Claire’s original elbow rating on films done in January was a unilateral Grade One (DJD). I repeated the films four months later for these reasons:
Both elbows were normal at 12 months.
Both of her parents — and every one of their littermates (n=13) — have normal elbows.
It was just one elbow and a Grade One, DJD.
The opinion was not unanimous — one of the three radiologists who rated the elbow said it was normal.
None of those things means the original results were wrong but taken together, it seemed prudent to wait and repeat.
And so we did.
This time the opinion of the OFA experts was unanimous — all three radiologists who rated the elbows said they are normal.
I cried many happy tears.
But how are we to understand what happened? And how can we maintain confidence in OFA results when results can change in four months? I called Dr. Keller, the OFA’s Chief Medical Director, and posed those questions to him.
In his opinion, the positioning of the 25 month films created the illusion of a potential issue in one area due to shadowing. The 29 month films were positioned optimally and showed the area clearly, revealing no issue.
Why, I asked, were the 25 month films read at all if positioning was at all problematic. The answer — because they were considered good enough to read by the radiologists.
Huh?! And Yikes.
I met with my veterinarian to review the films and to get her opinion on all this. And that is why I think she is awesome and I want to be her best friend: Because I knew I could talk to her about this and she would be perfectly fine.
She studied the films and then agreed that there was a very slight difference in lateral positioning (how flat the elbow was) that created a wee bit of shadowing in the 25 month films.
We all learned a few things — here are my take home lessons:
Positioning matters — a lot. And even really great veterinarians and their staff can have a slight shift of positioning that can cause issues.
If you get failed results, call Dr. Keller at the OFA to discuss the positioning — was it optimal? He is very accessible. (Note: I did call him in January and he did not mention a positioning issue — I think the issue may only have been apparent with comparison).
If there is reason to question results, repeat the films.
It is a very good thing to have a questioning mind.
Claire can be a MOM!!!!