OFA health testing isn’t perfect, but it is really, really important.
If you are looking to purchase a Great Dane puppy, you need to read this post!
OFA stands for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. It is a professional organization that was founded over 50 years ago and their mission is “To improve the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease,”
One of the most common disorders that can be passed on from parents to puppies is Hip Dysplasia.
Hip Dysplasia is painful, debilitating and expensive to treat. It’s also largely preventable through ethical breeding practices and OFA Health Testing.
This is where the OFA comes in.
Every breeder should OFA Health test their dogs, though many unfortunately skip this step or only do some of it!
OFA HEALTH TESTING FOR GREAT DANES
To be fully OFA Health Tested and receive a CHIC # (more on this below), a Great Dane must be age 2+ and pass the following exams before being bred:
OFA Exam or PENNHIP (these are x-rays, usually done under sedation and reviewed by multiple veterinarians).
Performed by an ACVO board certified Ophthalmologist.
OFA Evaluation from an approved laboratory (Blood Test)
Advanced, congenital or basic Cardiac Exam. Exam must include an echocardiogram.
Both the DAM & the SIRE must complete and pass these tests to be considered ‘fully health tested’.
As you can imagine, this process is lengthy, expensive, and may provide results that a breeder doesn’t want to hear.
Many breeders skip OFA health testing, or worse: only do the bare minimum (just the eye exam or blood work for example) so they can use the word “OFA” as a buzzword in their marketing.
Some breeders will say they ‘health test’ their dogs and hope that you aren’t savvy enough to know the big difference between a vet-check and full breeder OFA health testing.
Failure to complete these tests could mean that the dogs being bred are passing on bad genetics.
FACT: We do NOT support breeders who breed or stud out their Great Danes without completing FULL OFA Health Testing on both Dam & Sire.
THE ELUSIVE OFA CHIC #
Once a breeder has taken their dog for all of these tests, the dog has passed all of the tests, and the paperwork has been completed the OFA gives them a CHIC # and certificate for that dog.
Both the DAM and SIRE dogs should have these tests complete before any breeding happens.
A CHIC # is a badge of honor for a dog and for the breeder, and something they are immensely proud of!
Ask your breeder for the CHIC# of both the DAM and the SIRE of the dogs they are breeding.
You will be able to take this CHIC # and verify it at www.OFA.org.
Dogs that are fully OFA Health tested before breeding are MUCH less likely to pass on the following painful, sometimes deadly and expensive conditions:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia (if tested)
- Cardiac disease and disorders
- Thyroid disease and disorders
- Eye disease and disorders
You will likely have to pay more for a puppy from fully OFA Health tested parents, but you’ll be receiving a dog that will be much less likely to cost you later in veterinary bills!
Choosing ethical, thorough, thoughtful breeders really makes a difference.