Click on a Question below to view the
does OFA stand for?
does OFA do?
is Hip Dysplasia?
these test be done on any type of canine?
is this test done?
old does the animal need to be?
animals should be tested?
should the test not be done?
the animal need to be sedated?
can't I just have my vet read the X-rays?
happens to the X-rays when they are sent in?
animal has had a hip injury, can I still get
the test done?
long does the test take to get back?
does this test cost?
do I Contact OFA?
OFA stands for The Orthopedic Foundation For
The OFA is a diagnostic service and registry,
established in 1966. They are a not-for-profit
organization originally created to assist breeders
in addressing hip dysplasia. In recent years OFA
has added registries to assist breeders in
assessing some other medical problems.
Hip dysplasia is very debilitating genetic
defect, not to mention expensive to fix. It is
reported to be an inherited disease that can be
controlled by careful, selective breeding
The OFA's registry serves all breeds. They will
test all canines and list mixed breeds as
To obtain this view, the animal must be placed
on its back in dorsal recumbency with the rear
limbs extended and parallel to each other. The
knees (stifles) are rotated internally and the
pelvis is symmetric. Chemical restraint
(anesthesia) is recommended.
The x-ray film must be permanently identified
with the animal's registration number or name,
veterinary case or x-ray number, date the
radiograph was taken, and the veterinarian's name
or hospital name. If this required information is
illegible or missing, the OFA cannot accept the
film for registration purposes. The owner should
complete and sign the OFA application.
To be OFA certified the animal must be 24
months ( 2 yrs) however they will accept
preliminary consultation radiographs on puppies as
young as 4 months of age for evaluation of hips.
Any and all animals that are bred should be
The purchaser of a pup will generally request that
the parents and grandparents have been done.
When starting a breeding program the more animals
in your line that can be tested the better.
Attention should be paid to testing ALL offspring
from a litter produced.
Radiography of pregnant or estrous females
should be avoided due to possible increased joint
laxity (subluxation) from hormonal variations. OFA
recommends radiographs be taken one month after
weaning pups and one month before or after a heat
cycle. Physical inactivity because of illness,
weather, or the owner's management practices may
also result in some degree of joint laxity. The
OFA recommends evaluation when the dog is in good
Chemical restraint (anesthesia) is not required
by OFA but chemical restraint to the point of
muscle relaxation is recommended.
First of all most vets know how to take the
X-rays for OFA, but the interpretation of those
x-rays may differ among veterinarians. To solve
this problem registries were formed to provide
experienced, expert specialist to read your
radiographs (X-rays) for dysplasia evaluation.
Secondly, the results of the database are
available on the OFA website. If everyone simply
went to their own vet, this information would not
be accessible. And lastly, it keeps the ratings
honest. If you were an extremely good customer,
your vet might be more inclined to keep you happy
when telling you what his opinion of your animals
They are independently evaluated by three
randomly selected, board-certified veterinary
radiologists. Each evaluates the animal's hip
status, and assigns a hip rating. The final hip
grade is decided by a consensus of the 3
evaluations. Ratings are: Excellent, Good, Fair,
Borderline, Mild, Moderate, & Severe.
Recommendations are to breed only good or
excellent, with some exception.
This practice can be effective in reducing the
frequency of CHD if it is used over generations.
Yes, A qualified radiologist can determine if
any damage is due to an injury.
An example is: A female was given to us that was
hit by a car. She apparently had a hip injury that
we did not know about. (She did not limp or show
any signs of discomfort) When we had her X-rayed
you could see the damage. The vet told me that OFA
would probably not rate her. I ask him to call
anyway and find out. It was an obvious break and I
thought maybe they would consider looking at it
anyway. I found out that they will in fact rate an
animal using just one hip in a case such as this.
I had no future plans to breed her, but I have her
sister, nephew and two pups from this line..
Mine only took a couple of weeks to get back.
They issue you a certificate with your information
Preliminary radiographs as early as 4 months of
age on entire litters are at a reduced cost for 3
or more litter mates. 2 year old radiographs for 3
or more litter mates is also reduced. This is to
aid breeders to add valuable information on the
hip status of dogs they choose to use in a
breeding program. The test that I had done
averaged around $100.00 per animal for medication,
office visit, X-ray's, and OFA fee.
Applications or more information on OFA's
registries are available:
By calling (573)442-0418 Fax Number 573-875-5073
Or writing the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals,
2300 E. Nifong Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201-3856
Visit their web site at http://www.offa.org
E-Mail Address firstname.lastname@example.org
thanks to Andrea for teaching me the importance of
testing, also Marge, HAW and Ghostwuppy.