until after her puppies are born and weaned?

Yes, you need to get another CERF.  All breeding Cotons must have a CERF (registered with CERF) no less than every 24 months.  If you are planning a litter and your Coton has not had a CERF in the previous 24 months, then you should plan accordingly and schedule an appointment for your Coton to have another CERF test as soon as possible.


I have some OFA health forms my vet signed and the CERF paper my ophthalmologist signed.  Can I just send those to you?

No, we are not able to do anything with your original paperwork.  All health testing must be submitted to CERF & OFA (as applicable).  The Health Committee will verify the tests on-line at OFA and CERF, so there is no need to send us your original paperwork or your certificates.  The only tests you might need to send to the Health Committee are DNA tests not already listed at OFA, and any Blood Chemistry Panels you wish to submit.


I am an American Coton Club breeder and my Coton was registered as breedable by the American Coton Club in 2001.  Do I have to get additional OFA testing on him?

No, you do not.  Cotons issued American Coton Club breedable pedigrees prior to August 12, 2008 have been "grandfathered in".  While you do need to keep up with the CERF requirements, your Coton will not be required to have the additional two health tests, unless you make a request for a Blue Ribbon Litter award.  However, we encourage you to have this basic level of testing done anyway, as we would like all Cotons registered with an American Coton Club breedable pedigree to have the same basic health testing as every other Coton with a breedable pedigree issued by the American Coton Club.


My Coton is 10 months old and I'm excited to get his health testing done so I can get his American Coton Club breedable pedigree.  Is it okay if I go ahead and schedule his health testing a month or two early?

We do not accept health tests performed on 10 and 11 month old Cotons.  Please wait until your Coton is 12 months old before testing, unless you are doing DNA tests such as CMR, vWD or Neonatal Ataxia, which can be done at any age after weaning.


I printed out the American Coton Club Vet Form and my vet filled it out.  Can I use that as one or two of my OFA required tests, since it's the same type of examination anyway?

The American Coton Club Vet Form that your veterinarian filled out does not count as one of the required tests, although it can still be used and is useful, especially to novice breeders.  We encourage you to continue using the American Coton Club Vet Form if you find it useful, as it is a good opportunity to discuss all of the physical aspects of your Coton with your veterinarian.  If you choose to use the American Coton Club Vet Form we would be happy to list it in the American Coton Club Health Registry pdf file.


My Cotons have had almost every health test known to the animal kingdom and they passed everything with flying colors.  I'm planning to breed my 3 year female Coton to my new male who is 18 months old.  Can I get a Blue Ribbon Litter award for their puppies?

No, I'm sorry but the Blue Ribbon Litter designation will not be issued to litters of puppies coming from parents less than 24 months of age.    In choosing 24 months as the determining age for BRL's, it's more likely both parents are mature both physically and psychologically.  Twenty-four (24) months of age is also the age OFA set for accepting full certification on Hips & Elbows.  This will allow you to take advantage of those two additional health tests if you should so choose.  Your male will be old enough in no time at all and we look forward to your application when he is a little older.


My Coton is 5 years old and in excellent health.  We took him for his CERF examination when he was one year old and the eye vet told us he had the best looking eyes he'd ever seen.  His eyes look fine to me.  Do we have to get another eye examination?

Yes, you must have a CERF done at least every 24 months if you wish to remain an American Coton Club COE breeder in good standing.  Many breeders have a CERF examination every 12 months during the breeding life of their Coton, and we applaud them for their efforts.  If you wish to continue breeding your male and be able to register his offspring with the American Coton Club, then yes, you must continue to have him CERF tested.


I have a Blue Ribbon Litter right now and just received your confirmation email and the BRL graphic.  Can I put the BRL graphic on the home page of my web site?

The Blue Ribbon Litter designation is awarded to specific litters, for a specific duration of time (typically 12 weeks from date of birth).  When you use the graphic on your web site it must be specifically linked to only the litter it was awarded to.  In general, your home page is probably not the best placement for your BRL graphic unless you also have a statement that it is only applicable to the litter it was awarded to.  It would be better to place the graphic on the same page as the litter who was awarded the Blue Ribbon Litter designation.


I had a Blue Ribbon Litter a few months ago but now all of my puppies have gone on to their forever homes.  I think the BRL graphic is cute; can I keep it on my web site?

No you may not.  The Blue Ribbon Litter graphic must be removed from your web site and any advertising you've used it in, after you have placed your puppies.  Typically this will be within 12 weeks from your puppy's date of birth.  If you still have puppies available from your BRL after 12 weeks, please let us know and we will extend the time you may use the graphic.