Founded in 1966 by well known philanthropist John Olin, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has dedicated itself to canine health and increasingly the health of other companion animals like cats. In particular, it focuses on the pre-screening, testing, identification, and research of orthopedic and genetic diseases.
The Orthopedic Foundation For Animals And Why It Is Important To Your French Bulldog Ownership
The OFA first gained notoriety by testing dogs – including French Bulldogs – for hip dysplasia after their second birthday. It was deemed critical to identify this crippling affliction in canines as soon as possible, since it gets much worse as dogs age. This is how OFA certification for dog’s hips evolved into a great service and essential tool for breeders looking to satisfy the stringent requirements of potential pet owners.
For hip X-rays, a qualified veterinarian is required to perform the task while the dog lies on his back. OFA certification demands getting all the right angles and pictures, not always a simple task with a dog. In certain cases, sedation may be necessary prior to taking the X-rays.
A three member OFA panel evaluates the X-rays, and rates them according to a seven-grade scale:
The results are then mailed to the dog owner in a fairly quick turnaround.
In large part to the to OFA hip certification, incidences of hip dysplasia have been dramatically reduced.
This type of testing has allowed responsible breeders to make better decisions when it comes to future generations of which dogs to breed. In addition to the OFA ratings, the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) offer key indicators of canine health.
While originally focused on reducing hip dysplasia in dogs, OFA has built up databases and expertise in a number of other areas like:
– Congenital deafness
– Cardiac diseases
– Hip and elbow dysplasia
– Eye diseases
As long as breeders properly use and interpret information from the OFA, they will be equipped to make decisions in the best interests of everyone in the community. With over forty years of experience, OFA continues to build upon its vast database and add more genetic tests covering most dog breeds, including French Bulldogs. With the participation of thousands of animals, it has become easier to evaluate the genetic health of nearly every dog breed imaginable.
Fortunately, the majority of popular dog breeds are only susceptible to a few diseases. For example, French Bulldogs normally should be tested for cardiac disease and patellar luxation (as recommended by the French Bulldog Club of America), in addition to hip dysplasia. By working with the OFA and its partners, breeders and dog owners alike are taking important steps towards achieving an optimum pet ownership experience.