Deciphering OFA Numbers
by Caroline Cox
I wonder how many of you, like me, anxiously open your OFA results, glance at the grading and either breathe a huge sigh of relief (or shed a few tears into the coffee cup). Then we file the piece of paper away and only look at it again if we plan on breeding our dog. Once in a while we may look at the certificate and wonder, in passing, what all the letters and numbers mean, but we don’t really think too much about it.
Well, it turns out that those letters and numbers have real significance, and the OFA website in fact has a section called OFA Number Key that details each code for each database. For example, the first two letters in the number for Hip Dysplasia are the code for the breed; in the case of the Ridgeback, it is RR. The next three numbers are a numerical identifier given to each animal evaluated as normal within the breed. The next letter is the OFA evaluationE = Excellent, G = Good and F = Fair (curiously, there doesn’t seem to be a letter for Borderline, Mild, Moderate and Severe all failing grades). The next two numbers are the age in months at which the test was done. Then comes the sex, and finally, letters indicating the animal has some form of permanent identification. So you can obtain at a glance quite a lot of information on, in this case, a dog’s hip X-ray.
OFA runs a database for Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Cardiac, Thyroid, Deafness, Patellar Luxation, Sebaceous Adenitis, Legg-Calve-Perthes and DNA.
The following table (source: www.offa.org/numberkey.html) lists the codes for each database: