We are proud to share that we are increasing the level of testing on all of our Doodles of NC breeding moms and dads! As you all know, we stand behind the lineage and health of all of our home-raised puppies. However, we want to maintain the high level of quality of the dogs we are breeding, so by increasing testing, heritage won’t be the only thing we are relying on.
In addition to the PennHip scores, which are official at 6 months of age, we are adding the OFA Hip & Elbow Preliminary screening which is completed around a year old. OFA Hip & Elbow Testing will also be completed at 24 months of age.
What is OFA Hip & Elbow Testing?
The OFA Hip & Elbow Testing is a non-invasive screening. It requires radiographs to be taken by the veterinarian and submitted to The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to review. And, the OFA assigns one of seven categories to the describe the joints: Excellent, Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild, Moderate, Severe.
(Look at those cute hips & elbows!)
Why focus on the hips & elbows?
Hip and elbow dysplasia is a complicated, multifactorial disease. Defined as a looseness in the joint, dysplasia causes the junction of two bones to wobble and be unstable. For instance, in the ball and socket of the hip joint (where the head of the femur and the acetabulum, or pelvis, join together) the socket needs to be deep enough to cover the ball without it slipping around. A shallow socket causes instability. This instability leads to bone-on-bone rubbing and intense pain. The friction of bone-on-bone rubbing erodes away the cartilage once cushioning the joint and leads to arthritis, or inflammation of the joint.
By testing our breeding males & females, and only using those in our line that receive top categories, we significantly decrease the chance of Doodles of NC puppies developing hip and/or elbow dysplasia.
(Yes we know this X-ray isn't of hips & elbows, but look how many precious goldendoodle puppies are in our sweet Lucy's belly!!)
Other Factors Affecting Hip & Elbow Formation
Studies do show that heritage is not the only cause for developing hip and/or elbow dysplasia.
For several weeks after birth, puppies must be provided good surfaces during development for hip and socket formation. For this reason, we use dura whelp pads which provide traction and solid surfaces.
And, in addition to verifying a puppy’s parents are OFA certified, you will still need to keep your dog at an ideal weight; use portion control and moderate exercise, and feed large breed puppy food to your golden doodle puppy. We recommend Fromm Puppy Food with an explanation as to why here.
With the increased cost associated with OAF Hip & Elbow Testing, puppies being sent home starting January 2020 will be $2500. Since large breeds are more susceptible to various forms of dysplasia, we believe the added level of security on your future puppy’s long term health (and comfort) is well worth the slight increase price upfront that could save thousands in veterinary bills in the future!
Please reach out with any questions on the OFA Hip & Elbow Testing, or any other questions related to goldendoodles. As you know, we are here for you all for the life of your pet and welcome any questions or concerns!