|Phenotypic Health Clearances
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
a 7-point grading system using the hips-extended (as if standing like a human on their back legs) view.
From best ratings to worst: Passing grades: Excellent, Good, Fair. Only hips of these 3 phenotypes will be given an OFA number, and only if over the age of 24 months.
Borderline- not passing or failing at the moment. A repeat study is reccomended in six months. Most often, the animal is moved to Fair or Mild dysplasia on the next study.
Failing grades: Mild, Moderate, Severe.
A PASSING hip evaluation is a MUST when considering a GSD or WS!
- Elbows "EL"-
a 4-point grading system using the extreme flexed medio-lateral elbow view.
Passing Grade: Normal. Only Normal elbows will be issued an OFA number, and only if over the age of 24 months.
Failing grades: Grade 1, 2, or 3; accompanied with the one of four causes: Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)- can occur independently or concurrently with any of the other three etioligies: Fractured/Fragmented Coronid Process, Osteocondritis (OCD), or Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP).
Normal Elbows are a MUST when considering a GSD or WS!
- Patella "PA"-
a 5-point grading system using patellar palpation (trying to move the knee-cap around) by a veterinarian.
Passing Grade: Normal. Only Normal evaluations will be issued an OFA number, and only if over the age of 12 months.
Failing Grades: Grade 1, 2, 3, or 4 medial or lateral luxation.
Very Few GSD/WS are tested for Patellas. Only One GSD in the entire data base has failed the Patella examination.
- Shoulder OCD "SH"-
a Pass/Fail grading system using a medial to crainal view of each shoulder. This is the same type of OCD that can appear in elbow examinations, and also occurs in the hock, stifle and spine.
Passing Grade: Pass/Normal. Only Passing/Normal evaluations will be issued an OFA number, and only if over the age of 12 months.
Failing Grade: none- Fail only.
Very Few GSD/WS are tested for Shoulder OCD
- Leggs-Calve-Perthes "LP"-
a Pass-Fail grading system for Leggs-Calve-Perthes' Disease, where the head of the femur's blood supply is cut-off, resulting of necrosis of the bone. Often, affected dogs become dysplastic due to the deterioration and remodeling of the hip joint. Evaluation can be done from an existing hip x-ray, or with the OFA Hips evaluation.
Only Passing dogs are issued an OFA number, and a minimum of 12 months of age.
GSD/WSs are not at risk for this disease.
University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP)
- Hips Only-
a 3 radiograph system developed to test Passive Laxity in the hip, which is called the Distraction Index (DI). The DI is calculated by the ratio of the radius of the femoral head to the amount of movement found between the compression and distraction views. Also used is the traditional hips-extended view, to check for joint congruency.
While PennHIP calls for no passing/failing DI number, percentages are assigned as to where the individual fits in as compared with other members of its breed. PennHIP reccomends breeding dogs from only the higher (better) percentage ranges, which are the dogs with the lower DIs.
- Thyroid "TH"-
- Cardiac "CA"-
a 7-point grading system using ECG and/or ultrasound. Only Normal/Passing animals are issued an OFA number, and only when 12 months of age or older.
Failing Grades: Grade 1,2,3,4,5, or 6 cardiac murmur.
- von Willebrand's "vWD"-
a blood test with the results being rated by percentage on a scale of 0-200; the higher the percentage number, the less likely the dog to become affected. Now being replaced with a DNA based test for carrier status of the actual gene.
Genotypic (DNA testing) Health Clearances
all DNA tests are taken with buccal cells from inside of the cheek , with a cytology swab/brush. Results are all given as: "clear"=normal/normal, "carrier"=normal/mutant, or "affected"=mutant/mutant; with the "mutant" gene being the undesirable allele, and "normal" being the desirable allele in the gene pair.
- DNA Profiled "DNA-P/VIP"-
DNA identity testing, using around 16 genetic markers. A requirement for frequently-used stud dogs in the AKC.
- Multi-Drug Resistance "MDR1"-
mostly herding breeds, who, due 2 copies of the mutated MDR1 gene, become ill when exposed to a variety of drugs, including ivermectin, the drug in heartworm medicine. Some carrier status dogs can have mild effects when exposed to some of the suspect drugs.
- von Willebrand's "vWD"-
genetic test for von Willebrand's disease, thus eliminating the old blood test.