OFA FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

 

  After reading this page, you can visit our other OFA pages, by using the links below

Click on a Question below to view the answer:

  1. What does OFA stand for?
  2. What does OFA do?
  3. What is Hip Dysplasia?
  4. Can these test be done on any type of canine?
  5. How is this test done?
  6. How old does the animal need to be?
  7. Which animals should be tested?
  8. When should the test not be done?
  9. Will the animal need to be sedated?
  10. Why can't I just have my vet read the X-rays?
  11. What happens to the X-rays when they are sent in?
  12. Why Test?
  13. My animal has had a hip injury, can I still get the test done?
  14. How long does the test take to get back?
  15. What does this test cost?
  16. How do I Contact OFA?




What does OFA stand for?

OFA stands for The Orthopedic Foundation For Animals.

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What does OFA do?

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.

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What is Hip Dysplasia?

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 programs.

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Can these test be done on any type of canine?

The OFA's registry serves all breeds. They will test all canines and list mixed breeds as "hybrids".

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How is this test done?

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.

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How old does the animal need to be?

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.

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Which animals should be tested?

Any and all animals that are bred should be tested.
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.

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When should the test not be done?

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 physical condition.

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Will the animal need to be sedated?

Chemical restraint (anesthesia) is not required by OFA but chemical restraint to the point of muscle relaxation is recommended.

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Why can't I just have my vet read the X-rays?

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 hips is.

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What happens to the X-rays when they are sent in?

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.

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Why Test?

This practice can be effective in reducing the frequency of CHD if it is used over generations.

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My animal has had a hip injury, can I still get the test done?

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..

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How long does the test take to get back?

Mine only took a couple of weeks to get back. They issue you a certificate with your information on it.

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What does this test cost?

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.

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How do I Contact OFA?

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 ofa@offa.org

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


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