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Is it pretty much standard GSD protocol to have their hips/elbows checked via OFA? I have no reason to question my dogs based on her breeding nor will I be breeding her, but I was just wondering. Afterall, if something did show up, I assume it's easier to manage the earlier it's known. Thoughts?

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In my opinion it should be- but not necessarily OFA. At the least have a qualified vet do the x-rays and then a qualified radiologist read them, for the reasons you stated along with the breeder knowing how their progeny is turning out. I would have prelim's done before a year, just for the peace of mind, especially if the dog is doing sportwork.
 

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Yes, for REALLY bad hips or elbows surgery might be indicated. For marginal hips, you can at least limit jumping and certain kinds of exercise and put the dog on supplements. You can't get her OFA certified until she's two, but you can prelim now.

I had Halo's hips and elbows x-rayed when she was spayed last month. Since hers came back as normal elbows and good hips, I don't know if I'll bother getting her OFA'd when she's two. My vet does it under sedation, so it made sense to do the x-rays while she was under for surgery.

Even if you don't plan to breed her, it's a good idea to at least do the prelims. There are no lines that are completely free of HD, so a good pedigree is not enough to ensure that she'll be free of it either.
 

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Jane, for Dena my vet sent the films out to a consulting radiologist, but it was actually more expensive than OFA would have been, so I went ahead and sent Halo's prelims to the OFA instead.
 

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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.
 

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Now what if you have a perfectly healthy young adult showing no signs of any kind of dysplasia. Is it worth it to sedate a perfectly healthy dog for some x-rays?
 

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Originally Posted By: Cassidys MomJane, for Dena my vet sent the films out to a consulting radiologist, but it was actually more expensive than OFA would have been, so I went ahead and sent Halo's prelims to the OFA instead.
I am lucky~there is a top radiologist in my area that did the x-rays and read Karlo's prelims. I trust his judgement. And the price for the prelims was only $130 for H & E.
I did not have spine/organ x-ray's
Originally Posted By: Lucy DogNow what if you have a perfectly healthy young adult showing no signs of any kind of dysplasia. Is it worth it to sedate a perfectly healthy dog for some x-rays?
Karlo only had to be aced to relax him, so there was no need to give antesthesia
 

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Often times a dog with dysplasia will indeed show no signs, and can also go onto having quite a career in a number of dog sport venues. Seen it more times than I can count. GSD's are also very stoic and will also carry on and never let you know they might be feeliing pain. So yes, it is always good knowledge to have and the only way to know for absolutely sure is via xray.

By knowing one way or the other you know your dogs abilities and limitations and also what to look for when suddenly they don't seem right.

And again, it gives the breeder knowledge hopefully they will put to use.
 

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It is good to know. If my dogs were purely pets I am not sure if I would have it done unless they were showing symptoms, but I like to be very active with my dogs and do agility and things so I want to know how their joints are doing. My previous two dogs had x-rays done but one was showing symptoms of hip dysplasia when I rescued him so it was a given. My Golden Retriever Ginger was in agility so I had hers done as well, which showed some mild joint changes beginning (common for her age.) She eventually developed spinal spondylosis though so she had plenty more x-rays taken and her hips never really deteriorated. Her spondylosis became very severe as she aged but I kept her exercise up and her weight down so it was never a big hindrance to her.
Bianca's hips and elbows were OFA'd (good/normal) by her previous owner.
 

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Originally Posted By: Lucy DogNow what if you have a perfectly healthy young adult showing no signs of any kind of dysplasia. Is it worth it to sedate a perfectly healthy dog for some x-rays?
They don't always SHOW signs and not all vet sedate.
 

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How much do the prelim x-rays usually run and when would be a good age to have them done?
 

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Hmmm didn't know they didnt have to be sedated. Next time i go in to the vet, i'll have to ask about getting this done. I figured the dog would have to be sedated to get them in the perfect position.

Any idea how much it typically costs to have this done?

This is something i'm definitely going to look into now. HD and ED is something thats always on the back of my mind just because i have such an active dog.
 

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Just make sure your vet is experienced in proper positioning, or you'll be wasting your money. There was a thread awhile back on costs for prelims and it averages from $150 to 300 depending on your locale. I'm not sure which forum it was in, puppy or health.
 

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My vet said that if I wanted to OFA, in order to get the right positioning for a good OFA x-ray they'd have to sedate.
 

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There are only two clinics here in town that people go to for OFA. One sedates across the board and the other gives the dog a chance and then sedates if needed. When I got my boy done last month, I went to the one that didn't sedate automatically. It is very hard to get a dog to lay perfectly still and relaxed on his back while his legs are being pulled straight back so I can see why most vets will just sedate everyone. My dog was perfectly happy and relaxed as long as he had his ball in his mouth and his belly was being rubbed and wasn't sedated.

I paid $300 for hips and elbows and that included the OFA fee.

I personally wouldn't do prelims unless I had a lot of extra money laying around. Most dogs have to be sedated and I'm not a fan of doing that any more often than I absolutely have to.

I would do them if I were thinking about keeping that dog for breeding as it would help make the decision to keep the dog and/or spay/neuter them.
 

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Originally Posted By: ChicagocanineMy vet said that if I wanted to OFA, in order to get the right positioning for a good OFA x-ray they'd have to sedate.
Nope. Camper wasn't sedated.

We work our pups from the first (well maybe second...) day they arrive to accept lying on their backs, having their tummies rubbed, and being handled (toes, ears, teeth, etc being inspected). We hold them with their heads in our laps, toes facing our toes, and increase the duration as time goes on.

I also bring them to the vet's office to be weighed, to meet and greet the staff, for friendly handling (being petting, picked up, played with, etc) often -- outside of regular exams.

When I wanted Camper's OFA films taken, he accepted being placed on his back by staff that he knew and was comfortable with. He didn't quite seem to understand why his leg was being pulled at first. The vet said that he'd tense up the leg. So she just stood for a few minutes, talked to him, and rubbed his tummy and thigh, as she pulled the foot slowly into position. (Then she told him to wait and he lay still).

The xrays came out clear and were easily read by the radiologist and OFA.

I train all my pups the same way, not specifically for *OFA* xrays, but because I want them to accept handling when necessary. Xrays, ultrasounds, cystos... these all go faster and easier if the dog is willing to accept being put in awkward positions for a few minutes. And it's safer for the dog.


If my dogs have to be sedated anyhow, then I'll get xrays at the same time. But my dogs don't need to be sedated to get them. But it takes training, pretty much every day...
 

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In trying to pinpoint an elbow/leg issue, they're doing xrays on Anna. I decided to go ahead and have her hips done too so I know what's in there and we know if we'll be facing anything down the road.
 

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Originally Posted By: ChicagocanineMy vet said that if I wanted to OFA, in order to get the right positioning for a good OFA x-ray they'd have to sedate.
Much depends on the skill of the vet, personality of the dog, and also the equipment used (does the vet have a V wedge to lie the dog in or is the dog flat on a table). Takes more time and patience, and may waste a few films (less of a concern with today's digital x-rays) but it can be done. Many vets do them without sedation, or at least try and only go to sedation if the dog just will not cooperate.
 
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