Prior to breeding any dog, a full veterinary check up should be given. This should include blood tests to determine problems before they become too severe to treat; x-rays to rule out hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic malformation of the ball and socket joints in the hips. As the dog grows the rounded end of the leg bone doesn’t “sit” properly in the pelvic socket. Imagine trying to hold a moving ball in the palm of your hand. With your fingers curved you can keep the ball secure. As you stretch your fingers the ball is no longer nestled safe.
In dogs the inability to “hold” the ball in place can be painful, even crippling. The older and larger the dog, the worse the situation can become.
The most common test used to identify hip dysplasia is the x-ray. These are taken by your local vet and then submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for review.
The medical and radiological staffs of OFA study each set of x-rays and then classify the dog’s or bitch’s hips as:
(*)CHD = Canine Hip Dysplasia
Once the x-rays are classified, the individual Vet and the dog’s owner are notified of the results. Dogs that are reported with classifications less that “Fair” should be removed from breeding programs.