Hip dysplasia is a genetic trait found in many dogs.  There are two methods of evaluating hips, OFA and PennHIP.















Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)

Hip dysplasia is a genetic trait in dogs (and cats) which means there is more laxity in the hip joints than normal.  This leads to arthritis, degenerative changes to cartilage and bones.  Radiographs can be used to assess arthritic changes in the joints.  The amount of laxity can also be assessed with the animal in specific positioning while under anesthesia.  If an animal is identified with increased laxity, or dysplasia, they can be excluded from the breeding population; thereby, the genetics for dysplasia can be bred out of breeds. 

The OFA has specific guidelines for assessing the hips to evaluate them for laxity, or hip dysplasia.  It is a subjective method.  While the animal is laying on their back under anesthesia, the hind legs are pulled back symmetrically.  The radiographs are evaluated and a rating given to the animal (i.e., excellent, good, fair).  The dog must be 2 years of age before the hips can be evaluated.  For more details, go to http://www.offa.org



































The basis for evaluation of the hips is the same, but the method of evaluating is different.  The PennHIP method is an objective assessment.  The animal is still anesthetized but three different views of the hips are radiographed.  These are then evaluated and measurements taken of the hip laxity.  A distraction index number is then given to the animal on each hip.  The number can be compared to the whole database of dogs in a breed and a percentile is assigned.  This information can then be used by breeders to determine if the dog should be used for breeding.

Veterinarians need to be trained in the specific positions required for evaluation.  Dogs can be evaluated as early as 4 months of age.  For more information, go to http://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers/pennhip

This is an excellent method of evaluating the hip joints.  If you have any questions, please contact our clinic.  


























































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