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Is OFA Certification Important Syracuse NY

Dogs in Syracuse are tested for hip dysplasia when they are two years old, or later. Hip dysplasia itself is a debilitating disease in which arthritis damage builds up around the hip joint. This can be seen in dogs as early as two years old. The dysplasia will worsen with age and can become crippling for a dog.

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Is OFA Certification Important

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The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is a not for profit organization that has been around since 1966. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease. The organization originally began by focusing on reducing hip dysplasia in animals (specifically dogs) but today they have expanded into other inherited diseases and other companion animals such as cats.


Dogs are tested for hip dysplasia when they are two years old, or later. Hip dysplasia itself is a debilitating disease in which arthritis damage builds up around the hip joint. This can be seen in dogs as early as two years old. The dysplasia will worsen with age and can become crippling for a dog.


OFA certification for hips in dogs requires that the dog’s hips are x-rayed while he is lying on his back. The x-rays should be done by a qualified veterinarian. It’s best if the vet has some experience with taking x-rays for OFA certification since the angles and other elements involved in getting good x-rays can be difficult. The dog can be lightly sedated or the x-rays can be done without sedation.


After the x-rays are taken they are submitted to the OFA where a panel of three veterinarians looks at them and gives them a rating. There are seven possible hip grades from OFA: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, and Severe. The result is then mailed to the dog’s owner.


OFA hip certification has been incredibly helpful in reducing the amount of hip dysplasia found in many breeds. By testing as many dogs as possible which could potentially be used for breeding, breeders have been able to make informed decisions and have been able to choose dogs with better hips for breeding. Over the last 40 years many breeds have seen their incidence of hip dysplasia drop because of the use of OFA ratings.


OFA certification is now having a similar beneficial effect on other hereditary diseases, such as elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas, cardiac problems, thyroid problems, and the list goes on. The key is not just having the tests done for OFA certification but also having breeders use the information to make good decisions.


More and more health and genetic tests are being added to the OFA databases and virtually every purebred breed club participates in these databases. Cat breeds as well as dog breeds are testing and reporting their results to OFA. Thousands of animals in each breed have participated, creating a good look at the genetic health of the breeds.


Each breed involved has their own set of recommended tests. Although there are over 400 known genetic diseases in dogs, in most cases a breed will only be prone to several of them. These are the problems that breeders will concentrate on testing for in the breed and which OFA will keep records of in their data base. For instance, the German Shepherd records testing for the BAER hearing test, a cardiac test, degenerative myelopathy, hip and elbow dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome, Multiple Drug Resistance, luxating patellas, and thyroid problems. The Pug, on the other hand, includes some of those basic tests (cardiac, hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas, thyroid), but they add Collie Eye Anomaly and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. Each breed is different, depending on the particular health problems that have surfaced in the past.


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