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Vet Tech, Do you Know how to Obtain OFA Radiographs?

by Flavia Vaduva - March 25, 2019 at 9:00 AM
As a Vet Tech, obtaining radiographs will be part of the job. While proper restraint, technique and positioning is important for any radiographs you obtain, it is especially crucial for obtaining radiographs for OFA certification.  
As part of a pre-breeding exam for many breeds, hip and elbow screening is recommended. 
OFA Evaluation
 Hip screening radiographs check for evidence of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is defined as  “abnormal development of the coxofemoral joint, characterized by joint laxity in young patients and DJD of variable severity in both young and adult patients.” (1)
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Similarly, elbow screening radiographs check for evidence of elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is defined as  “a common group of developmental disorders including fragmented medial coronoid processes (FCP), ununited anconeal process (UAP), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) and elbow incongruity that cause DJD in the elbow.” (1)
Both conditions have a genetic predisposition and both can lead to a lifetime of pain, discomfort and lameness. We screen patients for these conditions so that breeders can make ethical decisions about their breeding stock and also so that pet can be diagnosed and treated appropriately. 
There are two main certifying organizations - OFA and PennHIP. There are pros and cons to both, but for the purposes of this article we will be focusing on OFA evaluation.
Fast Facts about obtaining hip radiographs for OFA evaluation (2)
  • Only 1 view (ventrodorsal or “VD”) is required 
  • According to the OFA, “This view is accepted worldwide for detection and assessment of hip joint irregularities and secondary arthritic hip joint changes”
  • Chemical restraint is not required, but is recommended 
  • OFA will not certify if pet is not 2 years old 
  • This viewed is obtained with the pet in dorsal recumbency 
  • Rear legs are extended and parallel 
  • Stifles are rotated internally 
  • Pelvis is symmetric  
Fast Facts about obtaining elbow radiographs for OFA evaluation (4)
  • Chemical restraint is not required, but is recommended 
  • OFA will not certify if pet is not 2 years old 
  • Extreme flexed medial to lateral view of each elbow is required  
Now that you’ve got great images, what’s next? Read detailed submission guidelines.
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  1. Cote, Etienne. Clinical Veterinary Advisor.  
  2. Hip Screening Procedures. OFA. 
  3. Recommended Tests. OFA. 
  4. The Three Faces of Elbow Dysplasia. OFA.
  5. Veterinary Submission Procedures. OFA. 
  6. What is Hip Dysplasia? OFA.
  7. Williams, Ben. Study compares PennHip vs OFA hip dysplasia tests.
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About Flavia Vaduva

Flavia Vaduva is a general practice Veterinarian and a blogger for VetTechPrep. She has a passion for veterinary medicine, education and business management. She really enjoys interacting with veterinary students and veterinary professionals. She spends her free time riding horses and traveling to explore new places!

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