Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition in which the hip socket is badly formed, often leading to lameness and arthritis. It is believed to be polygenic, with multiple genes involved in its expression. Approximately 3—3.5% of Basenji x-rays submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) are dysplastic.
When purchasing a puppy, the parents should have been tested for hip dysplasia, and the x-rays should have been read by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA.)
Breeding stock should be x-rayed for hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has a web site that permits downloads and searches of dogs that have passed with a grade of Fair, Good, or Excellent. In addition, the OFA has recently added the option of having results placed in an open health registry, so that Borderline and Dysplastic ratings can be made public.
Good and Excellent are the preferred grades for breeding stock, although Fair is not considered dysplastic. OFA status at 2 years of age is generally considered definitive of that dog's hip status. However, there is a small chance a dog can go dysplastic later in life.
For permanent results, dogs can be X-rayed for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age or older, with the films reviewed by the OFA for the definitive reading. Dogs can be x-rayed earlier for preliminary results if they are being bred prior to 2 years of age. Hips can also be examined by PennHip, and PennHip results can be included in the OFA database.
Breeding from tested normal stock, and using vertical pedigrees to consider the scores of relatives are the recommended methods of controlling hip dysplasia. A discussion of the use of pedigree data to avoid genetic disease is online at http://www.offa.org/hovanart.pdf. While this article features hip dysplasia, the techniques are useful for avoiding any genetic disease.