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I was reading the FAQ on the OFA website and its my understanding that a dog does not need to be purebred to be OFA'd which would mean mixed breeds and rescues could be done. So a couple of questions...

a) aside from having an official score, is there another point?
b) how does the dog go into the ofa registry w/o a registered name?
c) how do they verify the dogs DOB or anything else about the dog?

(mods feel free to move if necessary, couldnt figure out which forum it fit into)
 

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I don't know the answer to B or C as I've never looked into OFAing anything but a registered purebred. I'm sure if that information isn't on OFA's website, a call or email to them would answer those questions.

As for A - it is ALWAYS a good idea to know a dog's hip status. Many of the problems associated with HD are due to arthritic change within the joint that develop over time. This can be significantly slowed down by proper diet, exercise and the addition of joint supplements. If the hips are really bad and surgery is needed, the earlier the surgery is done the better the long term prognosis. Mutts and unregistered dogs deserve the same quality of life as purebreds and with the large breeds, and many of the smaller breeds, an important part of that is knowing joint status and intervening for the welfare of the dog when necessary.
 

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If your only concern is for health reasons as in Chris's answer to your question A, you can have the X-rays done and read by a veterinary radiologist. My vet will send them out for a consult at an additional charge. There's not really any reason to get an OFA number on a spayed/neutered dog with an uncertain pedigree, (if it's even possible), but knowing that the hips and elbows are healthy is useful information about any dog, especially if you plan to go into a sport.
 

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True, but the problem is that finding a vet who can take good x-rays with proper positioning is hard enough. Finding one who can properly read the x-ray, interpret what it says and give a somewhat accurate prognosis for the dog is much, much more difficult. If someone doesn't have access to a vet with that kind of knowledge and experience, or doesn't know if their vet has it or not, paying the $35 OFA fee to get an expert opinion is worth it.
 

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Oh, I agree, the OFA fee is well worth the price - I actually paid more for my vet to send out my dogs' preliminary x-rays to a veterinary radiologist than I did to send Dena's films to the OFA once she was old enough for a rating. But I'm not sure if the OFA would even do that since the application asks for a registration number from the AKC, the CKC, or other registry. It's not clear if that's absolutely required, but if so, it wouldn't be possible for a mixed breed dog, and questionable for a rescue. Although maybe with an ILP number? And you'd still need to find an experienced vet to take the films either way.

I was just suggesting a veterinary radiologist as an option for dogs that couldn't use the services of the OFA.
 

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Before I would train a dog of any background for agility, flyball, dock-diving, or anything else that might be hard on their joints, I would want to have their hips and elbows evaluated. Weight pulling, carting, sledding, SAR, and a number of other things come to mind.

I think that even if dogs cannot compete (in AKC events), these things can be very fun for the owners and good for the dogs, but only if the dog is healthy.

Why someone would want a rating from the OFA for this is beyond me, maybe they do not want to take their vet's word for it?

Knowing early on that your dog is likely to have a problem, any large breed dog, mixed or not, might cause you to do things a little differently, supplements, resting boards or cots in a kennel, and providing a safer environment where the dog is unlikely to jump on top of things and off, etc. might be some of the things you might do if you knew your young dog's hips or elbows were questionable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally Posted By: selzer
Why someone would want a rating from the OFA for this is beyond me, maybe they do not want to take their vet's word for it?
yes, this is the question i was getting at. not just having the hips xrayed but going as far as to send them to the ofa. but chris answered that - thank you.

i have gia x rayed every two years [she was diagnosed w/ hd 4yrs ago] and tilden is going to have his first set done next month. an official ofa score is not important to me, as long as i'm confident with what i hear from the vet. if not i may use ofa as a 2nd opinion.

my neighbor works for a mobile vet that travels to most of the Ca dog shows specifically for this service of x rays. its his specialty and i'm going to grap the opportunity of having my pups done (at no cost). if he isnt as experienced as he says - i've lost nothing but a half tank gas


CM - here is what the ofa site says about mixed breeds...

