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Old 06-09-2011, 10:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hip X-Rays

I've been thinking about doing hip xrays for Niz because I'll be taking him to agility classes starting in exactly a month (and I realize that looking healthy != being healthy--how can a dog that tires out several other pups have cardio disease?!). I don't want to force him to jump if his hips are bad--and there's no way I can tell if they're good or bad without xrays, right? He's fine jumping on his own (graceful and powerful, even, if he actually thinks about landing them). Our PCP vet does xrays, but I believe he's the one who gives his reading of them, rather than sending off to the OFA or Pennhip.

There are Pennhip vets near us, but we'd have to go in for an office visit as well because they've never seen our dog before. I think the OFA way is that I have to send in the radiographs myself? (If my vet will let me have them?) There's some OFA clinics soon, but none that I've seen in northern CA have hip/elbow clinics going on. We'll try to go to the CERF clinic near me next month to see if his eyes are all right as well.

I'd really appreciate feedback on this--go the Pennhip vet route (probably ~600 with exam+pennhip fee+xray+anesthesia is what I've been quoted), or should I just stick to my regular vet (who I trust very well, and has always been spot on with advice for Niz and should be around 350-450) or vet + OFA?

Also, has anyone tried asking their insurance for any reimbursement on hip xrays? I know that his insurance covers diagnostics, but I don't know if they cover diagnostics without a problem to warrant them.

Thanks so much!
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would probably have a chat with my PCP vet to see what all might be available. I know our vet does use a radiologist to interpret films. I'd guess yours could arrange for that if you asked. You could also find out if your vet is set up to/has experience with working with OFA for hip evaluations.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would probably have a chat with my PCP vet to see what all might be available. I know our vet does use a radiologist to interpret films. I'd guess yours could arrange for that if you asked. You could also find out if your vet is set up to/has experience with working with OFA for hip evaluations.
*gah* This is why I post on DT--my brain doesn't work. I talked to the receptionist (a while back) but never consulted with our vet himself (was just trying to not cry at our last visit). Will definitely do that. D'oh.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Radiographs for OFA can be submitted by any vet. Two views, an application and service fee are all that's required by OFA, your regular vet should be at least a little familiar with the process. Radiographs for PennHip must be taken by a PennHip certified vet and require anesthesia.

There are lots of threads on the pros and cons of each, if you're having trouble searching for OFA try googling this:
OFA site:dobermantalk.com


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Old 06-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you go the OFA route, I would, as mentioned above, check to make sure that your vet has some experience taking OFA hip films. There is a little bit of art in the positioning, and positioning can make or break the x-ray. Most vets knock them out for x-rays, but there are skilled and experienced vets who can do it without anesthesia. There's one here in Wisconsin who takes about perfect films without anesthesia, and he's kind of known as the hip x-ray vet around here. People drive dogs in from all over to see him. I wonder if you have someone like that in your area? I think you actually get better films if they are not under.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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ask around your area to see which vet people like for hip x rays, I drive about 90 minutes to a practice with 2 breeder vets who have tons of experience and are pretty good at reading them themselves. They have been bang on each time, telling me what they expect OFA will say about each set.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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you do not need to get the x-rays sent into OFA if you are just looking for health for agility. Your regular vet should be able to look at the x-rays and give you a medical opinion based on what they see, that is what you pay them for.

OFA and Penn hip are great if you are using them for breeding purposes, but if you are not breeding, just let your vet do the diagnosis. It is quite simple, even I can tell good hips from bad with very little training.

I prefer the dog to not be knocked out for the x-rays, as it gives a more realistic picture (knocked out the dog is lax and there may be more play in the join than would normally be present).
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you go the OFA route, I would, as mentioned above, check to make sure that your vet has some experience taking OFA hip films. There is a little bit of art in the positioning, and positioning can make or break the x-ray. Most vets knock them out for x-rays, but there are skilled and experienced vets who can do it without anesthesia. There's one here in Wisconsin who takes about perfect films without anesthesia, and he's kind of known as the hip x-ray vet around here. People drive dogs in from all over to see him. I wonder if you have someone like that in your area? I think you actually get better films if they are not under.
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you do not need to get the x-rays sent into OFA if you are just looking for health for agility. Your regular vet should be able to look at the x-rays and give you a medical opinion based on what they see, that is what you pay them for.

OFA and Penn hip are great if you are using them for breeding purposes, but if you are not breeding, just let your vet do the diagnosis. It is quite simple, even I can tell good hips from bad with very little training.

