This article is from the Rottweilers Breed FAQ, by email@example.com (Denise Gross).
Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a developmental disease in which there is a
malformation of the hip joint(s). It is a genetic disease which may
also be influenced by environmental factors. It is a common problem in
most large breeds, and depending on severity, can cause serious pain
and/or debilitation. HD is almost never detectable in animals younger
than six months, and then in only the most severe cases. Two years is
generally considered the minimum age for accurate diagnosis.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) maintains a Hip Dysplasia
Registry, which functions as a diagnostic service and a registry of
hip status for dogs of all breeds. X-rays are evaluated by three
veterinary radiologists, and are assigned a hip status of Excellent,
Good, Fair, Borderline, Mild Dysplasia, Moderate Dysplasia or Severe
Dysplasia. Dogs receiving evaluations of Excellent, Good or Fair are
assigned an OFA Breed Registry Number. Only dogs that are at least 24
months of age are eligible for an OFA Number.
In an effort to reduce the incidence of HD, responsible Rottweiler
breeders will not breed dogs which have not received OFA clearance.
Puppies should only be purchased after careful evaluation of the hip
dysplasia status of the parents and the grandparents. The breeder of
the puppies should be able to provide copies of the OFA certificates
(on official stationery from the OFA). This is not a guarantee that
your puppy will not develop HD later on; research has documented the
fact that normal parents can produce litters with one third or more of
the puppies dysplastic as adults. Genetics may be the cause of
dysplasia but environmental factors such as over-feeding, over
exercise and injury of young animals may also contribute to this