Why OFA Certifications Are So Important for Your Dog

Posted on June 15, 2021 by Pinnacle Pet

Did you know that many genetic diseases affect our favorite furry friends? The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, or OFA, has been on a mission since its founding in 1966 to track these diseases. This gives the OFA the ability to advise breeders on responsible practices, in order to limit the spread of genetic diseases. By tracking these genetic diseases across generations the OFA can certify dogs as clear from transmitting the disease, allowing their offspring to be deemed safe from the various diseases which the OFA monitors.

Genetic Diseases in Dogs
You may be wondering what some of the most common genetically based diseases in dogs are. Below we’ll discuss some of the common diseases which the OFA tests for. If your dog has not been tested for these diseases yet, you can go online to ofa.org to order tests.  

1. Canine Hip Dysplasia
Canine hip dysplasia begins to affect dogs as they age. If your dog has the disease, its hip joints will loosen and become unstable. This condition can be exacerbated by age and weight gain. Affected dogs will lose cartilage over time and begin to develop bone spurs in their hip joints. Canine hip dysplasia occurs most frequently in large breed dogs.

2. Patellar Luxations
According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, “Patellar luxation is one of the most common orthopedic conditions in dogs, diagnosed in 7% of puppies. The condition affects primarily small dogs, especially breeds such as Boston and Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and miniature poodles.” The disease affects the knees of your dog. In many cases, the condition affects both knees and can cause your dog to lose mobility.

3. Cardiac Disease
The OFA website states that “Congenital heart disease in dogs is a malformation of the heart or great vessels.” Often these heart defects are transmitted genetically. When breeders or pet owners have their dogs screened for cardiac disease it helps the OFA keep accurate records, which can help prevent transmission. 

4. Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is another genetically transmitted condition which the OFA screens for. Often, an affected dog will not exhibit signs of Hypothyroidism until 3-4 years of age. The condition can cause weight gain and skin problems. Fortunately, if after screening it is found that your dog has hypothyroidism, there are supplements that treat the condition.    

Importance of the OFA
At Pinnacle Pet, we wholeheartedly support the work of the OFA. Their work is vastly important for breeders and pet parents alike. By participating in screening by the OFA, breeders can ensure that their breeding practices yield healthy puppies. Every breeder or individual that participates in the OFA’s program contributes to their ever-expanding database and benefits dogs and dog families. We support the OFA, and we encourage you to support them too. Visit OFA’s website to learn more.

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