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#1 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to decide if I want to have Miles' hips and elbows OFA'd or not. He's neutered, so it's not for breeding purposes but more for my peace of mind as well as the fact that he's an athlete (agility) and I would like to know if he's at greater risk of injury. We also run with him a lot.

He went to the vet for his annual yesterday and reportedly looks great except he's a couple pounds overweight (whoops) especially for doing what he does. I definitely want him on the leaner side. I've been working so hard with his behavioural stuff that he's been getting lots of treats. His behaviour is improving, but alas his waistline is not. Gotta change that!

Anyway, the vet said that he needs to be sedated for the films to be taken of his hips. I already knew this, but sedation is certainly a concern for me. I just wanted to ask the opinion of more experienced people on this board who do these types of things routinely on their dogs (breeders, etc.) to find out what they've used for sedation and any other words of wisdom. More importantly, knowing that I'm not breeding him should I even get them done.

Oh yeah, for those who don't know, he's a Golden Retriever and is 27 months old.

Thanks!
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#2 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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I know some people don't sedate their dogs for OFA scans. Some sighthound breeds are especially sensitive to anesthesia, so we are careful when using it. The folks I know who haven't used sedation for OFA were basenji people, though. I'm sure it could take a couple of strong people to hold down a larger breed sufficiently enough to get clear films.

I do know you stand a better chance of getting a higher score if your dog is sedated just because of the relaxation of the muscles.

I personally believe that breeders should encourage their pet owners (not just breeding stock) to get OFAs on their dogs since it presents a much more accurate picture of what their lines are producing. It definitely couldn't hurt, right?

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#3 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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I had my lab's hips tested, for the same reason you're describing. We're doing agility, and I wanted to know if I needed to be extra careful (run in preferred) or if I was starting out with tight hips.

I had my guy evaluated by PennHIP. It's more expensive, but gives much better diagnostic evidence if you're concerned about degenerative joint disease. PennHIP gives you a distraction index (DI) - that is, how far can the dog's femur be pulled from the hip socket? The looser that hip is, the greater the chance for DJD throughout life.

I prefer this over OFA's subjective grading, which while it's good for breeders because people can easily understand it and any vet can do OFA films, doesn't tell me much about the tightness of my dog's hips. Other than, while three radiologists were looking at my dog's hips on one day most of them thought "good" rather than "fair." PennHIP uses a preset formula from measurements taken off the film to get the DI - and then through studies have correlated the chance of DJD based upon the DI.

PennHIP will also compare your dogs with other dogs of the same breed. For example, Jake's Hips were in the 80th percentile, so 20% of labs have tighter hips, while 80% are more loose. I found that helpful as well.

PennHIP is more expensive, and only certain vets can do it (they have to take a training course to learn how to correctly position the dogs, to avoid radiographic errors). You dog is also fully sedated.

I'm all for avoiding sedation or anesthesia whenever possible, but for something like hips and elbow testing on a large breed dog who will be used in canine sports, I think the benefits of testing outweigh the risks of sedation. (Now for something like lipoma removal I'd pass and just keep the lump!)

If you want more information on PennHIP you can find it at http://www.pennhip.org/ (The section titled "PennHIP Method" has really good comparative photographs showing how the commonly used "hips extended" view for OFA can mask joint laxity - versus a distraction view)

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#4 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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I agree that you may not need to sedate to get an OFA x-ray. I would use an orthopedic surgeon, or at least an experienced breeder vet that does a lot of OFA's though. They are going to be a lot faster, (important if the dog is going to be awake), and they will get a better x-ray. We do not sedate for prelims. We do a DLS positioned hip x-ray and two additional elbow views when we do finals though, so we do have to sedate for that. Our orthopedic vet has always used ace and we have never had a problem. The dogs are always perky and ready to go by the time we finish looking at the x-rays.

I applaud you for looking into getting clearances on your neutered dog. I wish more pet owners would do this. It really benefits the breed as a whole. I would also urge you to put your dog onto the open heath registry, (OHR), at healthygoldens.com. For pet dogs is okay to put things like "heart okay per GP 4/08", of you aren't going to do eye an heart clearances. Any info you have is better than none. And I love that they have other sections for you to fill out on temperament etc.

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#5 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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I agree that it's great that you want to get his hips tested.

