VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital offers PennHIP x-Rays, a diagnostic method used by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) that uses unique x-ray views of a dog's hips to accurately identify and quantify joint laxity. PennHIP x-rays are performed only by veterinarians that have been certified by the PennHIP organization. These veterinarians have received special training to insure proper technique and have shown consistency with their technique. Reputable breeders and our veterinarians use PennHIP x-rays as a screening tool for hip dysplasia as it has proven to be one of the best techniques available to screen dogs for this condition. This technique involves general anesthesia and three different x-ray positions; 1) extended hips to evaluate hip joint conformation, 2) legs in a standing position (compression view) to evaluate how tight the joint can be, and 3) legs in a standing position with the hip joints pulled out (distraction view) which evaluates how loose the hip joint can be. The x-ray images are then sent to PennHIP and specific measurements are taken to determine hip joint laxity and the likelihood of a dog developing arthritis due to hip dysplasia. Dogs are evaluated as individuals and are then compared to their specific breed. If breeders follow PennHIP recommendations to pick their breeding candidates, they can make genetic improvement over generations by progressively breeding tighter hips and subsequently less dysplasia. Please ask our staff or veterinarians about the PennHIP technique.