A radiologist looks at more than just the joints though. He looks that the spine and everything else that's in the photos. One of my dogs had narrowing at L4-5 that he thought we needed to keep an eye on, for example. OFA didn't mention it, of course.
Hips and elbows are protocol, but if my dog is sedated, I get spine, knees and shoulders too (these also show internal organs like spleen, prostate, and heart). If nothing is wrong, great. We have baseline xrays that we can refer to when the dog is an adult/senior if problems arise. For example, if the spleen looks enlarged, is that what the dog's spleen has always looked like? Or is that something new?
I understand fully the risk of subjecting a dog (esp a young dog) to radiation from xrays. But I have a pup (conscientious breeder, good pedigree, both OFA good parents) that I'm managing VERY differently than I had been because I had his hip xrays done at 7 months old. He had no discernible symptoms of dysplasia. They were essentially routine xrays.
But he has severe dysplasia, and the radiologist was able to give me (and the orthopedic surgeon and rehab vet specialist) additional information regarding joint deterioration and even muscle atrophy-- not just a rating.
All of this info is invaluable to managing a dog with dysplasia.
So I hate to disagree with my good friend Cassidy's Mom on this one, but I think a good radiologist is well with the cost.