Guide dogs must have access to comprehensive general practice and specialist/referral veterinarian services. All health problems must be dealt with and treated promptly.   

Processes need to be put in place so that all puppies and adult dogs are: 

  • Provided with comprehensive vaccination and parasite control appropriate to the region where the dog lives.  
  • Examined prior to entering the breeding programme, the puppy development phase. 
  • The dog should have a thorough examination prior to commencing formal training and once again prior to being matched and allocated to the client.  
  • Examined at least once a year, i.e. graduated dogs and breeding stock. 
  • Neutered – in the case of working dogs prior to matching and allocation to the applicant/client. 

Comprehensive histories must be maintained for each dog at every stage of the programme so that with every examination by the veterinarian, essential detail is recorded in each dog’s official veterinary health record. Such records must include, but are not limited to, those required by law. The International Working Dog Registry (IWDR) stores health and genetic information and provides medical histories. (See section 2b, Administration, Record Keeping for more information.) 

The health records must be made available to the client and any unusual expenses need to be discussed with the client during the matching process,  

Dogs which have been assessed and recommended by a veterinarian (or a group of experts, if necessary) as being unsuitable for a working life as a guide dog on health grounds, must be withdrawn from the programme. 


Documentation on this topic may be acquired through the IGDF website or individual Members 

Refer to IGDF Standard 6 Dog Health & Welfare

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Section 11. Adoption/career change services