Hip dysplasia diagnosis and management

Hip dysplasia is a common developmental disorder of the hip joint that affects almost all breeds of dogs. Over time, dogs with hip dysplasia often develop secondary osteoarthritis. Symptoms associated with hip dysplasia range from none to severe pain and lameness of one or both hind legs and may occur during puppyhood or later in life.

Dogs suspected of having hip dysplasia are diagnosed as having the condition based on palpation of the hip joints during a physical examination and with radiographs. Treatment for the condition often depends on the severity of the clinical signs and may involve medical management (weight control, exercise moderation, anti-inflammatory/pain medications, and/or joint supplementation) or various surgical interventions.

PennHip Evaluations
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is the most commonly inherited orthopedic disease and leads to hip arthritis causing pain, stiffness, and diminished quality of life. It has no medical or surgical cure and afflicts more than 50% of the dogs within some breeds, clinically affecting large breed dogs more severely than smaller breed dogs. In the 1980's, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine pioneered a better diagnostic method to assess hip laxity - the key factor in the development of Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD). The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, with the ball of the femur (femoral head) fitting into the hip socket (acetabulum). Hip laxity refers to the degree of looseness of the ball in the hip socket. Studies have shown that dogs with looser hips (excessive hip laxity) are at higher risk to develop hip dysplasia than dogs with tighter hips (minimal hip laxity).

AIS PennHIP Hip Improvement Program
The research-based hip-screening procedure known as PennHIP has proven to be the most accurate and precise method to measure hip laxity. It can identify - as early as 16 weeks of age - dogs that are susceptible to developing hip dysplasia. This offers breeders the opportunity to make early decisions on breeding stock, and allows veterinarians to advise pet owners on lifestyle adjustments and preventive strategies to minimize the pain and progression of the disease.

Radiographs made by certified PennHIP members, such as our own veterinarians, are sent to the AIS PennHIP Hip Improvement Center for evaluation. The information is also stored in a medical database for scientific analysis. The scientific findings are shared with veterinarians, breed clubs and in publications, such as scientific journals and pet-related publications. For further information about the AIS Penn Hip program, please visit http://info.antechimagingservices.com/pennhip/.

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