Painful joint diseases, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, are examples of orthopedic disease commonly passed down to offspring from their parents. It is important for the health of the offspring that we identify and prevent dogs with those diseases from breeding. In order to insure that your dog has healthy hip and elbow joints prior to breeding, it is important that the dog undergo the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certification. This certification requires x-rays (also called “radiographs”) of both hips and elbows to rule out hip and elbow dysplasia. At Southway Animal Clinic, we utilize the OFA-approved x-ray views for evaluation of both hip and elbow joints. We will submit the x-rays to the OFA for you. OFA analysis of the x-rays takes roughly a week. If your dog passes the certification, it can be considered for breeding. If your dog does not pass, spay or castration of that dog should be considered. A microchip is required for permanent identification to perform and submit the x-rays for OFA certification. If your pet does not have a microchip currently, we would be happy to place one the day of certification.
Because the hips and elbows must be stretched and extended, it is more comfortable for your dog to be sedated prior to the x-rays. We use the OFA-approved sedation technique, which not only allow your dog to relax and be comfortable, but also allows us to take more accurate images of the joints. Although general anesthesia is not required for this process, we can take the x-rays during general anesthesia while your pet is anesthetized for another procedure.
For female patients, we recommend waiting 3-4 weeks after the end of heat or lactation to ensure the best possible x-rays. The hormone changes associated with these times can cause relaxation of the joints and lead to animals with healthy hips to not pass certification.
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.