OFA CERTIFICATIONS

Basic Cardiac Database

Examination and Classification
Each dog is to be examined and classified by a veterinarian with expertise in the recognition of canine heart disease, in accordance with procedures outlined in The Basic Cardiac Exam section.

Clearance Issued
A breed registry number will be issued for any dog found to be normal for cardiac disease at 12 months of age or older. The exam is based on auscultation. The breed registry number will indicate the age at evaluation and the type of examiner (C-cardiologist, S-specialist, and P-practitioner). Since acquired heart disease may develop later, these evaluations are valid for 1 year from the time of examination and annual exams are recommended.

Preliminary Evaluation
Dogs under 12 months of age can be evaluated for the owner’s information. The most opportune time to gather this data is at 8–10 weeks of age, prior to the puppy’s release to the new owner.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint, but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity. This breakdown of the cartilage will eventually result in pain with any joint movement.

No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. The severity of the disease can be affected by environmental factors, such as caloric intake or level of exercise. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic x-ray evidence that are severely lame.

Check canine hip dysplasia statistics by breed.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Database
The dysplasia control database of the OFA is a voluntary program
established to evaluate radiographs and to identify films showing
no radiographic evidence of dysplasia or other orthopedic problems. All films submitted that are of acceptable diagnostic quality will be reviewed by a qualified veterinary radiologist and a report will be returned to the owner of record and referring veterinarian.Only animals that are 12 months of age or older to the day at the time of radiography, with no radiographic evidence of Legg-Calve-Perthes or dysplasia, will be assigned a breed Legg-Calve-Perthes number

Patellar Luxation

The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial or lateral position.
Bilateral involvement is most common, but unilateral is not uncommon. Animals can be affected by the time they are eight weeks of age. The most notable finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible, and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot can be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.
Patellar luxations fall into several categories:

  1. Medial luxation (toy, miniature, and large breeds)

  2. Lateral luxation (toy and miniature breeds)

  3. Lateral luxation (large and giant breeds)

  4. Luxation resulting from trauma (various breeds, of no importance to the certification process)

Numbers 1-3 are either known to be heritable or strongly suspected.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:

  • Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)

  • Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)

  • Ununited anconeal process (UAP)

Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc.. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.

Veterinarian Dentition Exam
Adult teeth must be fully erupted for evaluation

Congenital Deafness Database
BAER testing is done on canines at least 35 days old.

DNA TEST
BLOOD DRAWS FOR TESTING