I prefer the dog to not be knocked out for the x-rays, as it gives a more realistic picture (knocked out the dog is lax and there may be more play in the join than would normally be present).
Do either of you have any reference materials or scientific studies that indicate this? Pennhip obviously requires sedation and OFA recommends it, I would be curious to read some research on the correlation between anesthesia or not and the evaluation rating. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I've been thinking about doing hip xrays for Niz because I'll be taking him to agility classes starting in exactly a month (and I realize that looking healthy != being healthy--how can a dog that tires out several other pups have cardio disease?!). I don't want to force him to jump if his hips are bad--and there's no way I can tell if they're good or bad without xrays, right? He's fine jumping on his own (graceful and powerful, even, if he actually thinks about landing them). Our PCP vet does xrays, but I believe he's the one who gives his reading of them, rather than sending off to the OFA or Pennhip.

There are Pennhip vets near us, but we'd have to go in for an office visit as well because they've never seen our dog before. I think the OFA way is that I have to send in the radiographs myself? (If my vet will let me have them?) There's some OFA clinics soon, but none that I've seen in northern CA have hip/elbow clinics going on. We'll try to go to the CERF clinic near me next month to see if his eyes are all right as well.

I'd really appreciate feedback on this--go the Pennhip vet route (probably ~600 with exam+pennhip fee+xray+anesthesia is what I've been quoted), or should I just stick to my regular vet (who I trust very well, and has always been spot on with advice for Niz and should be around 350-450) or vet + OFA?

Also, has anyone tried asking their insurance for any reimbursement on hip xrays? I know that his insurance covers diagnostics, but I don't know if they cover diagnostics without a problem to warrant them.

Thanks so much!
I prefer to use a vet who doesn't sedate the dog to take hip xrays, so that eliminates Pennhip for me.


If I'm going to go to the trouble and expense of having hip xrays taken, I'm going to send them in to OFA. It's only $35 to submit, and it makes no sense to NOT get OFA certification. Besides that, I'd rather have 3 board certified radiologists review the films, as opposed to one GP vet.

The last hip xrays I had taken were digital and were sent directly to OFA electronically, I never had anything to do with the submission, other than to fill out the form. If the vet doesn't use digital, then yes, they give you the film and you send it in yourself.

There's a mobile vet who you see at most of the Norcal dog shows who does OFA xrays right on the show grounds. I know there's a big cluster of shows up there this weekend (Woofstock, I think it's in Vallejo), so I'd be willing to bet he's there now. He doesn't sedate. He does A LOT of the xrays for show people.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I prefer to use a vet who doesn't sedate the dog to take hip xrays, so that eliminates Pennhip for me.


If I'm going to go to the trouble and expense of having hip xrays taken, I'm going to send them in to OFA. It's only $35 to submit, and it makes no sense to NOT get OFA certification. Besides that, I'd rather have 3 board certified radiologists review the films, as opposed to one GP vet.

The last hip xrays I had taken were digital and were sent directly to OFA electronically, I never had anything to do with the submission, other than to fill out the form. If the vet doesn't use digital, then yes, they give you the film and you send it in yourself.

There's a mobile vet who you see at most of the Norcal dog shows who does OFA xrays right on the show grounds. I know there's a big cluster of shows up there this weekend (Woofstock, I think it's in Vallejo), so I'd be willing to bet he's there now. He doesn't sedate. He does A LOT of the xrays for show people.
BTW, the mobile vet is named Dr. Popkin and he IS there this weekend. Here's a link to the premium list for these shows, which gives you his info, and how to get a schedule of the other shows he'll be at in Norcal.

There's also a CERF clinic there tomorrow.

http://www.infodog.com/prm/1690/prm1...mode=bookmarks
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Nevermind, apparently my googling skills suck. Thank you so much, Murreydobe!
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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When Sam had his hips done, the vet wanted him sedated because of the position he would be in and he would be more relaxed. Seeing the positing they are put in, wouldn't the dog be very uncomfortable if not sedated?
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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They're not fond of the position they're put in, but our vet who does them without sedation and his tech are so fast at positioning, restraining, and snapping the picture that the dog is uncomfortable for a tiny bit of time.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
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When Sam had his hips done, the vet wanted him sedated because of the position he would be in and he would be more relaxed. Seeing the positing they are put in, wouldn't the dog be very uncomfortable if not sedated?
While I'm sure there's some discomfort, if the vet is experienced and has the right equipment, it's done really fast. When I weigh a couple of minutes of discomfort vs. sedating them, the scales tip towards that discomfort every time.

I've never had a dog sedated to get hips done, and they all trot out happy as they can be, so I don't believe they were the least bit traumatized or stressed out in any way.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sent in an application for Hips/OFA thyroid. Hopefully he'll have time to squeeze us in--I said any time this weekend.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Do either of you have any reference materials or scientific studies that indicate this? Pennhip obviously requires sedation and OFA recommends it, I would be curious to read some research on the correlation between anesthesia or not and the evaluation rating. Thanks.
I have seen x-rays from dogs sedated and not. Sometimes the same dog (a friend had a GSD that was done originally sedated and came back OFA fair, and when the same dog was done without sedation the hips came back good).

