Here at Goldens of Remington Fields, we are part of a small group of family raised breeders that are working to breed healthy dogs with great temperaments. We do PennHip testing on our female and male dogs at 4 months of age to ensure we are breeding dogs with great hips. Our dogs are also Embark tested and on K9 data. Hip dysplasia in golden retrievers is a serious issue that we work together with our breeders to breed the best hips in the country. The small group of breeders we work with have been doing PennHip testing for 3 generations in our dogs bloodline. Our dogs PennHip tests are in the top 10% in the world. We use PennHip over OFA for many reasons that we will go into further little later.
We breed dogs with good hips because their hips are a very important part of their mobility just like our hips are to us. Hip dysplasia can occur as young as 2 to 5 years old. Hip dysplasia causes intense pain when the dog walks. The only way to correct this problem / pain for the dog is to have surgery. Hip replacement surgery can be very costly to upwards of $10,000.
There are 2 testing agencies that test for hip dysplasia. PennHip and OFA.
What does OFA stand for ? It stands for Orthopedic Foundation of Animals. OFA was developed in 1966 and really hasn’t been changed or modified since then. OFA is a x-ray taken at 2 years old. This x-ray is then graded on a simple 7 point scale by a small group of radiologist. Thus it is graded Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, or Severe. With a very vague scale, it is the opinion of the small group of radiologist how the dogs hips are graded. OFA has a data base for the testing done. The owner can choose to report his dogs rating to the public website data base or not, so there is some bias when comparing within a breed, since it is possible to exclude those dogs with poor or dysplastic ratings.
PennHip testing is a newer way to test hips in dogs. PennHip stands for University of Pennslyvania Hip Improvemet Program and was developed by Dr Gail K Smith in 1993. Testing can be done at 16 weeks and normally done again at 2 years to confirm the testing done at 16 weeks. PennHip testing requires the dog to be anesthetized while 3 radiographs are taken to measure the hip joint laxity. The hip results are then given a rating between 0 and 1. A rating of 0 is very tight hips and a 1 is very loose hips. The average PennHip rating is .54 of golden retrievers. All PennHip testing is recorded to the database whether good or bad scores are given.
Here are a few links we have found that can help you understand the difference between OFA and PennHip.