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A breeder that I contacted answers - "The parents are cleared from genetic diseases through parentage. So, all four grandparents have been tested for genetic disorders and they have passed. I do not do OFA as it is an invasive procedure that never guarantees that offspring will be exempt from such disorders. Also, in order for OFA tests to be considered valid, proof of yearly tests is required."

Is it true?
 

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Short answer: Nope.

Long answer:
OFA hip and elbow certs are not at all invasive. They’re literally just x-rays once the dog is over 24 months old. I have no idea what that person is talking about. Also, OFA hip/elbow tests are good for life once they’re done at the correct age, so not every year. That said, some tests (like eyes) do need to be done yearly, but that has zero effect on the elbow and hip clearances. Cleared through grandparents? Maybe. Depends on what it is. It is true that having OFA passing parents doesn’t guarantee passing puppies, but it certainly stacks the deck in your favor for a healthy pup. Hard pass on this breeder.
 

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That does not meet my requirements for buying a dog. However, anybody can breed any animals they want.
 

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Short answer: Nope.

Long answer:
OFA hip and elbow certs are not at all invasive. They’re literally just x-rays once the dog is over 24 months old. I have no idea what that person is talking about. Also, OFA hip/elbow tests are good for life once they’re done at the correct age, so not every year. That said, some tests (like eyes) do need to be done yearly, but that has zero effect on the elbow and hip clearances. Cleared through grandparents? Maybe. Depends on what it is. It is true that having OFA passing parents doesn’t guarantee passing puppies, but it certainly stacks the deck in your favor for a healthy pup. Hard pass on this breeder.
Precisely. Just seconding this answer. Hips are incredibly important for standards and minis. Patellas and eyes are incredibly important for toys. A breeder who neglects these not ethical in my book.
 

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A breeder that I contacted answers - "The parents are cleared from genetic diseases through parentage. So, all four grandparents have been tested for genetic disorders and they have passed. I do not do OFA as it is an invasive procedure that never guarantees that offspring will be exempt from such disorders. Also, in order for OFA tests to be considered valid, proof of yearly tests is required."

Is it true?
This is practically word for word a response that another member received from a breeder not so long back. There is little fact in that response and due to that so similar wording, I expect it to be the same breeder.

For standard poodles the OFA testing is phenotype exams (think of these loosely as no more than a physical exam). These are not DNA (genotype) exams.

So far as being invasive, yes, technically. An injection is technically a minimally invasive procedure because the needle penetrates the skin. here would be a needle to give a sedative, a needle to draw blood, a needle to give a local anesthetic, and a small patch of skin extracted by a tool, extending a few millimeters into the skin.

Hips
Xrays for hip dysplasia with two methods, OFA single view or Pennhip three views (the OFA view is one of them).
OFA can be done for a preliminary result at 1 year and best at 2 years when the bones are more matured.
The Pennhip view requires sedation since stress is put on the joint and it would be painful if awake.
Pennhip can be done much earlier, I think as young as 4 months.
Hip dysplasia affects quality of life and the dog usually becomes arthritic earlier than a non dysplastic dog might.
Their mobility can be seriously impacted.
Either of these methods will identify congenital issues.
They are not a predictor of general aging processes or injuries which might occur.

Eyes
The CAER exam is an eye exam performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
They check the eyes for some specific conditions using no invasive methods.
It is a yearly exam.

Thyroid
Blood tests

Sebaceous Adenitis
Skin Punch (to biopsy the cells for presence of SA)

Cardiac Exam
Listen with a stethoscope
and/or
run an echocardiogram
and/or
imaging (like xray)
and/or
Doppler exam to measure blood flow


As for the "parents being cleared", OFA does accept "cleared by parentage" for some conditions and for one generation only.
The OFA testing above does not come under "cleared by parentage" criteria because it is phenotype testing, not genotype (DNA). .


Clear By Parentage Policy

What does “clear by parentage” mean?

OFA records results of approximately 120 DNA tests, all of which are currently “direct mutation” tests, meaning that the test results are 100 percent accurate and not subject to interpretation. For direct mutation tests, OFA will clear by parentage for one generation.

