Health Articles

OFA Data For The Last 30 Years

by Vickie Halstead RN, CVNS, CCRN, CEN, LNC

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) compiled the chart below that reflects data from January 1974 to December 2007, 34 years. As chairman of the BFCA health committee, I receive OFA reports yearly, so it is my duty to report statistics to Bichon breeders and owners, which will be cumulative. The chart below will be updated yearly and posted on this web site (

The Health Committee of the BFCA tracks health data on Bichons in order to prioritize research funds, and to recognize and prevent diseases, so it is crucial that the data be accurate. The data in this chart originates only from Bichons that have completed these OFA certifications, and only if the results of the exams were allowed to be released to the registry, whether normal or abnormal. If Bichon owners do not release abnormal results to OFA, this data will not be accurate.

Bichon breeders need to share health data with other breeders not only to maintain accurate statistics, but also to facilitate wise breeding decisions. You can report the OFA exam results for your Bichons in an open database, which provides all information, normal and abnormal, to the public domain (posted on the OFA web site). This can be accomplished by either initialing the box on the OFA form “Authorization to Release Abnormal Results” at the time of the exam, or later by completing a form called “Open Database Authorization”, found on the OFA web site

If you chose to publish abnormal results to the open database, the veterinarian must send any xrays completed and a copy of the OFA form to OFA. If you do not chose to publish abnormal results, please assure that the vet sends the xrays and forms to OFA so the data can be utilized for research, which remains anonymous.

This chart includes ranking Bichons among other breeds for each disease, as well as the incidence of each disease. Hip dysplasia is listed with the incidence as high as patellar luxation, however recent health surveys conducted rank the incidence of hip dysplasia as rare, the #24 disease in Bichons. Cardiac disease incidence is listed as only 1.2%, but Bichons are ranked as #12 compared to other breeds.

Registry Rank Among
Other Breeds
Number of
Baer Hearing Test N/A 3 0.0
Cardiac 12 162 1.2
Elbow 84 341 0.9
Hips 109 2814 6.5
Legg-Calve-Perthes 8 523 0.0
Patella 18 976 6.4
Thyroid N/A 15 0.0