OFA Certification. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) offers certification for a series of health issues. The OFA certifies a dog's knee, elbow, and hip condition, as well as measurements of a dog's cardiac and thyroid function. Each of the conditions OFA certifies is evaluated separately. For example, a dog may be hip certified but not elbow or knee certified. The OFA exams test for inheritable conditions. Breeders who don't get their dogs OFA evaluated are not conducting a responsible breeding program. Breeders who breed dogs with a negative clearance results from the OFA are acting irresponsibly. Offspring from these dogs carry a known predisposition for an identified breed-related genetic disease or medical condition. Getting an OFA Certified-puppy from OFA-Certified parents gives you an extra measure of security against genetic health-related issues. While OFA-Certified dogs may still carry recessive genes that can lead to health problems, OFA Certification is a safeguard that can provide peace of mind to a dog owner that everything possible has been done to avoid getting a dog with a potentially expensive-to-treat genetically-based medical problem. What OFA Certification Does Not Mean OFA Certification is a voluntary program in which breeders participate in an attempt to identify disease-free breeding stock. Breeders who choose to participate in OFA Certification programs are typically responsible breeders who care about producing healthy, disease-free puppies. OFA clearance does not mean a puppy has no genetic predisposition to breed-related health problems. The OFA only tests for common health issues. There are many additional conditions for which the OFA (nor anyone else) tests. OFA Certification only means that these problems have not been detected. Their testing increases the likelihood the underlying genetics of the dog are sound based on the presences or absence of symptoms related to the associated disease. A dog that "passes" an OFA test may still have recessive gene(s) (be a carrier) for the condition that can be passed on to its puppies. OFA Certification doesn't guarantee a healthy dog; it is only a general indicator that your dog likely comes from healthy stock. Although not a perfect indicator, getting a puppy from OFA certified parents is is a very good way for you to reduce your risk of getting a puppy with an inherited genetic disease. How to Read OFA Certification. An OFA Certificate contains information about one of four items related to your dog's health. These four items are the condition of the dog's hips, knees, elbows, cardiac and thyroid function. OFA test results require interpretation to understand. What follows is a short primer on how to read the information on an OFA Certificate: