Health Committee

The mission of the STCA health committee is to:


  • ​Identify diseases and ailments of the American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Provide funding for health research projects beneficial to our breed
  • Provide support and information for owners needing help in a health crisis situation
  • Educate breeders and owners on diseases of the American Staffordshire Terrier and the importance of utilizing available health tests
  • ​Acknowledge breeders and owners participating in health screenings


STCA Health Chairperson: Faith Beiser 

Members: Sandy Underwood, Heidi McClure, Denise Wedel, Monica Davi

Contact: health@amstaff.org


STCA Recommended Health Testing for your Amstaff

The Staffordshire Terrier Club of America recommends health testing for the following conditions that do affect the American Staffordshire Terrier for your breeding programs.  You can also download the .pdf file by clicking on the button .

A note from the STCA Health Committee regarding the NCL-A Cerebellar Ataxia test for Am Staffs: There are a few genetic testing labs offering the NCL-A test for American Staffordshire Terriers. However, Optigen labs, www.optigen.com is the only lab in the USA that uses the patented test from Antagene of France. For this reason, the Optigen NCL-A test is the only one recognized by OFA. Testing with any other lab is not eligible to be recorded in the OFA database. The STCA Health Committee recommends using Optigen labs for your NCL-A test. Discounts and clinics are offered throughout the year. Check the Optigen website for more information.

A note about Cerebellar Ataxia testing : There have been questions raised regarding the NCL-A cerebellar ataxia test offered by the Paw Print genetics laboratory. Because they have a cheaper cost than Optigen some members have chosen to use this lab for testing their dogs.
  Results from Paw Print genetics are not eligible for recording by OFA due to the fact that they do not use the patented Antegene test.
  Optigen is the only lab in the USA which uses the patented Antegene test developed by Dr. Natasha Olby in conjunction  with veterinarians in France.  Dr. Olby cannot comment on the integrity of the Paw Print genetics test. The STCA Health Committee feels that until such time that more information is obtained, members should continue to use the Antegene test offered by Optigen.
  Optigen periodically offers discounts on testing. Check their website for more information and a list of clinics.


Hip Dysplasia (must be 2 years old for final results for OFA and 16 weeks for PennHip)

  • OFA Evaluation 

  • PennHIP Evaluation

Congenital Cardiac Database

  • OFA evaluation with examination performed by a Cardiologist (Must be 1 year old to be in OFA database)

Autoimmune thyroiditis

NCL-A (Cerebellar Ataxia)

  • Optigen NCL test results registered with the OFA - the Staffordshire Terrier Club of America advises that 2 NCL carriers should never be bred together, and that affected dogs should never be bred.
  • First Generation Offspring of tested dogs eligible for Clear By Parentage.

Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist (Optional) results registered with OFA.

Elbow Dysplasia (Optional) usually done when evaluated for Hip Dyspasia


​The Staffordshire Terrier Club of America awards Members in Good Standing awards for Health Testing your Amstaff.
STCA Health Awards Page


Additional Health Information

​7th Edition of “Ocular Disorders Presumed to be Inherited in Purebred Dogs

Pages 63-66 includes Amstaffs

click here for Dental Dentition Database

At the request of the American Rottweiler Club, the OFA has developed a new dentition database. The database is used to certify full dentition and is open to all breeds. Any attending veterinarian may perform the examination. There is no minimum age, however, prior to certification, all adult teeth must be fully erupted. The database is intended to certify that all adult teeth are fully erupted and present. It is not intended to certify compliance with any specific breed’s standard.


NCL-A (Cerebellar Ataxia)

Cerebellar Ataxia is an autosomal recessive neurological disease. The first signs of the disease usually appear between 3 and 5 years of age in affected dogs. They are: loss of balance, difficulty cornering, and falling when shaking their head. As the signs progress, most dogs seem to have difficulty initiating movements. When they became unable to walk without falling repeatedly, owners usually make the difficult choice to euthanize.The Antagene Cerebellar Ataxia (NCL-A) test detects the mutant, defective gene copy and the normal gene copy. The result of the test is a genotype and allows separation of dogs into three groups: Normal/Clear (homozygous normal), Carrier (heterozygous) and Affected (homozygous mutated). 

Please note the Cerebellar Ataxia test is done in France with Antagene but you must obtain the DNA test through Optigen.
Please look through the following links to find out more about Ataxia in the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Information from An​tagene about Cerebellar Ataxia
DNA Test for Cerebellar Ataxia - Optigen

Dr. Olby's Cerebellar Ataxia Presentation 

Antagene Video of Cerebellar Ataxia​

​OFA Clear by Parentage Policy for DNA Tests


AKC Canine Health Foundation link

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