3. I have a mixed breed. Can she get an OFA number?
The OFA does not require dogs to be purebred or registered in order to perform an OFA evaluation or to register test results into our databases.

i assume you just leave the registration number line blank


...and this is all it says in regards to indentification:

PI - Indicates that the animal has been permanently identified in the form of tattoo or microchip. If the dog has been permanently identified AND the identification has been verified by the attending veterinarian, a suffix of VPI is applied. If the animal lacks permanent identification, a suffix of NOPI is applied.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzer

Why someone would want a rating from the OFA for this is beyond me, maybe they do not want to take their vet's word for it?
Well, from my experience, MOST vets do not have the skill at reading x-rays to make taking their word for it a good idea.

I have had, and known people who have had, vets tell them horror stories about their dog's hips based on x-rays, when in truth the hips were fine and passed OFA when sent in. And other cases where the vet said the hips looked fine, but in truth the dog had HD.

Sadly, I even know of one person who put a 8 month old pup to sleep based on their vet's advice that it had bad hips and elbows and the pain and limping the pup experienced was due to the bad hips and elbows, then when they sent the x-rays to the breeder to claim their replacement pup and the breeder had a very experienced radiologist look at the x-rays, it was evident that the pup did NOT have HD or ED, but did have Pano. An 8 month old pup killed for Pano because the vet was an ignornant idiot and the owners "took the vet's word for it."

The opinion of some vets is accurate. That of many is not. Unless the vet has a very solid reputation for accurately reading x-rays, or the owner is educated enough to be able to tell if the vet's opinion is accurate enough, having the x-rays reviewed by experts is never a bad idea.
 

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I agree with Chris. I don't know many vets (atleast in my area) that can *take* decent OFA style X-rays, let alone read them.

It wasn't long ago that I went through quite an ordeal with a vet who did our Apollo's radiographs. She refused to send them to OFA saying that it was obvious he was dysplastic with severe atrophy in his left rear leg. I was heartbroken. Missed class, my husband missed work, and we both cried tons of tears. Meanwhile, I came here and was able to learn that the Xrays she had taken were horrid. I had them retaken by a different vet and they passed OFA. I've since learned that I can trust my new vet's opinions regarding the xrays, he's really quite good, but if this is the first time working with a particular vet, having an outside (expert) opinion is worth the OFA fee, imo. Plus, with OFA, 3 professionals will be reviewing the radiographs and giving independent scores.

JMO.
 

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how detailed is an ofa report? is it just the score and thats it?

i already know that my female has HD, but it might be interesting to send hers in.

also, besides fair, normal, good, and excellent - what do the dogs that fail get? are there different ratings of dysplastic hips?
 

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I have a friend who breeds GSDs and has for many years. She is excellent about getting hips done and has always been. She tells me of one of her bitches that the vet said had terrible hip dysplasia, so she gave him to a farmer under the condition that he put her down when she started suffering. This was many years ago. 11 years went by. She was in the area so she dropped in on the farmer and asked him about the bitch. The farmer told her that she was still alive, in fact she was bringing in the cows. Sure enough she trotted up herding the cows in to be milked, not limping or having any problems whatsoever.
 

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I have two questions related to this post. I have had a recent post in the health forum about potential HD and am interested in maybe getting better x-rays to verify if my dog does have a problem.

1) Do any of you worry about sedating your dog to get good x-rays, or do you wait until the dog has to be sedated for another reason.

2) How does one go about finding a vet that can position a dog properly and get x-rays good enough to be sent to OFA?
 

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#1 I always worry about sedation
#2 I asked around, both to see who did OFAs, and who was affordable.

My own vet wanted $400 for OFA x rays, my friend's country vet? Barely cost me $200 to have him done (that's Hips, elbows, AND the OFA fee).

