These are two different philosiphies for assessing a dog's hips. Penn Hip, which comes from the University of Pennsylvania Vet School, uses a computer-based approach to analyze the size and shape of the hip joints and their distraction level. This method provides a quantitative number, and dogs are measured against their own breeds. A rottweiler will not be compared to a beagle for example. It's breed specivic OFA, on the other hand, is evaluated by radiologists who grade the hips as fair, poor, good, or excellent. This method may not be as quantitative as Penn Hip.
One of the main reasons for conducting these tests is to minimize the occurrence of hip dysplasia in dogs, a condition breeders have been dealing with for years. The only way to know if a dog is likely to pass on hip dysplasia is through radiographs to see if they carry the condition themselves. Eventually, we may have a simple genetic test for hip dysplasia, but we're not quite there yet.
Usually, the turnaround time for results is about a week. This is made possible by the use of digital radiographs that can be sent off the same day. Sometimes Penn Hip results may come back a little faster, but both generally come back within a week, or two weeks at most if there's a heavy load.
Penn Hip only certifies hips. OFA, however, can certify other breed conditions of concern. These include elbows and heart conditions. Eye certification can also be done, but it requires an ophthalmologist and must be conducted elsewhere.
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