Why Test ? - Reasons Given For Not Testing


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Discouraging OFA information - November 10th 2004.
I recently wrote to OFA and requested information on animals in the "Wolf Hybrid" database.
Although some Wolfdogs are in the "Hybrid" category, and some owners do PennHip, 
I still found the following response discouraging. 

Approx 1/4 of the animals done are mine, and my pages on testing originally went up in 1998.
So far in 2004 no "Wolf Hybrids" (that show up in database, I have submitted two) have been done. 

OFA Response: 34 have been tested = Excellent - 23.5% , Good 52.9%, Fair 14.7%,
23.5% did not pass
. Thank you for your inquiry.  

Q. I know all the animals in the lineage and there is NO history of CHD anywhere.
The problem with that is without having had their hips evaluated by an expert, you can't really say for sure. The inheritance of this disease is still not entirely understood. Even if there was a somewhat low incidence of HD in your lines, why would you not OFA? Why would you give this disease a chance to spread unchecked.

My animals would be at more risk from anesthetic than from passing on HD.
This is a little scary, but breeding dysplastic animals is risky too. Not all animals need to be medicated to have this test, and some only require mild sedation. Problem is that some vets will not do the OFA without some form of sedation, nor will some animals hold the correct position without it. My vet used a drug called Domitor to sedate and Antiseden to wake up. I really like this medication! It caused no after effects like ACE does. And if you run into any trouble it does have a reversal. They gave the shot in the room and then my animal laid down and *got sleepy*, mine were not generally *knocked out*, simply relaxed. When the vet gave the medicine to wake up, within seconds to minutes the animal had returned to its normal self. There appeared to be no discomfort or any other effects.

Q. It does not guarantee that the animal will remain free of HD, their pups or offspring in future generations. Only that they were rated and how they rated at the time of the test. If it is not fully guaranteed then why go through it?
No, there are no guarantees, but, PennHip *is* meant to give the likelihood of an animal becoming dysplastic in the future. The OFA test may not guarantee that there will never be a future problem with Hip Dysplasia, but it will let you know IF there is a problem. I OFA'd four of my animals so far, out of these four one had VERY bad hips and was neutered. On another animal we discovered an unknown hip injury and she will not be in our breeding program. One rated "good" and we are waiting on the results of another that looked promising. This test will help you to screen your best breeding stock, of course you still need to consider other things such as temperament, breed standard, etc. The reason for doing it is to lower the incidence of Hip Dysplasia, OFA figures have shown how by doing the screening the incidence has been lowered in certain breeds - some significantly.

I know of a couple of occasions where OFA good and even excellent lines of animals threw dysplastic offspring. This was in Wolfdogs and pure dogs.
This is true, and this is exactly why it is important to have as much information as possible! OFA will tell you that an animal with "fair" hips but whose littermates all have excellent hips, is probably a better breeding prospect than an animal with excellent hips whose littermates are all dysplastic. A lot of research needs to go into responsible breeding.

Doesn't this hip problem usually show up in a few years, by the time that they are of breeding age (2 yrs) ? And wouldn't the chances be even better if they were even older and not showing any problems?
Why take chances? Most vets will tell you that some animals, ones with mild dysplasia or a high pain tolerance may never show any clinical signs yet carry the disease.

Is this not painful to the animal?
It did not appear to be painful at all! It was not Manipulative like I thought it would be. There was medication given and then we carried him into the room where the x-ray was taken. They lay them up on the table placing the hip area over the x-ray. The animal is then placed on its back. The vet handled the lower end making sure the positioning was correct. He pulled the legs in basically a straight position and held them there. We were at the head and helped to make sure that the entire body was perfectly in line, head down to feet. Then they took the x-ray. After making sure that everything turned out well and the name and other info could be easily read by the OFA folks, the vet then gives the medicine to wake up. That is all there is to it. The vet then sends them off to OFA . One of our animals snored during the x-ray, none of them appeared to have any soreness afterwards.

Isn't this mostly a problem for breeds that have been inbred extensively?
No, this is a problem all breeds need to be concerned about. There is even documented cases of wolves having dysplasia. (Wobeser, J.Wildlife Diseases 28:268-75, 1992 April; Douglass, Vet Med Small Anim Clin.76: 401-3, 1981 march.; Fritts and Caywood, J. Wildlife Diseases 16: 413-7,1980 July.) Granted, the incidence of dysplasia in populations of wild wolves is fairly low due to natural selection, but it still happens. In fact I have heard that There are about 30 Wolf hybrids that passed the OFA. 19% did not (they don't list the ones that are dysplastic. This is probably bit biased, due to not enough animals, but still some didn't pass.)


Special thanks to Andrea for teaching me the importance of testing, also Marge, HAW and Ghostwuppy.

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