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Hudson's Malamutes - Frequently Asked Questions

31. This is a little information on OFA certification and the ability of a dog to perform with dysplasia. And some of the myths behind this subject.

  1. One myth that has circulated around for many years is that a dog can not be OFA hip certified for dysplasia until two years of age.... THIS IS FALSE. A dog can be certified at any time in their life. A dog that is certified before two years of age is certified as "Preliminary Evaluated". The information in this paragraph is taken from the OFA web site:

    http://www.offa.org/hipprelim.html -. "Reliability of preliminary evaluations increased as age at the time of preliminary evaluation increased, regardless of whether dogs received a preliminary evaluation of normal hip conformation or HD. For normal hip conformations, the reliability was 89.6% at 3-6 months, 93.8% at 7-12 months, and 95.2% at 13-18 months. These results suggest that preliminary evaluations of hip joint status in dogs are generally reliable."

    What that means is that a dog CAN be certified at any age. And if you read and understand the information above what that means is if a 3-6 month old puppy is OFA preliminary certified then the reliability of that puppy having the same certification at 2 years is almost 90% likely. So if your dog has dysplasia you can most likely rely on his/her OFA ratings at any age of the dogs life.

  2. Another myth is that a dog can not perform with hip dysplasia. THIS IS FALSE. Below you will find two dogs that have been weight pulled and found later to have hip dysplasia. As you can see with the information below both dogs pulled many times their weight. So if a breeder tells you that "my dog can jump/play or weight pull so it must not have dysplasia" is most likely not very experienced and should be looked at carefully.
    I am not advocating weight pull with dysplastic dogs, merely using them as an example.

     
     
    CASCADES QUEEN CLEOPATRA 134 LB FEMALE
    Registration: WS03965804
    Sire: WR06306801  
    Dam: WR01466701
    Birthdate: May 8 2003 
    OFA HIPS Oct 28 2005  28 mo. MILD DYSPLASIA
     
    PULL RESULTS

    Date/
    7/30/2005
    7/2/2005
    5/29/2005

    Location/
    Vancouver, WA
    Rough&Ready,CA
    Sparks, NV

    Org/
    APA
    APA
    APA

    Type
    Rails/ Rails
    Wheels/Art
    Wheels/Nat
    Weight Class/
    150#
    150#
    150#

    Place
    1
    1
    1

    Entries/
    1
    1
    1
    Weight Pulled/
    1,640
    3,970
    2,810

    Time/
    33.75
    21.66
    11.47
    Dog Weight/
    136
    134
    134

    Perc
    12.06
    29.63
    20.97
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    WOODLANDS NORDIC BREEZE 103 LB FEMALE
    Registration: WR04909501
    Sire: WP99051201
    Dam: WP83709605
    Birthdate: Sep 5 2001 
    OFA HIPS Apr 5 2004 30 mo. SEVERE DYSPLASIA
     
    PULL RESULTS

    Date/
    2/22/2003

    Location/
    Yakima,WA

    Org/
    IWPA

    Type
    Wheels/Carpet
    Weight Class/
    125#

    Place
    2

    Entries/
     
    Weight Pulled/
    1050

    Time/
    7.50
    Dog Weight/
    104

    Perc
    10.10%

  3. One other myth on hip dysplasia is that just because mom and dad are OFA certified clear of dysplasia and don't have this problem the puppies won't either. THIS IS FALSE. Both parents can have Excellent hips and still have hip dysplatic puppies. Many breeders hide behind an "OFA piece of paper" that says "my dog is not dysplastic".

    Dysplasia literally means bad development. The hip joint of the dog is typically reported as normal at birth. After birth, something (genetic or environmental) initiates a bad fit between the socket (acetabulum) and the ball (head of the femur). In dysplastic dogs, the hip joint is weakened and is more subject to injury by normal activity. Hip Dysplasia is defind as a "polygenetic trait". What that means is that there are more than one gene involved in producing the disease. Hip dysplasia is not very predictable in many cases. Environment, diet, exercise (too much/too little), injuries, also jumping, rough housing with other dogs or even running and tripping among other things etc. are also other factors of hip dysplasia. So just because both parents have good hips doesn't mean that their progeny (offspring) will produce sound hip dysplastic free puppies. Taking in account the siblings of previous litters, siblings of the parents & grandparents are also things to consider when planning breedings between dogs. Knowing as much as you can about your bloodlines and what they have produced in the past is part of learning and knowing about hip dysplasia. And these are some of the things that good breeders should be able to explain to you.

    Just as I have stated in other places on my site I have had an OFA Excellent dog have 25% hip dysplastic puppies - not a good %. The malamute was spayed and placed in a pet home. As a breeder the best I can do is learn and improve with knowledge of my dogs and its progeny. Having great puppy owners keeping me updated helps make me a better breeder. Many breeders think that because their dog is beautiful and is free of dysplasia this excuses them to keep breeding knowing that their dog has had problems with pups being dysplastic in the past. Would it be OK for me to have kept breeding the OFA Excellent dog knowing that there were most likely going to be more hip dysplastic pups? I THINK NOT.... Always be aware that your dog is only as good as the breeder behind it. The more years a breeder has been breeding, the more generations you can see or research on and the good reputation of that breeder and what they stand for, is what to look for. And always be aware that just because they have a clear OFA certification there is more to breeding than "Just a piece of paper".

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
© 2004-2013 Jolene Houghtaling
Hudsons Huskies and Malamutes
P.O. Box 241
Baxter, TN 38544
(931) 432-0955
Pups@HudsonsMalamutes.com