Penn hip is a very different evaluation from OFA, as it tests the amount of play in the join, which requires the dog to be sedated because it hurts the dog if they are fully awake. They sedate the dog and then pull on the hip joint and measure the amount it is able to move.

OFA looks at the joint itself physically, the femoral head, the socket, etc.

My dog has his hips/elbows x-rayed in about 10 mins without sedation. My vet lets me in to help place the dog. They are on their back, however I always train my dogs from puppyhood to allow this type of manipulation so it is no biggie.

In regards to price...

I took a dog in to get her OFA hips and elbows done... From the very first film the dog was noticable (even to me) dysplastic with deformation on the femoral head on one side. We went no futher and the cost to me was for one film only at around $85. I was told there was no reason to send them in as the dog would be at min medium dysplatic.

I took my current dog into the same vet last fall to get hips and elbows done, and it cost me $270.

I just do not see any reason to waste the $35 for hips and the $35 for elbows when there is no need to spend it. Vets are taught to read x-rays, that is their job. The hips are blatantly obvious in x-rays, and the OP simply wants to check for sport.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sonterra2002 View Post
I have seen x-rays from dogs sedated and not. Sometimes the same dog (a friend had a GSD that was done originally sedated and came back OFA fair, and when the same dog was done without sedation the hips came back good).

Penn hip is a very different evaluation from OFA, as it tests the amount of play in the join, which requires the dog to be sedated because it hurts the dog if they are fully awake. They sedate the dog and then pull on the hip joint and measure the amount it is able to move.

OFA looks at the joint itself physically, the femoral head, the socket, etc.

My dog has his hips/elbows x-rayed in about 10 mins without sedation. My vet lets me in to help place the dog. They are on their back, however I always train my dogs from puppyhood to allow this type of manipulation so it is no biggie.

In regards to price...

I took a dog in to get her OFA hips and elbows done... From the very first film the dog was noticable (even to me) dysplastic with deformation on the femoral head on one side. We went no futher and the cost to me was for one film only at around $85. I was told there was no reason to send them in as the dog would be at min medium dysplatic.

I took my current dog into the same vet last fall to get hips and elbows done, and it cost me $270.

I just do not see any reason to waste the $35 for hips and the $35 for elbows when there is no need to spend it. Vets are taught to read x-rays, that is their job. The hips are blatantly obvious in x-rays, and the OP simply wants to check for sport.
I am aware of the difference in methodology between the two systems, but what I was looking for were any scientific studies on results using anesthesia versus not, and the impact of anesthesia on the actual evaluation score. Given you and another poster indicated OFA evaluations *without* anesthesia resulted in a better evaluation, I was wondering what if any studies were out there that supported that. I have not previously heard that no anesthesia yields better radiographs and was interested to hear / read about a correlation.

In the case of your friend's GSD do you know if the second set of radiographs were taken by the same vet that did the first set? Also, do you know if they were evaluated by the same team of doctors at OFA? Obviously some variables there that could impact the results...

I've heard of dogs getting significantly different scores under the different systems, and even within the same system (mostly OFA), but never of a case with different results when all the other variables were same save anesthesia.

As far as which system to go with, I get people not wanting to have to sedate their dogs unnecessarily and I see why OFA is the more popular choice.

Just a few miscellaneous comments:

With regard to not sending films because a dog is evidently dysplastic, Pennhip does not allow that. If you take your dog to be Pennhipped, results are sent regardless.

Also, I have heard of training clubs requiring OFA certs. In those few cases it sounded like it was a blanket policy to ensure consistency, and in one case the result of a dispute between the club and an owner where the owner blamed the amount of jumping done in training as the cause for the worsening of her dog's previously unknown condition. So overall, a CYA policy for the club.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Sent in an application for Hips/OFA thyroid. Hopefully he'll have time to squeeze us in--I said any time this weekend.
Dont forget stifles!! If you can afford it, i would get an x ray on their 'knees', another common place for degeneration and pain.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I'm having an issue with Pennhip right now. I was told there was something wrong with the (Zenyatta's) films and they couldn't give a DI. I thought there was a digital transmission error.
It turns out her hips are so tight, they have not seen Doberman hips as tight as hers. Pennhip has said they won't score her hips without the vet re-doing the films. IOW they don't believe what they see and are implying that the Pennhip vet did it wrong, or purposely fudged it.
I am not happy with having her knocked out again.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobes&Hounds View Post
I'm having an issue with Pennhip right now. I was told there was something wrong with the (Zenyatta's) films and they couldn't give a DI. I thought there was a digital transmission error.
It turns out her hips are so tight, they have not seen Doberman hips as tight as hers. Pennhip has said they won't score her hips without the vet re-doing the films. IOW they don't believe what they see and are implying that the Pennhip vet did it wrong, or purposely fudged it.
I am not happy with having her knocked out again.
Wtf? Provided that the quality of the xrays are per Pennhip's standards, that's just wrong. On the other hand, congratulations on the soundness of Zenyatta's hips!

