Canine Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds Unfortunately when you get into certain breeds of dogs you have this horrific black cloud following you until they are of age to x-ray. OFA states that 19% of xrays submitted are dysplastic and that number is pretty scary considering most people don't submit bad xrays. It is a problem and through the years I have concluded that it is very much genetic. But knowing that I still wont let puppies jump something they wouldn't do naturally, I also let puppies run and move, they need sunlight for vitamin D to grow healthy. Keep your puppy/adult LEAN!!! you should be able to see or feel the last rib easily.
OFA Can't get officially certified until two years Website OFA does all kinds of genetic testing such as DM and they also grade hips/elbows, OFA is the "standard" for hips and elbow xrays. It is a good tool for breeders and puppy buyers, OFA even has a database where you can look up dogs and progeny. But OFA is based on 3 vets opinions and is very subjective, if you want a dog to pass you can figure a way out for it to pass. I believe in sedation because you can see the hips without the dog tensing up and making them look better then what they actually look like. I know people that would send OFA 2 of the same xrays 6 months apart and get 2 different ratings.
PennHip (which is better in my opinion!) Can get officially certified as young as 16 weeks with accuracy Pennhip website Pennhip takes 3 xrays of the dogs hips, 1 is an OFA extended view, 2 is a compression view, 3 is distraction view in which they hold the legs up like the dogs standing and use a bar to push the hips out a little. Pennhip does not hurt your dog! it gives breeders a more accurate reading of the dogs hips with laxity. If you dog has loose hips it is more likely to develop DJD, hips need to be tight in the socket.
I don't understand why German Shepherd breeders are so behind in the times with pennhip, you can do pennhip as early as 16 weeks on a german shepherd, breeders can use it as a prelim instead of OFA. Do some research and you will find MANY lab/hunting dog breeders that have been pennhipping for years and have actually IMPROVED their lines. Also Pennhip has to be turned in, you can't xray the dog and see the hips are bad and then decide to not send them like OFA. I am a firm believer in pennhip and hope the rest of the shepherd community will catch on. I will pennhip at 7 months and OFA at 2 years because I like the database they have.