They don't put the dog fully under. Enough to be sure that the dog doesn't struggle. His x-rays turned out beautifully, and he OFA'd Good with normal elbows
 

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I have used 3 different vets for my OFAs, (well - 4 actually, but the 4th one was not the best). I don't particularly worry about sedating a dog if the vet is good..and whether the dog gets sedated depends more on the dog I have found...my black male would not be not easy to handle upside down so he was sedated. That vet does alot of OFAs and thought he'd go Good, but he went Fair....I have used Dr. Hutchinson as well for a couple, and he has not only been right on, but explained to me WHY the dog would get the rating he predicted - Said Csabres hips were perfect - but that the lenght of the neck between the head and long bone might keep her from being Excellent - she went Good. Another clinic closer to home is also known for repro work and OFAs, and I have had 4 done there, the only one sedated was the male and the x-rays on all were good. This vet knows me and I get to help hold the dogs at her clinic.

I think most of these have been in the neighborhood of $200 for hips and elbows plus OFA fees


Lee
 

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Dr. Hutch told me that Babsy's hips were excellent, they went good. He did say that they may go good, but you would have to ask why.

He said Jenna's were good, but Babsys were phenomenal. I was a bit disappointed by the good rating, but that is just plain stupid. "Good" is great.

I am going to him this Saturday with Rushie.

What I really like is that he gives them some sedation but doesn't put them totally under.

While the drive is a couple of hours, the price tag is not any worse than my vet here. He has digital prints that he can e-mail to the OFA. My vet has to go with film. I know it is not the end of the world, but you can zero in and look at stuff with the digital prints.

I like the guy and trust him. If he tells me my dog has a problem, I will believe him. With a vet that doesn't see so many of these, doesn't have the facilities, the techs to position the dog, etc. I don't know, but if they tell me the dog has a problem, I am going to want a second opinion and not just an ofa. I will want separate prints taken. So, why not fork over in the first place and save the second opinion money.

Also, I am very disappointed that when Arwen was pregnant they detected a mass and had an x-ray, brought me the dog back, and several minutes later, they came back and said they needed to redo the x-ray. Ok, but the bitch is pregnant and now I am out of my mind with worry thinking they found something awful. It turned out to be nothing (after an ultrasound at a veterinary referral they sent me to).

Then when she was due to have the pup. I had her x-ray'd because the pregnancy was weird, the temp dropped, no puppy, due date was there, nesting behavior started, then stopped. I thought I was having uterine inertia. Well, I'll be damned if they didn't do the same thing. Brought the bitch back to me, then had to take her again for still another x-ray.

Sorry, I like my vet and all, but I do not think I want them positioning my dog for his ofas.
 

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I thought the Normal related to the elbows and the Excellent, Good and Fair to the hips. If the dog fails, it gets no rating I think. So, if you look a dog up on the OFA site and nothing shows up, he either failed or was never OFA'ed - right?
 

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Originally Posted By: SBrieGSDI thought the Normal related to the elbows and the Excellent, Good and Fair to the hips. If the dog fails, it gets no rating I think. So, if you look a dog up on the OFA site and nothing shows up, he either failed or was never OFA'ed - right?
Originally Posted By: EastGSDYes. The other reports you can get are: borderline, mild, moderate and severe degenerative joint disease. You can also see a comment on transitional vertebra.
 

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Originally Posted By: SBrieGSDI thought the Normal related to the elbows and the Excellent, Good and Fair to the hips. If the dog fails, it gets no rating I think. So, if you look a dog up on the OFA site and nothing shows up, he either failed or was never OFA'ed - right?
When sending in for OFAs, the owner can decide whether they want negative (failing) results posted on the website. If they decide yes, and the dog fails hips or elbows, that information (including grade, reason for failing) WILL be posted on the website.

If the dog is not listed on the website, either it was not OFAed or failed but the owner opted to not publish negative results.
 

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People seem to believe that purebred dogs have a higher incidence of health problems than mixed breed dogs. This applies to HD as well. Part of the reason people believe this is because people do not submit their mixed breed's health information to organizations like the OFA. When they make up reports on which breeds have which problems, the mixed breed percentage will always be lower because they have less information to go off of. It is a good idea to know the status of your dog's hips so you can know if the status changes and be able to provide supportive and preventative care for your doggie.
 
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