Fingers crossed that Dr. Popkin can fit us into this weekend.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Yay! Hips & Thyroid tomorrow at 3:15 We'll probably do knees (knees? his site only lists elbows and shoulders and hips, do you mean elbow?) in another few months (maybe when he's in Sacramento in October). I don't want to just lump a bunch of stuff onto SO at once considering that in another two or three months he gets to shell out another $1k for more cardio testing (doing a 24 hour holter this time--he bugged me the whole way home that we should turn around on the dumbarton bridge and go for the holter.... lol)

edit: Augh wtf SO has board presentations.... time to try to catch the vet on the phone again and reschedule for Sunday >__>
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Old 06-11-2011, 06:16 AM   #22 (permalink)
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i sedate everyone for OFA films if possible, and im getting pennhip certified in september. i can position, but to get GOOD positioning i need some sort of sedation. heck, for my OWN dog her hips looked like crap with no sedation, with just light sedation her hips were unpositionable (beacuse she would flex her muscles and prevent us from turning her knees over and over and over again - and anyone thats met or seen berlin know she has hamhocks and her thigh muscles are GIGANTIC) and i ended up using general anesthesia with her - she had OFA films the day she was spayed i will PennHip her as well when i get certified, as well as the puppyface.

rah i just sedated and took general films for my own knowledge, i didnt submit his but i still have them and they are submittable (have all his OFA info on them, since i did plan to submit them at the time just never got around to it).

i wont bring owners into my xray suite - illegal and unsafe. most dogs do not like being on their backs, and positioning to take good shots can often be more than a one stop shopping trip -when sedating i can have them stay on their back and we can tweak the one thing that needs to be fixed (oh, the left wing of the ilium is too high? ok shift the dog down) quickly to get that perfect shot because i want every shot we send to be as close to perfection as possible. i do a lot of retakes for people - right now about 25-30% of my OFA films are retakes for people that had OFA films done at "clinics" and weren't happy with them and now want more shots taken. i will keep taking shots until i get that perfect shot - you get charged for ONE, no matter how many my techs and i take. because im going to submit the one that makes your dogs hips look the best - not the first shot i get.

once im pennhip certified, im going to package them, so it will be a moot point, since most likely all the dogs will hopefully be doing both and we will have them under GA at that point. i also do a lot of screening shots for dogs getting spayed and neutered, so they are under GA at that point too. and again, those shots are so much easier.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:50 AM   #23 (permalink)
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While I'm sure there's some discomfort, if the vet is experienced and has the right equipment, it's done really fast. When I weigh a couple of minutes of discomfort vs. sedating them, the scales tip towards that discomfort every time.

I've never had a dog sedated to get hips done, and they all trot out happy as they can be, so I don't believe they were the least bit traumatized or stressed out in any way.
My vet is good at doing OFA x-rays and always tries to do them with no sedation first. Louise he needed to sedate, but Harvard was fine without sedation. Louise was OFA good and Harvard was OFA excellent. The vet tech who assisted with Harvard said he started out really tense when they put him on the back but a belly rub totally relaxed him - LOL - that's my boy!
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:27 PM   #24 (permalink)
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If Niz is absolutely a PITA, we probably will have to sedate him, but I'd rather not needlessly put him under GA even though the risk is minimal with competent staff. Kind of hypocritical, but I'd be worried about Niz, even though I pretty much want to be under GA for any other dental procedures I have done in the future (best nap ever).
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:53 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Yay, we're back. Niz did not like having his legs taken out from under him (he's a lot more willing to flip over if you make him do it, rather than grabbing his legs out from under him and flipping him around), but the SO (in a lead apron) held Niz's head back while another technician held Niz's chest/held him in position and the other technician pulled his legs out. He yelped a few times while kicking in the beginning and tried to get up, but he ended up giving in and stopped fighting it.

The head of the bone seems to be about ~50% in the socket, but the line (don't know technical terms) that is supposed to be straight isn't--it dips in a bit. The tech's opinion was that it would come back OFA Good. He said they're most definitely good enough to go jumping around in agility with no worries. We did the blood draw for the thyroid panel, which went really well (Niz doesn't feel a thing if you cover his eyes and he doesn't twitch at all), and it was a very quick draw. The vet is currently in Cuba (if I heard the tech right), so we'll hear back from him in a week on his opinion of the xrays and the lab results for the thryoid panel, and then we'll hear back from the OFA on both in 3 weeks.

The only trip up was that they've never sent in OFA stuff with no sire/dam registration numbers, but hopefully that won't be an issue.
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