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OFA Hips OFA Elbows CERF OFA Thyroid OFA Cardiac von Willebrand's Bloat (GDV) Study Dog Owner's Reference

OFA Hips


This is an actual copy of an OFA clearance for hip dysplasia. Inside the red box I have drawn on the certificate is the actual OFA registry number.  This number contains several elements that give you quite complete information about this exam.


Here is how it breaks down:



  1. BF:  The first two letters of the OFA Registry Number are an indication of the breed of the dog.  In this case it stands for Bouvier des Flandres.  On an OFA certificate for a Shetland Sheepdog, the first two letters will be "SS".
  2. 2565:  The next group of numbers before the letter (in this case, the letter "G") indicate how many Bouvier des Flanders (or whichever breed of dog you are concerned with) have been screened for OFA Hip Dysplasia prior to this particular dog.  In this case, this dog is the 2,565th Bouvier to have been screened for Hip Dysplasia.
  3. G:  This is the actual rating for this dog's Hips.  "F" stands for Fair.  "G" stands for Good.  "E" stands for Excellent.  Certificates are not issued for dog's that have any form of Dysplasia.
  4. 24:  This tells you this dog's age, in months, when the exam was completed.  This dog was 24 months old at the time of his OFA Hip exam.  24 months/2 years is the minimum age for a dog to receive this particular certificate.
  5. M: Designates (M) Male or (F) Female.
  6. T:  This tells you that this dog was permanently marked with some form of identification.  In this case, this dog was has a form of permanent identification. Effective January 1, 2001, the OFA has adopted a policy acknowledging animals that have been submitted for inclusion in our databases that have permanent identification in the form of DNA profile, microchip, or tattoo with a suffix of "-PI" instead of "-T".

    This letter signifies that the test was most likely performed on the dog listed on the certificate, but not all vets verify the dog's identification.  There have been cases where owner's have substituted dogs to obtain a certificate on a dog that, in fact, couldn't pass a health exam.  I want to hope that most people are basically honest and that we should question every certificate we look at - this is only a word of warning if you are already dealing with an individual with questionable morals.  As of January 1, 2001, OFA requires all dogs examined for certificates carry a permanent form of identificaiton.

As of 1995 OFA's compiled statistics on the breeds raised at Moonstruck are as follows:

Breed Rating
Total Dogs
1980 1987-88 1994-95 Change
1980 to 94-95

Bouvier Des Flanders



Total Dogs












Shetland Sheepdog



Total Dogs













The following information is directly from the OFA site and describes, in detail, how hips are "graded":

How Hips are Graded

The phenotypic evaluation of hips done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals falls into seven different categories. Those categories are Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, Severe. Below is an in depth at each of these classifications and what they mean.
     Once each of the radiologists classifies the hip into one of the 7 phenotypes above, the final hip grade is decided by a consensus of the 3 independent outside evaluations. Examples would be:
  1. Two radiologist reported excellent, one good--the final grade would be excellent
  2. One radiologist reported excellent, one good, one fair--the final grade would be good
  3. One radiologist reported fair, two radiologists reported mild--the final grade would be mild
     The hip grades of excellent, good and fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers. This information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification (tattoo, microchip) and is in the public domain. Radiographs of borderline, mild, moderate and severely dysplastic hip grades are reviewed by the OFA radiologist and a radiographic report is generated documenting the abnormal radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen the open database, dysplastic hip grades are closed to public information.


Excellent: this classification is assigned for superior conformation in comparison to other animals of the same age and breed. There is a deep seated hip ball (femoral head) which fits tightly into a well-formed hip socket (acetabulum) with minimal joint space. There is almost complete coverage of the hip socket over the hip ball.




Good: slightly less than superior but a well-formed congruent hip joint is visualized. The hip ball fits well into the hip socket and good coverage is present.




Fair: Assigned where minor irregularities in the hip joint exist. The hip joint is wider than a good hip phenotype. This is due to the hip ball slightly slipping out of the hip socket causing a minor degree of joint incongruency (called subluxation). There may also be slight inward deviation of the weight-bearing surface of the hip socket (dorsal acetabular rim) causing the hip socket to appear slightly shallow (Figure 4). This can be a normal finding in some breeds however, such as the Chinese Shar Pei, Chow Chow, and Poodle.





Borderline: there is no clear cut consensus between the radiologists to place the hip into a given category of normal or dysplastic. There is usually more incongruency present than what occurs in the minor amount found in a fair but there are no arthritic changes present that definitively diagnose the hip joint being dysplastic. There also may be a bony projection present on any of the areas of the hip anatomy illustrated above that can not accurately be assessed as being an abnormal arthritic change or as a normal anatomic variant for that individual dog. To increase the accuracy of a correct diagnosis, it is recommended to repeat the radiographs at a later date (usually 6 months). This allows the radiologist to compare the initial film with the most recent film over a given time period and assess for progressive arthritic changes that would be expected if the dog was truly dysplastic. Most dogs with this grade (over 50%) show no interval change in hip conformation over time and receive a normal hip rating; usually a fair hip phenotype.

Mild Canine Hip Dysplasia: there is significant subluxation present where the hip ball is partially out of the hip socket causing an incongruent increased joint space. The hip socket is usually shallow only partially covering the hip ball. There are usually no arthritic changes present with this classification and if the dog is young (24 to 30 months of age), there is an option to resubmit an x-ray when the dog is older so it can be re-evaluated a second time. Most dogs will remain dysplastic showing progression of the disease with early arthritic changes. There are a few dogs however, that show improved hip conformation with increasing age. Since HD is a chronic, progressive disease, the older the dog, the more accurate the diagnosis of HD (or lack of HD). At 2 years of age, the reliability for a radiographic diagnosis of HD is 95% and as the dog ages, the reliability steadily increases. Radiographs should definitely be resubmitted if they were taken during times of known environmental effects such as physical inactivity and high estrogen levels during or around the time of a heat cycle which could lead to a "false" diagnosis of mild hip dysplasia.

Moderate Canine Hip Dysplasia: there is significant subluxation present where the hip ball is barely seated into a shallow hip socket causing joint incongruency. There are secondary arthritic bone changes usually along the femoral neck and head (termed remodeling), acetabular rim changes (termed osteophytes or bone spurs) and various degrees of trabecular bone pattern changes called sclerosis. Once arthritis is reported, there is only continued progression of arthritis over time.

Severe HD: assigned where radiographic evidence of marked dysplasia exists. There is significant subluxation present where the hip ball is partly or completely out of a shallow hip socket. Like moderate HD, there are also large amounts of secondary arthritic bone changes along the femoral neck and head, acetabular rim changes and large amounts of abnormal bone pattern changes.





OFA Hips OFA Elbows CERF OFA Thyroid OFA Cardiac von Willebrand's Bloat (GDV) Study Dog Owner's Reference