OFA/SV: Hips and Elbows FAQs
At Carolina Crossing Veterinary Clinic in Benson, NC, we often get asked about how we X-ray our patients’ hips and elbows.
The X-rays are part of the certification process to receive either an OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or an SV (Verein für deutsche Schäferhunde)rating. This rating will appear on the dog's pedigree and is proof that the dog has been cleared of dysplasia, which is a debilitating disease that can cause lameness and joint pain.
How Do We Take X-rays?
Our veterinarian takes the X-rays while the dog is under sedation. This way, they can get a clear image without the dog moving around. The veterinarian then places the X-ray machine in specific positions for each joint and takes 2-3 pictures from different angles. The veterinarian taking the X-rays is very familiar with the requirements for proper positioning to get you the best quality radiographs which meet the requirements for review by the OFA or SV.
What's the Difference Between an OFA and an SV Number?
OFA numbers are assigned by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals after reviewing the submitted X-rays. An OFA evaluation can be done as early as four months of age, but the certificate is issued after 24 months of age.
An SV rating is assigned by the SV breed club in Germany and is given after 12 months of age.
Should I Use an OFA or an SV Prelim?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some breeders prefer one over the other, while some use both services. We recommend talking to your breeder to see what they prefer or what has worked well for them in the past.
- The OFA is the original certification program and has been around for almost 50 years.
- It is internationally recognized and accepted by most kennel clubs.
- All breeds can be tested.
- You do not have to be a member of any club or organization to participate.
- There are no special requirements or restrictions on who can submit X-rays for certification.
- OFA turn around times are typically 2-4 weeks.
- The OFA will not certify X-rays until the dog is at least 24 months old. This means that you have to wait until your dog is two years of age to have the hips and elbows certified.
- There is a fee for each submission.
SV Program Pros:
- The SV program will certify X-rays as early as 12 months of age. This allows you to make breeding decisions earlier than with the OFA program.
- The SV program provides a rating as well as a numerical score for each dog tested, which gives you an idea of the severity of dysplasia present, if any and a breeding score.
SV Program Cons:
- The SV program is breed specific; only German Shepherds can be tested at this time.
- There is a fee for digital submission done by your veterinarian and the paperwork and fees for the ratings are done through your specific breed club.
- You must be a member of a breed club such as USCA or GSDCA to participate.
- The dogs pedigree paperwork must be submitted to Germany via snail mail through the breed club and depending on the time of year they can take as long as 4-6 months to get the paperwork and results.
Get in Touch with Us for More Information
If you have any questions about hip and elbow X-rays, Carolina Crossing Veterinary Clinic in Benson, NC, can help. We would be happy to chat with you about this topic further or answer any other questions you may have about your pet's health. Give us a call today at (919) 934-7729.