Each of the methods (Penn Hip, OFA) has some drawbacks and some controversy. OFA has been criticized because it can be quite subjective, and I personally know people who have sent in different films, or at different times of the month, on the same dog and gotten VASTLY different scores. OFA is also based on the anatomy of the hips--the arrangement of the ball in the socket, how deep the socket is and how well the ball fits, the roundness of the ball, etc. Basically the "picture" of the hip. OFA is also done based on an x-ray position that may force loose hips more completely into the sockets, so if a dog has a loose hip but good anatomy he'll pass OFA.

Penn Hip takes the opposite approach. Penn Hip depends almost totally on the DI, the distraction index. That's how much the hips can be moved into and out of the socket. Penn Hip doesn't care about anatomy--you can have a really wonky-looking hip (oblong head, for example) and if it's tight it will give you a good Penn Hip score. Penn Hip can also be very difficult to interpret because the percentage score compares the dog only against the existing database within its breed. If your breed has crap hips, your percentage score can be great (say, 80) but your dog can still have loose hips (a DI of 5 or 6). On the other hand, if your breed has tight hips overall, a good DI (in the 3s) may be only 40th or 50th percent. There is also some breeder concern about the fact that the DI measurement can be taken by any vet who takes a short course in Penn Hip. We're worried that some of them may not be doing it consistently.

In my opinion, the best way to get a hip result you can trust is to go to a vet university. We've gone to UPenn for Penn Hip and we've done both methods at Tufts here in MA. If you have the films taken by an orthopedic specialist, you will be able to look at the films with him or her and get an educated view of what they personally see in the films. You will know that the x-ray was done correctly with good positioning, that the sedation was minimal (in all cases I've had dogs out to me 10 minutes after the films were taken, a little drunk but by no means "out"), and honestly after an orthopedist looks at them the OFA or DI score is icing on the cake. You already know whether you've got good hips.

Now if you want to get into a LONG discussion, talk to me about corgi hips...thankfully, Golden hips are pretty straightforward.
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#6 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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Now if you want to get into a LONG discussion, talk to me about corgi hips...thankfully, Golden hips are pretty straightforward.
I want to hear more. I'm extremely ignorant to Corgi conformation, but do they have different hips then a golden because of their length?

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#7 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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This is just my two cents - I would not have hip films done at any old vet I would find a vet that has a large client base composed of breeders or a specialist. You don't need to send the films into OFA, a vet that knows what they are doing can look at the films and tell you one way or the other if you dog has good hips or not.

When I had my dogs hips done, my breeder and I drove about 2 1/2 hours to see a vet that she has gone too for the past 15+ years and ALL the good breeders in the general area go to for their OFA/PennHip and reproductive services. We did my dog and two litter mates without sedating them, all our dogs are reasonably well behaved and there was no struggling or issues getting them into proper position and keeping them there. I know people that start training their dogs as young puppies to lay in the proper position for the xrays to be taken.
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#8 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I personally believe that breeders should encourage their pet owners (not just breeding stock) to get OFAs on their dogs since it presents a much more accurate picture of what their lines are producing. It definitely couldn't hurt, right?

My dogs breeder does this, she encourages pet owners to at least have the hips done. She has been working with a line of dogs that has been OFA'd since the late 70's and has several pages of dogs in the OFA database. As a puppy buyer it made me feel very comfortable being able to see so many of my dogs relatives various tests and results.
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#9 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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On corgi hips:

Basically, the issue is that all corgis have "bad" hips. If you submitted a corgi x-ray as a Lab x-ray, the reviewers would fail him every time. I've seen corgi breeders bragging about a Penn Hip DI in the sixes; this would be an appalling score for a Dane. This is not because of poor breeding or because the breeders just don't care (as has happened in some other small breeds); it's because the dog is genetically dwarfed and that changes the anatomy and laxity of the hips.

We still have OFA giving our dogs scores, and we can get a Penn Hip DI, but we honestly don't know what those scores mean on a practical level. The dwarfed-dog community has never established a scale of function--at what point or anatomy does the hip become painful later in life, at what point does the dog drop out of contention for agility, does that transfer accurately to herding, etc. All we know is that there are individual dogs that we can say are painful and arthritic, but there are many, probably even the majority of, others (with terrible hip scores) that live their whole active lives in what seems to be pain-free happiness.

And of course there are many breeders who (in my opinion) can't see the forest for the trees, and who say that we have to do hips and use the OFA score to make breeding decisions because "that's what good breeders do." I agree, when you can actually say that the OFA score or the Penn Hip DI is an accurate predictor of the dog's later quality of life (as is the case in the larger and the straight-legged dogs). If and when those tests fail to talk about an outcome we can anticipate with a reasonable degree of sureness, I'm not very interested in doing them.

