PennHip Evaluation

PennHip is an X-ray that can be performed in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age and gives an estimate of the risk for developing painful arthritis in the hips or hip dysplasia later in life.

The PennHip method has strong scientific evidence for being the most effective hip screening tool available for dogs. With this information, preventative and palliative strategies can be recommended.

All dogs can benefit from PennHip testing. For dog’s found to be at risk for developing arthritis, early intervention can help prevent or lessen the severity of hip dysplasia. For working or service dogs, identifying a dog with healthy hips can extend the working life of the dog.

For breeding dogs, early detection of at-risk hips can allow the breeder to make early, informed decisions as to which dogs to keep in breeding programs. For more information please download the PennHip Brochure.

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What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is an inherited degenerative, developmental condition caused by an increased laxity, or looseness, in the hip joints that ultimately leads to arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Hip dysplasia is a painful and uncomfortable condition resulting in stiffness, reduced function and diminished quality of life.

It is the most common inherited orthopedic disorder affecting all breeds of dogs, with some breeds having more than 50% of dogs afflicted. Currently, no effective cure for the disease exists and the medical or surgical treatments currently practiced are at best palliative.

Can hip dysplasia be prevented?

Since hip dysplasia is a genetic condition inherited from the dog’s parents, prevention requires an accurate prediction of osteoarthritis using a reliable screening method implemented early in life known as PennHip.

Based upon PennHip evaluations, genetic control and selective breeding are effective means of reducing the severity of canine hip dysplasia and the development of osteoarthritis in subsequent generations of dogs. In addition, environmental factors such as diet, activity level and pharmaceuticals can influence the onset of osteoarthritis.

Surgery may also be an option; however, the safety and efficacy of all preventative surgical procedures have not been adequately studied.

What is PennHip?

PennHIP is a radiographic screening method used for hip evaluation and predicting the development of hip dysplasia based on quantitative hip laxity. The technique assesses the quality of the canine hip and measures canine hip joint laxity.

In addition, PennHIP is a network of certified veterinarians trained to perform the PennHIP methodology properly forming a large scientific database that houses all of the PennHIP data. Radiographs are made by certified PennHIP members worldwide and are sent for evaluation by board-certified veterinary radiologists. The resulting data is stored in the database forming breed-specific information, which is monitored and updated as it expands.

PennHIP publishes its findings in scientific journals. The published information is then disseminated to all PennHIP members; it is also shared with interested breed clubs and routinely appears in veterinary publications.

When can PennHip evaluations be performed?

A major advantage of the PennHIP method is its proven ability to evaluate dogs as young as 16 weeks of age and to predict with clinical accuracy the susceptibility to developing osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia later in life. Its greatest strength, however, is its ability to identify those dogs with tight hips that are not at risk to develop osteoarthritis.

What can be done if the PennHip evaluation demonstrates increased hip joint laxity?

Besides diet, activity level, and pharmaceutical recommendations, there are certain surgical procedures that can be performed at an early age to help prevent osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia development.

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