Testing

Testing

Sources

The OFA records health records from various sources.

  • Radiographs submitted to OFA for evaluation
  • Phenotypical/Physical Exams performed by your veterinarian or by a specialist at a health clinic.
  • Serum/Blood/Skin/Urine Samples sent to a testing facility or performed in-house by your veterinarian.
  • DNA Testing performed by our partner at the University of Missouri, Veterinary Molecular Genetics Laboratory
  • DNA Testing owners have had performed. We honor patents and will only accept from the patent holders or licensed facilities.

Physical Exams

The dog is examined and classified by the attending veterinarian according to the application and general information instructions. The veterinarian then completes the application form indicating the results of the dog’s evaluation.

The application and fee can then be sent to OFA by email or postal mail. The attending veterinarian and owner are encouraged to submit all evaluations, whether normal or abnormal, for the purpose of completeness of data. There is no OFA fee for entering most abnormal evaluations in the data bank.

An OFA number will be issued and certificate sent for all dogs found to be normal at the minimum required months of age or older.

The OFA does not send out reports for abnormal evaluations when you already know the results.

  • Basic Cardiac
  • Dental
  • Patella

Radiographs

Radiographs submitted to the OFA should follow the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for positioning.

The radiograph must be permanently identified with the animal’s registration number or name, the date the radiograph was taken, and the veterinarian’s name or hospital name. If this required information is illegible or missing, the OFA cannot accept the film for registration purposes. Both the owner and vet should complete and sign their respective sections of the OFA application. It is important to record on the OFA application the animal’s tattoo or microchip number in order for the OFA to submit results to the AKC. Sire and dam information should also be present.

Radiography of females in estrus or pregnant should be avoided due to possible increased joint laxity (subluxation) from hormonal variations. OFA recommends radiographs be taken one month after weaning pups and one month before or after a heat cycle. Physical inactivity because of illness, weather, or the owner’s management practices may also result in some degree of joint laxity. The OFA recommends evaluation when the dog is in good physical condition.

Chemical restraint (anesthesia) is not required by OFA but chemical restraint to the point of muscle relaxation is recommended. With chemical restraint, optimum patient positioning is easier with minimal repeat radiographs (less radiation exposure) and a truer representation of the hip status is obtained.

Veterinarians are encouraged to register for electronic (emailed) submissions and include a scanned copy of the application so we may get both together and not have to match up with a faxed application.

For now, OFA is still accepting physical radiograph films, but as they are becoming less used, at some date the cost of processing them for the number we receive will be prohibitive.

We also accept the images on CD or memory stick, but only directly from the veterarian. Owner-submitted media will be returned and the application will not be processed.

When a radiograph arrives at the OFA, the information on the radiograph is checked against information on the application. The age of the dog is calculated, and the submitted fee is recorded. The board-certified veterinary radiologist on staff at the OFA screens the radiographs for diagnostic quality. If it is not suitable for diagnostic quality (poor positioning, too light, too dark or image blurring from motion), it is returned to the referring veterinarian with a written request that it be repeated. An application number is assigned.
Hip and Elbow radiographs of animals 24 months of age or older are independently evaluated by three randomly selected, board-certified veterinary radiologists from a pool of 20 to 25 consulting radiologists throughout the USA in private practice and academia. Each radiologist evaluates the animal’s status considering the breed, sex, and age.

The radiologist is concerned with deviations in these structures from the breed normal. The radiologist will grade the area with one of several different physical (phenotypic).

This process takes 2-3 weeks.

The OFA will compile the consensus of the evaluations and assign an OFA number and issue a certificate for normal dogs or send a dysplastic report to the owner.

Veterinarians are sent weekly reports of the results of the submitted radiographs.

The OFA submits results monthly to the AKC if the permanent ID is supplied on the application.

  • Hips
  • Elbows
  • Spine
  • Shoulders
  • Tracheal Hypoplasia

Laboratories

Each dog is to be examined by an attending veterinarian and have a sample sent to an OFA approved laboratory for testing according to the application and general information instructions. The laboratory fee will be determined by the approved laboratory. All OFA forms and the OFA fee are submitted with the sample to the approved lab. Check with the referral laboratory for special sample handling and tests for registry purposes.

The laboratory sends the results of the testing and your application form to the OFA.

The OFA will record the results in our database and issue an OFA number and certificate for passing results.

For abnormal results, the OFA will issue a report and forward the laboratory results to the owner and return any payment included as there is no charge to record abnormal results.

  • Thyroid
  • Kidney
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
  • Serum Bile Acid

Here is a list of the laboratories and their contact information:

DNA Testing

The OFA records results for many known genetically tested diseases. Here is a list of them and which labs provide them:

University of Missouri Molecular Animal Genetics Laboratory

The OFA has an exclusive arrangement with the University of Missouri for certain DNA Tests.

You order a DNA testing kit on the OFA website.

The OFA will send out the test kit which will include an FTA card and Foam-Tipped Applicator for DNA sample collection, along with FTA sample collection instructions.

Using the FTA card technology, owners can safely collect DNA samples at home. The collection process is non-invasive, and no veterinary appointment is necessary. Samples are then sent to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine where the samples will be processed by the Small Animal Molecular Genetics Lab. Results will be forwarded to the OFA, and the OFA will issue the resulting report to the owner. Results and the OFA certificate will be sent electronically to the email address used when placing the order.

We get status updates when University of Missouri receives your sample and also when they process your sample with the others to make up a batch. You may see if the Lab has received your sample and whether they have processed it yet: We do not receive interim status updates from any other lab. We only know when the results are submitted to us.

The OFA will record the results in our database and issue an OFA number and certificate for passing results.

For abnormal results, the OFA will issue a report of the results to the owner.

Other DNA Testing Laboratories

The OFA will also record DNA testing results you have received other than through the University of Missouri.

Here is a list of the laboratories and their contact information:

Complete the DNA submission , scan the lab report(s) and include the registration fee.

The owner is encouraged to submit all evaluations, whether normal or abnormal, for the purpose of completeness of data. You may also indicate that abnormal results not be released to the public but only used for breed health statistics. There is no OFA fee for entering abnormal evaluations in the data bank if the results are made open to the public.

The OFA will record the results in our database and issue an OFA number and certificate for passing results.

The OFA does not send out reports for abnormal evaluations when you already know the results.

Health Clinics

Various breed clubs and organizations will host a Health Clinic and invite veterinarians and specialists to provide their services at that location.

Please check the OFA Health Clinic Calendar to find when and where and which services will be available.

Specialists

Certain tests may only be submitted when performed by a board-certified specialist.

Notably CAER Eye exams and Advanced Cardiac exams.

Please refer to their respective website to learn more:
Americal College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
Americal College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Another way of finding the specialists is to attend one of the Health Clinics mentioned above. Check the OFA Health Clinic calendar to find out when and where.

The specialist will complete the exam and you will directly receive a copy of the results and a statistics-only copy will be sent to the OFA.

You may choose to submit the results for inclusion onto your dog’s OFA record. There is no OFA fee for entering abnormal evaluations in the data bank if the results are made open to the public.

The OFA will record the results in our database and issue an OFA number and certificate for passing results.