My whole aim in life is to make great dogs who are beautiful, yes, but can do their jobs well and live in a house and have people enjoy them. My focus is on conformation as it leads to longevity and health as it leads to quality of life. So if I can't say to a prospective puppy buyer that the tests I did say something about their likelihood of having this dog for its full genetic lifespan, then why would I do them? After all, that's why I got out of Danes, that I couldn't keep them alive for love nor money and the things they were dying of had nothing to do with the tests I was doing and they were passing.

SO--do I think corgi breeders should look at hips? Heck yes. Do I think the OFA or Penn Hip provide an accurate predictor of what we think they are on a scale even approaching 100%? No, not in these breeds.

My own personal plan is to cart everybody down to whatever vet university has an orthopedist who has seen a lot of dwarfed hips. I will do x-rays and talk about functionality and satisfy myself that the hips are or are not of the sort that will last a lifetime. I don't necessarily plan to then submit them for formal databasing.
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#10 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thanks everybody for your opinions and knowledge! So what I'm getting from the responses is that I should definitely get his hips and elbows done, but that I would be better off having it done by a specialist. Also, that I should look into Penn Hip instead of OFA. Thankfully, NC State's vet school is very close to us. I will talk to my vet about getting a referral there unless he can prove to me that he's done a lot of these things.

I forget what he said that he used for sedation, but it was NOT ace...I asked that specifically. It's some other IV sedative that is reversible. He said that Miles would be pretty much awake, yet groggy, within a minute or two of the reversal agent.

When I get his info, I will definitely post it on the OHR. We had his thyroid done not too long ago as well. It is funny because you'd think his breeder would be interested in this info, but I won't even bother sending it to her. Total mistake of a breeder choice by me Heck, I do more with Miles in terms of training/showing/etc. than she does with her dogs. Now that's really sad. Oh well, live and learn.
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#11 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dogs breeder does this, she encourages pet owners to at least have the hips done. She has been working with a line of dogs that has been OFA'd since the late 70's and has several pages of dogs in the OFA database. As a puppy buyer it made me feel very comfortable being able to see so many of my dogs relatives various tests and results.
That's really great! Is this the same breeder who traded dogs with you so that she could help you figure out what was going on with yours??

We are looking to get another Golden and the breeder we have chosen requires that you OFA hips/elbows as well as CERF and heart test your dog at 24 months.
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#12 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 04:08 PM
 
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NC State is where we had Jake's PennHIP done! I honestly didn't know anything about it until the ortho vets there explained it to me - they offered to submit films for OFA as well, but since Jake isn't breeding stock we opted to just do PennHIP. If you want both they'll be happy to do both for you. We were very pleased with the doctors there I'd highly recommend them.

Whereabouts in NC are you? We were in Winston-Salem at the time.
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#13 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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NC State is where we had Jake's PennHIP done! I honestly didn't know anything about it until the ortho vets there explained it to me - they offered to submit films for OFA as well, but since Jake isn't breeding stock we opted to just do PennHIP. If you want both they'll be happy to do both for you. We were very pleased with the doctors there I'd highly recommend them.

Whereabouts in NC are you? We were in Winston-Salem at the time.
We live in Chatham County, near Carrboro. Where are you now?

Glad to hear about State from personal experience. I will look into getting a referral.
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#14 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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I moved back to Philadelphia unfortunately (for school) and SO got a job in Manhattan. He is a Davidson County native though, so I think we might end up back in Charlotte or the Triangle area some day. I miss it

I hope you have a good experience at NC State like we did
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#15 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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Wow, I had no idea corgis were dwarfed! What other breeds are dwarfed. (Sorry I'm hyjacking the thread, maybe I should start another one.)

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
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#16 of 35 Old 04-09-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Wow, I had no idea corgis were dwarfed! What other breeds are dwarfed. (Sorry I'm hyjacking the thread, maybe I should start another one.)
Basset, Dachshund, PBGV, GBGV, Dandie Dinmont, Sealyham, Scottie, Skye, Peke, Tibetan Spaniel I think, Pembroke, Cardigan, Vallhund, Cesky, ********** Heeler, for sure. Other breeds may be achondroplastic or may just have short legs.
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#17 of 35 Old 04-10-2008, 01:17 AM
 
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That's really great! Is this the same breeder who traded dogs with you so that she could help you figure out what was going on with yours??

