Why PENNHIP over OFA?
OFA, in spite of being used as a breeding criterion for nearly 50 years, has repeatedly had low success in actually improving dog genetics. It's prone to false negatives in many cases, and is a worse measure of the actual genetics we need to control. That's significantly because OFA uses a single X-Ray radiograph for its analysis, while PennHIP uses three taken from different angles. PennHIP can actually give a quantitative measurement of hip laxity regardless of hip shape and is less prone to technical error.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip Dysplasia is an arthritis-like disease which affects about half of golden retrievers. It typically develops between 2 and 5 years of age, and causes intense pain while walking. The only cure is surgically replacing the hip, which is expensive and often results in reduced mobility.
The good news is, it's mostly genetic. By carefully choosing our breedings, we can reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia dramatically, which is why we can offer hip certified dogs: guaranteed to have hips that are above the breeding threshold and unlikely to ever develop hip dysplasia.
The two tests for Hip Dysplasia?
There are two tests (both based on X-rays of the hip) available for hip dysplasia in the US: OFA and PennHIP.
The OFA hip laxity was developed in 1966, and is a subjective test scored on a rubric. PennHIP was established more recently in 1993, and is a direct objective measurement of hip laxity (how loose the thighbone is in the socket.)
We exclusively use PennHIP on our breeding dogs to ensure the best pets going forward.