That means that if both parents have been DNA tested clear for a disease, OFA will declare offspring clear by virtue of the fact that the parents tested clear. However, there are a few requirements to clear by parentage.
1.) As mentioned, both sire and dam must have tested clear, and those test results must be on record with OFA.
2.) The sire, dam and the offspring to be cleared must all have been DNA identity profiled, and DNA profiles must be on record at OFA.

Once those requirements are met, the owner of the offspring to be cleared will fill out the application for DNA Based Genetic Disease (available on the OFA website), writing “clear by parentage” in the blank line at the top of the form, and submit the form with the $15 OFA processing fee. That’s it—your dog is now cleared by parentage for that disease.
The resulting certification will have a suffix of CBP, indicating that the dog itself was not tested and that the clearance is based on the sire and dam’s test results. OFA will only clear by parentage for one generation, due to the possibility of new mutations or as yet undiscovered gene mutations.

Bear in mind that DNA-based screening is an evolving science, and OFA policy is subject to change as technology and science advance.



In this case, for the issues which can be cleared by parentage, I'd ask for verification of those sires and dams test results. By verification, I mean on the testing site or testing lab directly. I would not consider copies in any form as verification.
The puppies sire and dam may be cleared, but their puppies, the next generation is not cleared due to the possibility of genetic mutations as you move down to the next generations and away from the tested ancestors.

This is not a breeder that I would not consider if I were on Puppy Quest. They offer excuses and reasons, but not results.

To answer your title question "Is OFA testing required?", no, it's not. There are no health testing police or regulations that require testing must be done.

It is done tho because as medical science is catching up on the veterinary side to the human side, it's been learned that purebred and crossbred dogs all suffer from varying heritable conditions and to various degrees.

Given a choice, and that's exactly what every puppy buyer has (once they know there are choices), would you choose a puppy from properly health tested parents or just hope that you'll get lucky?

What the testing does, when the results are all clear/normal/good, is give you and your puppy a better chance at a long and healthy life.
 

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As Rose n Poos mentions, there is not much in the way of requirements for breeders. The USDA or local law enforcement might step in for absolutely outrageous animal welfare issues, but health testing isn't a legal concern. That being said, both AKC and OFA do have recommendations.

The AKC tests specified for poodles are (as copied from their web site):
Poodle – Miniature
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • Patella Evaluation
Poodle – Standard
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

I personally think Standard Poodles, especially those coming from red and moyen lines, should also be checked for PRA before breeding. Red was introduced to Standard lines via outcrosses to Miniatures, so there is the possibility the PRA mutation could have crept in at the same time. Likewise, moyens often have some Miniature lines in the family tree. Recessive genes can hide for many generations before popping up unexpectedly.

The standard poodle exams for OFA CHIC certification are (as copied from their web site):
  • Hip Dysplasia (One of the following)
    OFA Evaluation
    PennHIP Evaluation
  • Eye Examination
    Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO Ophthalmologist
  • Health Elective (One of the following tests) (One of the following)
    OFA Thyroid evaluation from an approved laboratory
    OFA SA Evaluation from an approved dermapathologist
    Congenital Cardiac Exam
    Advanced Cardiac Exam
    Basic Cardiac Exam
As Rose n Poos mentioned, these OFA tests are phenotypic screenings, not DNA tests. Additionally the disorders they test for are probably caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental issues. Apart from the hip exam, most are snapshots in time. Poodles have a somewhat high rate of autoimmune disorders. The immune system is a funny thing. It can putter along happily for years until one day it wakes up in a rage and decides to nuke the adrenal gland or some other useful organ. Thus, a dog that is completely healthy at age 2 may develop one of these immune disorders a few years later. That is why many phenotypic tests need to be repeated.

From the breeder's perspective, I can somewhat understand why they might not think all the OFA tests are worthwhile. Given that a dog might be past breeding age before the disease actually manifests, how does doing the exam actually predict whether the breeding is safe? A good breeder is going to look at the family trees, not just the test results. Additionally a good breeder is going to look at lots of factors beyond what either the OFA or the AKC specifies. It may be that the breeder in question is indeed so experienced that she can look at family histories and have a good idea whether a breeding will work out well. She may also just be cheap, lazy, and delusional. However, it is very difficult for the average pet buyer, who doesn't live and breathe this stuff, to differentiate between highly knowledgable breeders and cheap lazy breeders. OFA isn't perfect, but it's the best we've got as a screening tool for breeders as well as dogs.
 
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