Hip dysplasia, a genetic trait, is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. Many owners find that they cannot use their dogs for their intended purpose such as hunting, agility, working/service, search and rescue or as a running partner because of hip dysplasia. Identifying a dog with healthy hips can extend the working life of the dog. In order for responsible breeders to be able to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia in their dogs blood lines and make genetic improvement, an accurate test for susceptibility to this disease is necessary.
University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) was developed by Dr. Gail Smith in 1993. The purpose of the PennHIP evaluation is to accurately detect hip problems and to predict the onset of osteoarthritis as early as 16 weeks. This evaluation is mostly used by breeding programs and service dog organizations. PennHIP radiographs are only performed by a PennHIP certified veterinarian. The radiographs are then used to obtain a dog’s distraction index. This is a measurement of the amount of laxity in the hip joints and has been proven to be the primary risk factor for developing canine hip dysplasia.
Advantages to having your dog’s hips evaluated at 16 weeks of age:
- Helps breeders choose dogs for their breeding stock early on.
- A female dog can be excluded from a breeding program due to a high distraction index; she can be spayed before she has her first heat cycle, thus reducing the risk of mammary cancer.
- Early screening isn’t possible with OFA evaluations, these evaluations are done at 2 years old and the female dog would have already had 2 heat cycles and her lifetime risk of mammary cancer has increased, opposed to being spayed before the 1st heat cycle.
- Puppies at high risk for developing arthritis in the hip joints will benefit from early intervention and preventative strategies.
- Cases with high distraction indexes, a Juvenile Pelvic Symphysiodesis (JPS) procedure can be done which decreases the risk of degenerative joint disease (DJD).
As a general rule, the bigger the dog, the greater the risk of hip dysplasia.
Crossroads Animal Hospital is proud to be the only certified veterinary clinic in Central, Louisiana to perform PennHIP Evaluations.
If we can assist you, please give us a call at 225-261-6000.