Foundation for Animals (OFA)
Hip dysplasia is a genetic trait in dogs (and cats) which
means there is more laxity in the hip joints than normal. This
leads to arthritis, degenerative changes to cartilage and bones.
Radiographs can be used to assess arthritic changes in the joints.
The amount of laxity can also be assessed with the animal in specific
positioning while under anesthesia. If an animal is identified with
increased laxity, or dysplasia, they can be
excluded from the breeding population; thereby, the genetics for dysplasia can be bred out of breeds.
The OFA has
specific guidelines for assessing the hips to evaluate them for laxity,
or hip dysplasia. It is a subjective
method. While the animal is laying on
their back under anesthesia, the hind legs are pulled back
symmetrically. The radiographs are evaluated and a rating given to
the animal (i.e., excellent, good, fair). The dog must be 2 years
of age before the hips can be evaluated. For more details, go to http://www.offa.org