I doubt you will find any reputable breeder who thinks clearances are unnecessary. Clearances, in my opinion, are tools. Breeders use these tools in an effort to make educated breeding decisions. It is about stacking the odds in ones favour of certain conditions not cropping up, however even with generations of clearances something can and will pop up sooner or later. Some may say, if that is the case why bother doing them, I can only imagine an increased frequency of issues presenting themselves if we were dealing with generations of ‘unknown’.
Most in North America (since late 2011) use OFA, aka Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, for screening Hip and Elbow radiographs1. OFA will also report many other test results, more on that below.
Exploring the OFA website can be a little daunting for the first time user, here is a step by step guide to help you find what you are looking for.
When visiting www.offa.org you will find this screen:
Now that we are at that box, here is where things can get tricky and/or frustrating for any user. The dog’s registered name has to be spelled exactly the way it is entered into the database. Because of this, I suggest only inputting the kennel name, hitting ‘enter’, and going from there. Alternatively one can also search using a dogs AKC and/or CKC registration number, however, the same applies, it must be entered correctly for results to be generated. Below is an example using my kennel name.
Next, by clicking on the name you wish to see more information on you will be brought to a screen like this. It lists all pertinent information (Name, Birthdate, Registration Number, Sire and Dam, and all tests that have been submitted to OFA for recording) :
If you continue to scroll down on the above screen you will also find information on Sire and Dam, as well as any other offspring either has produced (again, this only applies if the information has been sent to OFA for recording). To view the above example on the OFA website, please click here.
For a small fee OFA will record the results of other testing agencies, including (but not limited to) BVA, Optigen, AHT etc. DNA, Eye Reports, Cardiologist Reports, Thyroid Results etc. can all be entered into the OFA Database.
Please note, this article will be edited often, so be sure to bookmark this page and check back for the latest up to date additions.
Part 2 – Looking at Clearances, the how to guide: CERF
Part 3 – Looking at Clearances, the how to guide: OFA Printed Reports (coming soon)
Part 4 – Looking at Clearances, the how to guide: Other Schemes (coming soon)
1 – in late 2011 the Ontario Veterinary College and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine announced they were discontinuing their Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Evaluation scheme, leaving only two North American schemes available, OFA and PennHip.