We are looking to get another Golden and the breeder we have chosen requires that you OFA hips/elbows as well as CERF and heart test your dog at 24 months.
Yep same breeder. Which reminds me I should update that thread...
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#18 of 35 Old 06-18-2008, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Miles is getting his x-rays done today. We decided to have his hips and elbows OFA'd at our regular vet. I have complete confidence in them as they've done plenty of these films in the past. Plus Miles is very comfortable there. I dropped him off there this morning for daycare and then they will do his films this afternoon. He will be sedated--I am so nervous right now! I'm sure he'll be fine, but if I could just get some positive vibes sent my way I'd appreciate it!

Thanks
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#19 of 35 Old 06-18-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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ooooo--keep us updated!

And HEY! You've got a puppy due next week? Are you freaking out? How exciting!
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#20 of 35 Old 06-18-2008, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will definitely update when we get his results. I hear it takes OFA a billion years to read these things though, is that true?

Yes, puppy is due to be born June 24th! On initial ultrasound at 4 weeks it appeared that there were at least 7 pups in there, so hopefully one of them will be the one for us! The breeder lets them go between 8 and 9 weeks, so we won't be able to get her until August--ack!
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#21 of 35 Old 06-18-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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I don't remember exactly--a few weeks, definitely. Not more than a couple of months, though.
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#22 of 35 Old 06-18-2008, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, that's not too bad.

I just spoke to my vet and Miles did really well. He said that in his opinion his rads look great--YAY! We'll see what the official score is.
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#23 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well we got Miles' OFA stuff back and he's OFA Good for hips, but has Grade 1 dysplasia in both elbows and DJD in both elbows. I'm SO upset What does this mean now?
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#24 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:26 PM
 
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First, congrats on the hips!

Elbows: It means nothing. It means he's the happy dog he is right now, with minimal (Grade 1 is so minimal that something like half of all Rotties have it; Grade 1 elbows are breedable in Europe and many will breed them here) little bits of bone beginning to grow in the joint. It means he'll eventually have a little arthritis there. It means keep him slim, don't be afraid to work him, continue feeding raw, consider a joint supplement. It's FAR from something I'd panic about.
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#25 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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Oh, and DON'T GOOGLE IT! Ok, do google it, but the horror stories are for dogs with severe ED and discordant growth and major arthritis. Miles will probably never even have an issue, at least not until he's much older.
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#26 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG thank you sooo much for that! I was going a little crazy over here

I put a call into my vet and emailed his breeder, so I'll see what each of them say but I am so relieved by what you said!
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#27 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, he runs with us a lot as well as doing agility. Most of our runs are on dirt trail, but he does accompany us on our road runs which can sometimes be up to 6ish miles. Can I do this safely with him still? I'm going to ask my trainer tonight about her thoughts regarding Miles' agility career and if I should consider retraining his a-frame from a two-on two-off contact (stops at the bottom with 2 feet on the frame and 2 on the ground) to a running contact. 2on2off is notoriously hard on elbows and shoulders.
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#28 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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I think that you let him tell you. He may never have a limp, but if he does, then you stick to dirt. You don't want to compensate for this in a way that turns a young and healthy dog into a trapped invalid.

I don't know enough about contacts to give you advice there; you obviously don't want to end up with a dog who jumps off the frame from three feet up because that's going to hurt much more than stopping at the bottom. I suppose if you can train the running contact reliably enough that he really does go down to the bottom, a running approach may be worthwhile.
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#29 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok thanks. He has limped in the past, but that has always seemed more foot pad related than anything elbow (ie. tender red or cracked pads or only limping on our gravel driveway but fine on smoother surfaces). He's slow to get up sometimes, but I just thought that was laziness and he doesn't seem stiff or lame then.

What about jumping out of an SUV? That's probably not too good, eh?

Do you have specific joint supplements that you use? I assume we're talking glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate? I've always heard of Cosequin and Adequan.
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#30 of 35 Old 07-07-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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One of my breeder acquaintances with Danes says that we do more harm having dogs jump out of cars than we do with almost anything else. I would certainly never go that far, but I do try to either encourage a very flat jump or help the dog out of the car.

Supplements: as much raw lung as you can find (some people just can't, because it's not a common food, but if you can figure out a way to get it it's packed with good stuff). Brand names=the one I am hearing the best about is Glyco-Flex III but I am NOT up on the latest.
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